Johnny Pearce: Bringing the Beauty of Piercing Back into the Mainstream
Given body modification’s prevalence in human culture for thousands of years, it seems surprising that in modern western society, piercing has come to be viewed as an underground, rebellious, countercultural form of self-expression. The art of piercing used to be ingrained in many societies as a rite of passage, a ritual, a symbol of status. For some reason, the level of acceptable piercings drastically shrunk, leaving little tolerance for more than an earring (and even then, only for women). However, professional body piercer Johnny Pearce is excited to see a recent shift towards greater acceptance of this storied practice.
Building a Better Piercing Industry
Originally born Jonathan Lawrence Pearce of North Carolina, Johnny Pearce began his piercing career in 2010. His recognizable piercing style and comprehension for photography eventually gained him notoriety among the international piercing community and became a key foundation for his success. He’s an active member and passionate advocate of The Association of Professional Piercers, a non-profit international health and safety organization dedicated to the dissemination of information about safe body piercing. Johnny Pearce attends and teaches at the APP’s educational conference in Las Vegas each year, where thousands gather to freely share information to help fellow members, piercers, healthcare professionals, legislators, health inspectors, and the general public get the best and most up-to-date information about body piercing.
Johnny’s Lifelong Love of Piercing
Pearce has been in love with the concept of adorning the body since he was a child, and it’s easy to see why. It is a fascinating practice with a rich history that stretches all the way back to the early days of human civilization. “It’s a truly beautiful act of creation with different applications across nearly every culture, throughout the entire history of mankind,” Johnny explains. “Even today, it holds meaning in many forms. It can be a rite of passage, a reclamation of your body, a moment of instant gratification, an unbreakable bond of friendship, an unforgettable memory, or that extra boost of confidence when you leave looking and feeling 100%.” Whatever their reason may be, Johnny wants to help make piercing a safe and beautiful experience for his clients.
Pearce also loves the clients and community he works with. In his experience, the piercing community is a very unique, interesting, and accepting group of people. “As in every group as large and diverse as that of piercing enthusiasts, there are outliers, but generally speaking, there is very little judgment and lots of love and support within the community,” he says. Pearce admires the bold and adventurous spirit of many clients he meets. “When we get pierced, it’s a bit like facing the fear of the unknown. And it’s no easy feat, it takes courage. And in exchange for that moment of bravery, you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime adornment, tailored just for you.”
Believing in Yourself is the Key to Success
Featured on The Today Show and even as a special guest on Impractical Jokers, his client list includes recognizable names such as Cardi B, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Savannah Guthrie. After settling into a permanent role at Manhattan’s very own Nine Moons Piercing in 2019, he remains a New York City resident, actively piercing in SoHo.
Johnny feels that he wouldn’t be where he is today if he hadn’t found the courage to believe in himself, in his dream, and in his ability to achieve it. This, he believes, is one of the most essential keys to his success. “You’ve got to believe,” he says. “You’ve got to believe in yourself, you’ve got to believe in your team, you’ve got to believe in your goals, because the world is full of people who don’t want you to succeed. The naysayers will come in all forms, and you can’t let that faze you or make you second-guess yourself. You’ve got to be able to harness that and turn it into inspiration.” According to Johnny, adversity and opposition can almost always be overcome by belief in oneself and a persistent dedication to reaching one’s goals. “No matter what, you’ve got to believe.”