Photo: The Vampire Woman and The Wolfman
Two Mexicans known as The Wolfman and The Vampire Woman joined forces to speak out against bullying and domestic violence in a talk they gave in the western city of Zapopan.
“We’re human beings, not things or sideshows. You have to respect other people even if they’re different, because we all deserve it,” Jesus “Wolfman” Fajardo, who is covered in a mass of body and facial hair caused by a genetic condition called hypertrichosis, told Efe.
A talk by Jesus and Mary Jose Cristerna on this subject might not sound wildly interesting, but since the poster for the event included their nicknames and photos, interest picked up considerably.
Many got in line to have their pictures taken with the young man known as The Mexican Wolfman, or to study the tatoos of the woman who, for the vast amount of work done on her face and body, is known as The Vampire Woman.
Their personalities are very different. Jesus, 38, is timid and reluctant to converse with others, while Mary Jose, 36, greets those who approach her with a big red-lipped smile baring teeth sharpened into fangs.
Friends for several month now, both believe the most important thing was to share their personal experiences with the dozens of people who came to the Alternative Cultural Center in the municipality of Zapopan to hear their talk.
A native of a small town in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas, “Chuy,” as Jesus likes people to call him, told Efe how he got used to being the butt of jokes by neighbors and schoolmates, who treated him “as if I had no feelings.”
For 20 years he, together with several cousins and nephews suffering the same syndrome, worked as a “circus attraction.” People gasped when they saw him.
From the time he was a child he wore a cap and a piece of cloth over his head so his mass of facial hair would go unnoticed, though he never escaped coming to blows with strangers who made fun of his condition.
“There’s a lot of ignorance and discrimination against people who are different,” Jesus said while rubbing his nose, which had been broken in a fight. He also had a dent in his head where he was hit with a rock for standing up to a man who was laughing at him.
He said that, far from going into hiding, people with some odd difference should show society that “they deserve respect” and should not be judged by their appearance.
Mary Jose, who has a Guinness record for being the “most modified” female in America, said it was her own decision to be different from everybody else.
With some 96 percent of her skin tatooed, piercings all over her body, as well as silicon injections under the skin covering her hands and head, no one could accuse her of lying.
“I decided to be like this. I’ve taken bullying but I feel unique. We shouldn’t let appearances influence us - what matters are people,” she said.
Though many run to the other side of the street when they see her coming, the Vampire Woman told Efe that talking about how she was abused by her partner for almost 10 years makes it easier for people to get close to her.
The mother of four children, a musician and attorney by profession, Mary Jose said that apart from her appearance, she would like to be appreciated as a mother who has a lot of positive things to offer.
“And if I’m able to help people, I’ll do so whenever it’s needed,” she said.