“I Missed My Face.” How Spain’s Most Tattooed Woman Was One Step Away From a World Record, Before She Started Removing Old Designs
Lidia Reyes is a well-known figure among tattoo enthusiasts. Her passion for art led her to become the most tattooed woman in Spain. She was even very close to reaching the world record, but at some point, decided to backtrack. In 2017, she began the long journey of removing the designs from her face. And here’s why.
Tattoos are like an untold story.
Lidia Reyes hails from Barcelona. Her body is a real work of art. She has over 270 tattoos. But that’s not her limit. She decided to aim for the world record, which currently belongs to María José Cristerna from Mexico, whose body is 96 percent covered.
Lidia admits that she has a kind of addiction to body art. She got her first tattoo 15 years ago, over time increasing the size of her tattoos and reducing the rest time in between. It got to the point where she was going to the tattoo studio 2-3 times per week, against the tattooists’ advice to give her skin a rest.
Lidia says that as a child, she was bullied by peers who didn’t understand her and called her fat. Perhaps childhood complexes and trauma provided the basis for body modification later in life. One way or another, today, her tattoos tell stories of her life. Each design is not meaningless. It carries some significance.
On Lidia’s body, one can see artwork dedicated to the memory of her mother and a friend, who have passed away. Tattoo enthusiasts love to look at the intricate designs on her face and body, wondering what they could mean. At the moment, though, Reyes is in no hurry to spell them out. For several years now, she’s been writing her memoirs, where she promises to finally reveal everything; for example, the meaning behind the numbers “1981” and “1899” on her eyelids, or “18” and “19” on her cheekbones.
In the pursuit of her own ideal of beauty, she didn’t confine herself to mere visits to tattoo parlors. Reyes sought other ways to surprise herself and others. These included a snake-like split tongue and making the whites of her eyes pink. She was also going to modify her ears, making them pointed in an elven fashion. But so far, that plan is still pending.
How tattoos changed her life
Unusual appearance attracts a lot of attention. Lidia has become a media personality. She gets invited to TV shows, featured in talk shows, and her Instagram page has tens of thousands of followers. While some see her as an inspiration for their own changes, others are generous with their criticism of the extravagant persona.
Reyes admits that, for a long time, she suffered from angry comments and people criticizing her appearance and lifestyle. She tried to justify herself to them for being different. Over the years, however, she’s found harmony with herself and now teaches others not to break under the pressure of haters: “Forget about these people, they’re trolls and not worth your attention. I’m sending you all a kiss.”
At home, however, the Spanish record-holder is not even close to being criticized. Her family accepts her changes and supports them. Lidia and her husband have three kids who, of course, have had their own opinions about tattoos since childhood. The eldest girl decided at the age of 13 that she would like to decorate her own body with this form of art when she grows up. And she’s even choosing her future career on the basis of which job will accept her extravagant appearance.
Longing for her former face
In 2017, Lidia announced that she was going to get the tattoos on her face removed. Haters immediately started saying that she finally came to her senses. But no, the record-breaker still loves tattoos. It’s just that one day she realized that she simply missed her old reflection in the mirror: “I’ve decided to remove my face tattoos because I’m tired of them, not because I don’t like them or think I look ugly; I love face tattoos, that’s why I got them. But I miss the face I used to have.”
The first tattoo Lidia got on her face was the word “Barbie.” This one, and several other iconic designs, she decided to keep. The rest, however, had to go. It wasn’t easy to find specialists who would undertake a job of this magnitude. But Reyes found one near Barcelona, in a village called Sant Boi. Every 15 days, she would undergo an hour-long laser tattoo removal session.
The process ended up taking years and, judging by her Instagram, is still ongoing. However, according to Lidia’s plans, her face won’t be clear for long. In place of the old designs, Reyes plans to get new, and in her opinion, even more beautiful ones. After all, her main goal hasn’t changed. She’s still aiming for the title of the world’s most tattooed woman, with 99% of her body covered in body art. And she couldn’t care less what anyone else thinks.
Do you have any tattoos? If so, share what made you take the leap of getting your first one!