Some may call body modification as a form of art; a means to express themselves through the creative outlet of ink and needle. But others take it far above and beyond as a way of life, as you will soon see from the 5 people on our list. If anything, these living examples of unorthodox life choices will certainly make that college frat boy tattoo initiation seem like an easy cakewalk once you learn the lengths that some have gone to really push past their own boundaries. If you’re feeling inspired by the end of the list, remember that most if not all the modifications seen here are practically permanent, so remember to be responsible with what you choose!


5. Zombie Boy (Rick Genest)

Photo by Penske

Canadian born Rick Genest took the concept of the living dead to a new level with his largely visceral and painfully real (literally) appearance of a skeleton. Starting at the young age of 16, Genest found his passion for getting frankensteined when he got his first tattoo of a zombie on his right arm. After interest began to peak around it amongst his group of friends, he continued the transformation from there eventually moving up to the upper regions of his body, complete with a rib cage, eye sockets, as well as an “exposed brain”. Genest later found interest in other artistic pursuits, such as modelling, acting, as well as playing and producing music. You might recognize him from one of his most iconic appearances on the screen, being that of Lady Gaga’s music video for born this way, released in 2011. Despite his rather formidable appearance, zombie boy was known for being humble at heart, and a kind soul to any who would meet him with a larger than life personality. Sadly, he passed away in August of 2018, leaving behind a legacy of someone who came from a rough and troubled upbringing to international stardom.  


4. The Illustrated Lady (Julia Gnuse)


Next on the list is a person who has a slightly more practical origin story for her tattoos than the others on this list. Diagnosed with Porphyria in her mid 30s, a disease which causes excessive blistering of the skin, Julia Gnuse found that the best solution to her problem was by covering up the scars with tattoos! While her scars weren’t completely gone, she found a newfound love for the art and took it upon herself to place tattoos that ranged from her favorite cartoons, movies, and celebrities. She even has a self portrait located on her back! Gnuse was most well known for her guinness world record title of most tattooed woman in the world, propelled even further by appearances in Ripley’s Believe it or Not! as well as a cameo appearance in the music video for Aerosmith’s Pink.


3. The Leopard Man of Skye (Tom Leppard)


If you didn’t guess by the name of the man in question, his set of tattoos resemble the skin of a…. Leopard. A former member of the UK armed forces, Leppard chose to live a life of isolation in the Scotland wilderness; living off of the land and taking shelter in a makeshift croft Only coming out every so often for supplies, Leppard found himself too old for the weekly trips and chose to move back closer to the city, stating that the cold weather and canoe trips were too harsh for his aging self. Tom Leppard passed away in June of 2016 at the age of 80 in a care home located in Iverness, Scotland.


2. Most Pierced Woman (Elaine Davidson)


Our runner up for the list is a person who really is not afraid of needles; like at all. Elaine Davidson is the current owner of the guinness world record of being the most pierced woman in the entire world. Estimated to have about 10,503 piercings in 2017, Davidson has probably one of the most eccentric appearances compared to anyone that has appeared on our list so far. A former nurse from Brazil, Davidson first obtained the record in May of 2000, with the record of 793 piercings, ballooning further to 6,725 in 2010 with even more piercings planned for the future; all to hold the record title. First appearances may seem as if there is a lot to take in on her face and torso, but what few may know is that the majority of the piercings she has are located in the more.. private regions of her body. The estimated weight of it all clocks in at a whopping 3 kilograms; and mind you, the weight for piercings usually clock in at the unit measurement of pennyweights.


1. The Real Life Red Skull (Henry Rodriguez)


By far the most villainous looking individual on our list is a person who took cosplaying to a whole new level through a combination of both body modification and tattooing. A truly marvellous presentation; Henry Rodriguez really took things far with his bone rattling display of  the villain red skull, utilizing rather obtuse methods to show off his love and appreciation of the infamous Captain America adversary. Undergoing a series of augmentation over the years starting with eyeball tattoos, his craziest decision was when he decided to remove part of his nose and ears entirely in order to complete the look in December of 2016. Quite possibly one of the craziest things we’ve seen someone do to really try their best to look like a fictional character. Despite the menacing display that he puts on, Rodriguez is a happily married family man, having fathered a son named Aaron and still maintains an ordinary relationship with his friends and family.


Interested to know more about the art of body modification and tattooing? The dailyWOW media team covered a story on Chester Lee, a young Singaporean Tattoo artist who specializes in the practice of Black Art. See below! 

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Author: Gerald Wan Anyi 


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