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Julia Gnuse (guh-NOO-see), commonly known by the nickname The Illustrated Lady, born in 1955, had 95% of her body (including her face) covered in tattoos[1] and held the Guinness Record for being the most tattooed woman in the world.[2] In her mid 30s, Gnuse developed porphyria, a condition in which sunlight results in blistering of the skin.[3] As the blisters often result in scarring, she began getting tattoos as a way to cover up the scars, which can get as deep as third degree burns.[4][5] A friend of Gnuse's who was a plastic surgeon had suggested she get her skin tattooed in a pale skin tone color, similar to the color of her scars. This was attempted but didn't turn out the way they had hoped.[5]

The Illustrated Lady
Born Julia Ann Gnuse
(1955-01-18)January 18, 1955
Flint, Michigan
Died August 11, 2016(2016-08-11) (aged 61)
Residence Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, California
Nationality US
Known for most tattooed woman in the world
Home town Lewistown, Missouri

The tattoos do not prevent the skin from blistering[6] as they are purely aesthetic. Instead she decided to try colorful tattoos, consisting of a variety of themes including: her favorite cartoons, her favorite actors and even a self portrait.[7] Gnuse has appeared on the tv show Ripley's Believe it or Not.[8] She also had a small role in Aerosmith's music video for their song Pink.[9]

In her last year she started to go through laser treatment to get all of her tattoos removed.[10]

She lived in Foothill Ranch, California[citation needed] and died on August 11, 2016.[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, LONDON. "Amazing facts about tattoos". Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  2. ^ Mark, Michelle. "Shock value". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-05-06. 
  3. ^ "HuffPost Weird News - Strange-But-True Stories from the Headlines". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  4. ^ Inked: Tattoos and Body Art around the World By Margo DeMello.p. 225
  5. ^ a b Murphy, Victoria (2010-05-28). "Meet the most tattooed lady in the world". mirror. Retrieved 2016-04-24. 
  6. ^ "Larry King Interviews Dean Cain". Larry King Live. Season 2. Episode 4. January 3, 2002. CNN. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  7. ^ Addicted to ink: The world's most tattooed woman flaunts her body art
  8. ^ Chick Ink: 40 Stories of Tattoos--And the Women Who Wear Them By Karen L. Hudson. p. 109
  9. ^ Orange Coast Magazine May 1999. p. 28
  10. ^ Tattoo Removal: Before and After Before and After - Tattoo Removal
  11. ^ Julia Ann Gnuse |

External linksEdit