Julia Gnuse

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The Illustrated Lady
Born Julia Ann Gnuse
January 18, 1955
Flint, Michigan
Died August 11, 2016
Overland Park, Kansas
Residence Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, California
Nationality US
Known for most tattooed woman in the world
Home town Lewistown, Missouri

Julia Gnuse (guh-NOO-see), commonly known by the nickname The Illustrated Lady, born in 1955, has 95% of her body (including her face) covered in tattoos[1] and holds 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 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]

She was residing in Foothill Ranch, California at the time of her death. She died August 11, 2016 at the home of her sister in Overland Park, Kansas.[10]

See also[edit]


  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". Aolnews.com. 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. ^ ePodunk. "Foothill Ranch". Retrieved 2007-05-06. 

External links[edit]