Brandy O’Reilly has one of the coolest grandmas ever, and now the whole world knows it.
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At 82 years old, Judy Dede has done a lot in her life, but she still has a whole list of new experiences she’s determined to try out, including getting her first tattoo. Knowing her family would be blown away by this decision, she started off by telling Brandy.
“When she told me that she wanted to get this tattoo, I was completely in shock and blown away,” Brandy said. “I was like, ‘OK, hold on a second. I need you to say that one more time,’ and I had to get it recorded because I couldn’t even believe that she said that.”
Brandy sent the video to her family, but she also posted it on TikTok. She thought some people online would get a kick out of her young-at-heart grandma, but she didn’t expect the video to go viral with more than 3.5 million views.
Judy’s interest in getting a tattoo was sparked by a Reader’s Digest story about a woman who surprised her family by getting a tattoo on her 80th birthday. Not only was Judy’s family supportive of her getting one herself, but so were all of her fans! Her followers became increasingly invested, asking for updates on when she would be getting her masterpiece. They even lovingly gave her the nickname “Tat Granny.”
“I just never dreamed it,” Judy said. “Next thing I know, (Brandy) is telling me ‘Grandma, we just got a message from somebody in South America.’ Messages have come from all over the world. … It just blows my mind.”
Inspired by Tat Granny’s excitement, Brandy, her wife, her mom, and her two sons committed to getting some ink, too!
“Even my 10-year-old got a matching tattoo drawn on his arm with a sharpie,” she said.
When the big day came around, Brandy, who isn’t new to how all of this works, helped Judy prepare for this exciting but nerve-racking experience.
“Our biggest concern was her skin because of her age,” Brandy said. “I made sure that she had something good in her belly before we left, because you can’t go get a tattoo on an empty stomach, and [she] drank lots of water to make sure that her skin was hydrated.”
“When I got in my chair, Brandy sat on the end and held my hand for support. I just gritted my teeth, turned my head and let it go,” Judy said. “She said I did amazing.”
For her design, Tat Granny wanted to go with something that had a special meaning. At the bottom of her tattoo, there’s a fish hook. This represents Brandy’s dad, who unexpectedly passed away in July. A small ribbon filled with purple represents her other loved ones who have passed away from cancer. Lastly, there’s a peace sign and a heart that are both connected through a treble clef, which represents the whole family’s love for music.
“My mother sang in a church choir. I sang in a trio in high school and traveled all over,” Judy explained. “I enjoy all kinds of music. I don’t sing anymore. I try – it’s not very good, but I still do what I can. You get it in your blood, and you just can’t get rid of it.”
To reduce the amount of swelling and bruising she experienced, they had to put off filling in the color for another day, but Tat Granny couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out so far! Plus, the rest of her family is loving their new ink as well!
“I told her I’d get another one on my 83rd birthday. What do you think about that?” Judy said. “People think I’m done now. I think I’m just beginning.”
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