Perhaps it’s because we hardly keep inside cats; maybe it’s because we need to save up memory on the camcorder for an upcoming quinceañera. Whatever the case, my heart swelled up a few weeks back when the inked mug of one Mariajosé Cristerna popped up everywhere from FOX News to The Huffington Post .
Donning not one but two sets of titanium horn implants, permanent fangs, and having pretty much every single square centimeter of her body covered in tattoos, Mexico’s “Vampire Woman” became an instant weblebrity and gave the term “going viral” a whole new meaning.
Catching up with her during a recent appearance at the Expo Tattoo Tijuana where she took pictures with fans at 50 pesos a pop, the attorney and mother of four opened up about her battered woman past, eloquently answered questions in the third person, and sent out a message to a certain popstar who clearly wasn’t born that way.
How did you react to the sudden bolt of fame?
Mariajosé has been working in tattooing and body modification for twenty-one years, this didn’t happen overnight; but I’m elated because Mariajosé is Mariajosé. Mariajosé never lets fame go to her head. Mariajosé is the face of the Mexican woman. I am the new Frida.
Any interesting fan stories?
The other day my daughter Silvana said there was a little girl asking for me on the phone. I picked up and she said: ‘Thanks to you Mariajosé, my mom will never allow herself to be beaten.’ How do you think that made me feel? That my fight is not in vain. I love tattoos because I am an artist, but I love life and respect to others even more, being the good lawyer I am. It makes me proud to see women stop perceiving themselves as objects and come into their own.
What advice do you give women who are currently experiencing domestic abuse?
That if your intention is to be a role model to your kids, it should be by setting a good example and not being the continuation of a bad one. Life is precious and it should be lived to its fullest because you only get one shot at it. I know tons of different people and I’ve never met anyone that’s come back from the dead, have you? I could care less about fame, all I want is the platform it has given me to empower women by professing their worth.
What do you tell people who think of you as the antithesis to femininity?
Look, I am of Greek blood from my father’s side and Mexican from my mother’s. Both the Aztec culture and the ancient Greeks modified their bodies. It’s a means of expression and it’s far from bad. It’s art.
Tell me about your fist tattoo.
My dad took me to get it done when I was 14. It’s a star with a devil inside it. I was in the middle of my abhorescentyears and that was my inner devil manifesting itself—not as something bad per se—but as a metaphor for change.
What do you think of someone like Lady Gaga who’s currently sporting fake modifications?
Listen, I like her message of changing the world, but let’s not do things half-assed. Conviction doesn’t sprout because of money or for appearances sake. Conviction should come from the heart, because people can tell know when it doesn’t. Perhaps she should ‘feel’ things more and not just give lip service.