Skin disease inspired her to become most tattooed woman in the world
Julia Gnuse, 61, lives in Foothill Ranch, California. She generally led a peaceful life until she turned 30. That was when she was diagnosed with porphyria, a disease that covers her skin in blisters whenever she is exposed to sunlight. Over time, the blisters would turn into scars that resembled third-degree burns.
Julia did her best to keep her chin up. A friend of hers who worked as a plastic surgeon told her about a tattoo technique that could accurately match skin’s true texture. Julia gave it a try, but the results were far below her expectations.
But this failed attempt gave her an idea: what if she got regular tattoos instead? Her first ink was a large octopus on her leg. She wanted to see how her skin would tolerate the tattoo. This became the first in a long list of tattoos. She added cartoons, portraits of singers and actors... The images were numerous and original. As time went on and her scars multiplied, so did her tattoos.
In 2011, Julia was awarded a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most tattooed woman in the world. Ninety-five percent of her body is now covered in tattoos. She's spent more than $75,000 on over 400 different tattoos that include images of the Sex Pistols, Disney characters, and even a self-portrait.
What began as a tragedy has turned into quite the adventure. Julia has become famous in certain circles; she even made an appearance in the Aerosmith music video for the song “Pink.” She is now known as “The Illustrated Lady” and no wonder considering how she takes body art to a whole other level.
Julia's appearance draws serious attention when she's out and about. According to the "tattoo addict" herself, "Most people love it. They come up and tell me how magnificent they think it looks.”
Even if Julia's tattoos aren't your cup of tea, you certainly have to admire her courage. How many people can bounce back from such a challenging disease? All we can say is, "Well done!"