María José Cristerna Méndez is a famous figure in Mexico, nicknamed the Vampire Woman and the Leopard Woman. Cristerna is a lawyer, entrepreneur, activist and tattoo artist. She is known for her extensive body modifications, a form she claims is to combat domestic violence.
According to Guinness World Records, 96% of Cristerna’s body is covered in tattoos
María José Cristerna was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco in 1976 and grew up in a devout family. She is the eldest in a family of two sisters. At the age of 14, she got her first tattoo, which was the logo of Bathory , a Swedish metal band. This tattoo is on her left arm and covers most of her shoulder. Cristerna said: “At first, my dad didn’t agree with that idea. But then he took me to the tattoo parlor to get my first tattoo. Art flows through my veins. Since I was a kid. As a kid, I fell in love with art and now I can express it through my body.”
Terrible body modifications
Since 2012, Cristerna has held the title of record for body modifications (female) with a total of 49 edits. Her first body transplant correction took place when she was 30 years old. At the time, Cristerna decided to have the implant done on her forehead as a declaration of liberation, strength and empowerment, demonstrating her courage and freedom from her past.
Cristerna shared that her changes were the result of a 10-year marriage, a period in which she felt repressed in expressing herself and afraid to show her true self. She is also a victim of mental and physical domestic abuse. Now, she wants to represent all the women who have endured emotional, psychological, and physical abuse. “The only way to escape violence and abuse is to love yourself. We came into this world to be happy,” says Maria Jose.
The female lawyer who turned herself into a Vampire woman
Cristerna earned a degree in Criminal Law from the Catholic University of Mexico. In addition to being a lawyer, Cristerna is also a businesswoman. She is the owner of a tattoo studio and a boutique that sells her own clothing line called Mujeres vampiro (Vampire Women).
Cristerna’s body changes include a split tongue, transdermal implants on her forehead and arms, enlarged ears, eye tattoos, scarring, and dental implants. There are also many piercings on her lips, nose, tongue, earlobes, navel and nipples.
The Vampire Woman Cristerna regularly attends festivals, international conventions about tattoos and body modification. She has been invited to participate in various TV shows, such as Taboo on the National Geographic Channel and participate in Body suspension events.