(CBS) - With tattoo's covering 98 percent of her body and sporting ferocious fangs and titanium horns, Guadalajara's "Vampire Woman" is challenging people's perception of what a housewife should look like.
Despite being almost completely covered in tattoos and piercings and sporting sets of titanium horns and dentally-implanted fangs, Guadalajara, Mexico's famed "Vampire Woman" is challenging stereotypes as she leads a normal life as a successful businesswoman and housewife.
Maria Jose Cristerna, a 36-year old former attorney and mother of four from a deeply Catholic family background, said she became interested in expressing herself through body modification after years of domestic abuse and now tries to help others in need.
"At first people were interested in my looks because it was cool, because it attracts attention and because it's something different. But I see it as something good among all the bad, because I'm giving a message. I won't be able to change the thinking of the entire world, but I'm always there to help the people that need it," she said.
As part of Cristerna's vampire image, she had four fangs dentally implanted into her mouth and had titanium horns implanted into her skull. The horns were created using pieces which were surgically placed beneath the skin of her head. As the skin stretched, larger pieces were placed beneath the skin to make larger horns.
In addition to being a tireless advocate for victims of domestic abuse, Cristerna is also a successful businesswoman and runs a tattoo, jewellery and clothing shop in Guadalajara and takes care of her four children and husband of eight years.
"My ordinary day starts with me waking up early and taking my children to school. Two of them take classes in the morning. I make breakfast for my husband. I think it's the same as any housewife in any part of the world. Then I begin my work activities. The store has to be opened. Also, somehow I must return home to help them (the children) do their homework, and feed my pets. I try to paint a little bit. That's how I try live my life, with a touch of happiness," she said.
Cristerna said that her tattoos and body modifications are an expression of the freedom she felt after the end of her abusive first marriage.
"All I did was bring what was in me out. It's what I always was beforehand. More than anything there was fear. Fear that he (her ex-husband) wouldn't like it, or fear of being mistreated psychologically. After that, I could breathe, as many women can breathe when they can wake up in the morning and have a coffee without feeling as if somebody is going to squeeze their throat. That's how I think it is, in a way.
Early last year, Cristerna was invited to participate in international tattoo conventions in Colombia and Venezuela.
In September, Cristerna travelled to the art department of Ripley's Believe it or Not in Orlando, Florida to have her body cast for life-size replicas which are to be displayed at Ripley's museums around the world.