Of all the reasons that make Maria Jose Cristerna aka The Vampire Woman one of our favourite people in the world, here's our top ten.
If the name does not ring a bell, perhaps the fiery, mohican dreads, the fangs, and the prominent implants will. She had graced countless tattoo conventions and body modification events all over the world, in addition to being one of the poster girls and boys of Ripley's Believe It Or Not! with a life-size statue of herself made for the famous and world-renowned oddity exhibit.
Outside of the tattoo and body mod community, she's just another freak. We can't deny that Maria Jose Cristerna is a real shocker. But as much as we're loving the whole vampire persona, an oddity is not all there is to her. She's also a mother, a wife, and a woman, as cliché as that sounds. She actually makes an effort to reach out to others and use her popularity to influence in ways she can.
1. The Vampire Woman took “cool, tattooed mom” to new heights.
Cristerna is a mother to four children from a previous marriage—which didn't work out very well. It was an abusive relationship and a point in her life she'd rather not revisit. Now, despite her ‘vampire lady’ status, she still occasionally does her typical mommy duties when she's not travelling or attending conventions like any mother would.
Having cool parents like Maria and her husband, Hector also has its extra perks for any metalhead teen. Just ask Maria's eldest daughter who got tickets to a Black freaking Sabbath concert for her fifteenth birthday—kinda like a debutante age for young girls in Mexico!
2. She’s not just a work of art. She creates art.
Maria Cristerna did not just stop at looking like a piece of art. We have noticed that she's the type of person who would go for whatever she had set her mind on to—and we're not just talking about her body mods.
Whenever she can, Cristerna would channel her creativity onto other things. She sews some of the outfits she wears on shows, she paints, and she sculpts. “They are what surrounds me, they are the others, and it’s also me looking at difficult passages of my life, not to forget that behind my peace as a woman is a past that, though less now, hurts.”
3. She plays an active part in making society a better place for women in Mexico.
Having finished law school, Cristerna now uses her knowledge in reaching out to women in her city who have also experienced domestic violence. She's a respected figure in the neighborhood, where women turn to her for advice.
4. She found love in a tattooed man who loves her for who she is—because he knows what it's like to be different.
Cristerna is now married to Hector Raul Meza Miramontes, a tattoo artist and body modification artist. She finally found somebody who shares the same interests as her; someone who wouldn't bring her down. People describe him as someone who has “a big smile and even bigger heart.” Cristerna's children are just as crazy about him. He's good to them and they like calling him Daddy.
The two have been together for over a decade now and going strong. He takes care of everything at home when she's travelling on top of running a tattoo shop.
5. She's just like everyone else past the horns and fangs.
“I’m a traditional woman who likes to look after her family,” the 37-year-old says in an interview.
Something one wouldn't expect from Cristerna is her views and her faith. Being brought up to a deeply religious household taught Cristerna the simplest principles in Christianity and God's love. It's something she feels strongly about, regardless of what other people may think of her from a first glance.
6. She poured all the negative energies in her life through her body modifications.
This isn't something everybody knows about Maria Jose Cristerna. She started modifying her body not long after she built up enough courage to leave her previous and abusive marriage. She realized that ten years of being miserable is enough and she won't be wasting any more time
“All I did was bring what was in me out. It's what I always was beforehand,” she said in an interview. “I could breathe, as many women can breathe when they wake up in the morning and have a coffee without feeling as if someone is going to squeeze their throat.”
7. She's a living testament to stand for tattooed and heavily modified people everywhere.
From what it looks from here, Cristerna is living life to the fullest without stepping on anybody. She's doing what she loves, living the life she always wanted to live with the people closest to her heart. Despite everything she has to go through to realize who she's always been, she turned out just fine and she couldn't care less of what others think of her as long as she's happy. Live and let live.
8. She's a freaking lawyer.
Lawyer has got to be the last thing that will cross your mind when you come across Cristerna for the first time. But it's true. Before she morphed herself as The Vampire Woman, Maria was a practicing lawyer.
9. She sings in a metal band.
As if she couldn't get metal enough!
10. She established a good name for herself in the body mods and tattoo community.
Cristerna has been on the frontline of the scene for many years now and so far she's showing no signs of slowing down. We're serious. The woman has a hardcore band after a DJ stint she had a couple years ago. Won't be surprised to see her alongside Lady Gaga next time.
When I think of Maria Jose Cristerna now, I won't just admire her numerous modifications anymore. I may not know her personally but I'll see through her implants and fangs and think about what finally made her go for what she really wanted for herself.