Michelle Di Donato, 32, estimates that she’s had 90 percent of her body covered in tattoos. Some of her most extreme tattoos include a penis on her foot, an octopus with a vagina on its head on her arm, and the words ‘Eat S**t’ in large letters on her posterior.
Michelle got her first tattoo when she was 21, on the back of her neck. Her previous husband was very religious and against tattoos, but was okay with her getting Christian tattoos.
Michelle told Barcroft TV: “My first tattoo I got with my sister; it says living sacrifice – that still holds so much meaning to me, it’s Christian.”
But it was only when their marriage ended, and Michelle met her current husband Chris, that she started getting tattooed all over. Michelle said: “I have always been extreme, I used to be an extreme Christian, now I’m extremely modified.”
Almost all of her tattoos were done by Chris, with whom she runs their South Florida tattoo studio, ‘All City Tattoo’. Her parents are supportive of her but don’t necessarily agree with all of her decisions, in particular her tattooing her eyes.
Michelle’s mother Miriam told Barcroft TV: “I was very upset about it, it was one thing that upset me more than anything, probably because I love Michelle's eyes.” “If I’d have known that Michelle was going to wind up with having so many tattoos, I would have enrolled her in an all girls’ boarding school and kindergarten.”
But Michelle wasn’t put off by her mum’s opinions or the risks. She said: “I was not worried about damaging my eyes. I go through times of, like, craziness, and that was definitely one of those times.”
The choice of the colour pink has no special meaning to Michelle and isn’t even her favourite colour. “There are colours that I always thought looked good on me, I picked the colour pink because it contrasted my eyes really well,” she said.
Eyeball tattoos are risky because the procedure is a relatively new one and the long-term effects are unknown. Michelle said: “I do get worried about the long-term effects but it's not like I could change it so I just choose to not think about it.”
Despite Michelle’s extreme look, she still holds on to her faith as she regularly prays and attends Sunday mass. “I don’t see any conflict with my faith, and the way I look because God doesn’t see us for our outer appearance.”
Others, however, perceive her as quite the opposite of religious: “a common misconception about me is that I am Satanic, people don’t expect me to be Christian.” Michelle gets a lot of stares when out in public and one thing that really upsets her is when older people pull disgusted faces at her. “It’s not like I’m disgusting or something, like what the f***? You know? I just have tattoos,” she said.
Now Michelle is satisfied with the number of tattoos she has, she just wants to focus on being there for her children. “For my future, all I want to do is see my kids get married and grow up and be happy. Like that’s all I want.”