Part Two of the “Deviant Beauty Series”
A few days after I met Krista, I sat down with Krystal- a hair stylist and artist. Although petite in size, her presence fills a room. Her hair was a whimsical shade of pink, and, like Krista, her colorful tattoos draw your eyes to her neck, shoulders, and arms.
“Yeah, people perceive me as being wild or bad. And promiscuous. But I think people are shocked that I am really conservative,” Krystal states.
Krystal, 32, got her first tattoo at the age of 16. As a teenager with limited funds, she got a tattoo about once a year. However, once she got into her 20s, the frequency of her art increased.
“In my 20s, I got a big tattoo on my thigh, and my mom was concerned that it was too big. I told her ‘I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink, I don’t party, I don’t do anything. My bills are up to date, my kids are taken care of, I don’t have any debt. I want tattoos.’ When I put it to her like that, she said that she respected my choice.”
In fact, the Brooklyn native is very proud of being an industrious, responsible, well-informed, mother of two (now three!). In addition to her tattoos, she has quite a few piercings all around her body. As an artist, Krystal notes that her bold look and body art helps her to come off as more authentic. Yet, it isn’t her pink hair or the abundance of tattoos and piercings that caught my eye. It’s her ears.
Krystal has had them modified to resemble her favorite childhood character, Tinkerbell.
“I just decided I wanted Tinkerbell ears! But I was afraid to do it because whenever I had seen [elf ear modification], they were very sharp and pointy. I needed them to be dainty, feminine and cute. They still needed to be elf ears, but very soft.”
Krystal worked with Brian Decker, one of the most well known New York-based expert piercers and body modification artists. His portfolio includes many more extreme body mods such as split tongues, scarification, and branding. Brian developed a new technique to help Krystal achieve the look that she wanted.
Typically, elf ear mods are irreversible as they require a piece of the ear to be removed,
and then the ear to be reshaped. To achieve the dainty appearance that Krystal wanted, the more extreme modification was not required. Decker says that she does have the option to further modify if she decides to add a bit more elf to her pixie.
One of the criticisms that she receives is that she doesn’t dress her age or look like a 30-something-year-old woman.
“I take that as a compliment. I’m just being me and doing what I love… If I were to have my breasts enhanced or my butt done, no one would say anything. This is just what I want to do.”
Krystal is right about the increasing social normality of cosmetic surgery. According to the 2016 American Society of Plastic Surgeons Surgery Statistics, cosmetic surgeries have increased in almost every instance. Between 2000 and 2016 there has even been a 213% rise in buttocks lifts and a 5184% increase in lower body lifts! While the intention of butt and body lifts are geared towards having more shapely bodies that resemble the once corseted women of the Victorian age, treatments intended to preserve youth, smooth wrinkles and hide aging are also on the rise. This rise reveals a lot about how society feels about aging and beauty.
*Since meeting with Krystal, she continues to be a prolific artist and creative. Her work embodies a street art graphic style, and I have a few pieces gracing my workspace wall! She also has become a mother again and has the most adorable baby. Check out her Etsy shop, KrystalroseArts