The attorney who turned into a vampire
Maria Jose Cristerna must have thought that black clothes could be a suitable common ground to move her career from tribunals to the world of immortality and mystery.
So now this 35-year-old former attorney from Guadalajara (Mexico) is known as the “Mexican Vampire Woman”.
Giving up formal business suits for piercings, tattoos and titanium horns embedded in her skull made her gain also the interest of Ripley’s “Believe It or Not!”: they brought her to their headquarter in Orlando (Florida) to take body casts of her, to create lifesize urethane figures of her that will appear at Ripley’s attractions around the world.
Laws can last years, but a vampire (even if a former attorney) can leave forever: “It’s my vampire dream to be immortal! – Cristerna told HuffPost Weird News – I have always loved Ripley cartoons, and have admired Ripley’s since I was a little girl, so my dream came true”.
To make Cristerna’s dream come true Bruce Miller, sculpture team leader at Ripley’s, put a lot of hard work: “Her head has been the biggest challenge – he said – She has really long hair dreadlocks, and we had to hoist them up over a light fixture to keep them out of the way.”
Also, casting the horns presented some challenges that Miller hasn’t faced making other celebrity sculptures, including WWE wrestlers the Undertaker and John Cena and one of the world’s smallest men, Alypius, an Egyptian dwarf.
But those challenges aren’t anything compared to what lies ahead.
"The hardest part is going to be duplicating the tattoos – Miller said – They are so intricate. We have a lot of hours ahead of us".
According to Edward Meyer, Ripley’s vice president of exhibits and archives, at least five Vampire Woman statues will be made, three of which will be sent to the Odditoriums in Veracruz, Mexico City and her home town of Guadalajara.
He said: “Maria is probably the most unusual woman in the world, certainly the most unbelievable that I have ever met!”.
Cristerna is excited to see the finished product, and she is already convinced it will be good. She said: “I will love it, not just the image, but what is behind me and what I am fighting for. The motive for this is not just my skin, but what is inside me.”
Cristerna’s look began to take shape when she was 17, when she married a man she said beat her and abused her repeatedly.
When she finally left her husband, she chose to reinvent herself as a “warrior” as part of her liberation.
"I went through a bad marriage and learned to be stronger – she said – Warriors tattoo their faces, so I’m a warrior for my kids, too."
But while Cristerna’s horns, fangs, piercings and tattoos were, at first, a reaction to a bad situation, in her opinion the public’s reaction to her has been positive: “My appearance has opened windows for me to travel to different places I couldn’t before. It’s not just what I have outside, but also inside, and I now have an opportunity to share”.
There’s no word on when the Vampire Woman sculptures will be unveiled, but they may have to be modified before their debut, since Cristerna is not a finished product. In fact according to her:
"My skin is like a carpet and I can put whatever I want to express my feelings and life story. Everything means something about my past and my future, especially my friends, family and my parents. I’d like to remove the floating ribs to decrease the size of my waist and have more implants in my arms. It’s a woman’s vanity to want to look better!".