June 1 2011 03:06 PM

This week, Enrique experiences 'the face of the Mexican woman'

Vampire Woman 2
Mariajose Cristerna
Photo by Enrique Limon

Mexicans aren't too up on internet memes. Perhaps it's because we don't really keep indoor 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. With two sets of titanium horn implants, permanent fangs and pretty much every square centimeter of her body covered in tattoos, Mexico's “Vampire Woman” became an instant weblebrity.

Catching up with her during a 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, answered questions in the third person and sent out a message to a certain pop star who clearly wasn't born that way.

Enrique: How did you react to the sudden bolt of fame?

Mariajosé Cristerna: Mariajosé has been working in tattooing and body modification for 21 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 [showing] 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 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 abhorescent years, 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 when it doesn't. Perhaps she should feel things more and not just give lip service.

Calendar

  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • The former local boy and creator of the highly influential blog, Advanced Style, will be signing and discussing his third book, Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, which features inspiring pictures and stories...
  • C.J. Chenier and Bonsoir Catin headline this annual Cajun inspired festival. Also enjoy 10,000 pounds of crawfish, dancing and cooking demonstrations. Held at Spanish Landing Park, across from the...
  • A Cinco de Mayo party featuring $2 tacos, cocktails and live music from Bostich+Fussible, Javiera Mena and Gepe
  • A spoken word showcase hosted by English instructor Karla Cordero and her City College students. There will also be a special reading from poet Mercedez Holtry, as well as an art and photography show....
  • Widely known as host of "Weekend Update" on Saturday Night Live and for his role in the Showtime dramedy Weeds, Kevin Nealon brings his unique humor back to the stand-up stage
  • New works from over a dozen UCSD undergraduate students. Participating artists include Charity Algarme, Richard Lin, Joseph Maas, Ignatius Nguyen, and more
  • This video art exhibition from UCSD MFA candidate Stefani Byrd features two installations that explore the themes of breath, mediation, and the nature of time. Takes place in the VAF Performance Space,...
See all events on Thursday, May 5