Kentucky woman goes viral for 'bad timing' of pre-pandemic tattoo

Posted at 6:46 AM, Feb 24, 2021

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Have you ever gotten a tattoo that just didn't age well? A Kentucky woman experienced that after getting a tattoo right before the pandemic began, which could be misinterpreted as being anti-mask.

Leah Holland of Georgetown wanted to get a tattoo inspired by some kind words from a friend.

"We were just talking about things we admire about each other and he said, 'You courageously and radically refuse to wear a mask,' like meaning that I'm undeniably myself. I thought that was a really poetic way of saying that," said Holland.

After planning it for a couple of years, Holland got the tattoo, which reads "courageously & radically refuse to wear a mask," on March 4, 2020. It was two days before Kentucky reported its first case of COVID-19.

After that, the words "refuse to wear a mask" unfortunately and quickly took on a whole new meaning.

"It basically looked like I'm totally, you know, anti-mask or whatever, which is not the case," said Holland.

Worried about how it looked, Holland said she covered her arms in public with cardigans and long-sleeved shirts, but over time was able to laugh about it. On Monday, she shared her tattoo's story on TikTok following a trend where users share their "dumbest tattoo."


The video quickly went viral and gained international attention, including featured articles on Buzzfeed and The Mirror.

"I just kind of wanted people to laugh with me because I think it's funny now too," said Holland.

Plenty of people are laughing with her, joking about the timing in the comments. One comment even suggests she add the line "Hindsight is 2020."

"I was dying laughing. I'm like, I'm glad there are people that find this as funny as I think it is," said Holland.

In the end, Holland says she doesn't regret the tattoo and is happy to have this story behind it.

"It will be a funny story to tell years from now," she said. "I don't think it will ever not be a funny story."

This story was originally published by Alex Valverde at WLEX.