A woman who went viral because of her mugshot is turning a new leaf in life. Alyssa Zebrasky had a “Día de los Muertos” – Day of the Dead in Mexican – tattoo theme on her face that gave a skull impression on her face.
That was in December 2018 when she was around 27 years old, arrested and charged with shoplifting and drug possession.
She was booked and her face tattoo had people talking, this was the mugshot.
Four years later, Zebrasky looks completely unrecognizable as she’s been going through procedures to remove inking. She’s gone through a drug court program and finished her rehabilitation.
Her reason for removing her tattoo was to forget her toxic boyfriend who influenced her to get the tattoo in the first place.
The tattoo was heavily inspired by Mexico’s “Day of the Dead” or Día de los Muertos, signified by the black and red ink around her eyes and the cheekbones shading on her cheeks. Spiderwebs were added to her forehead and she becomes someone hard to forget.
Four years ago, she got together with her then-boyfriend and wanted to join the gang he was in. The man told her that one of the requirements was to get face tattoos and he chose the theme for her. She went to two inking sessions and by June 2018, she came out with the face that got her viral.
Since then, she’s been arrested three times in 6 months, and finally went on rehabilitation.
After rehab and ending her toxic relationship, she started looking for ways to remove the tattoos that reminded her of him. She a Texas-based charity called INK-nitiatve, an NPO that aims to help people remove body art that is no longer desirable and detrimental to their health.
Zebrasky, now with a new, better boyfriend, is getting support from her loved ones to remove the intense inking. She shared, “Looking back at those pictures, I just feel disappointed in myself.”
“But I have to remember that I hadn’t worked on myself or tried to learn how to love myself like I have now.”
“So then I feel proud because change is possible and healing and learning new things are possible. I like being able to look back and see my personal growth.”
She is now a heavy machinery worker and is focusing on only removing the tattoos on her face as they’re the ones her boyfriend picked.
Zebrasky shared, “Initially I said no and then he just kept talking about it. [Now I believe it was] so nobody else would want me.”
The process of removing the tattoo is easy in some parts but painful in others. But she can’t wait to no more have people staring at her when she’s out, as it’s such a stigma for her.
She spoked with the tattoo removal clinic, “I go into a store, and people stare at me. It makes me uncomfortable. I want to be looked at like a normal person. I live my life just like everybody else.”
Removing the tattoo on her nose was particularly painful and she shared, “The initial pain from the laser I would relate to having a rubber band snapping against your skin, that’s what the laser feels like and then like afterwards it’s sore for 30 minutes.”
“It welts up afterwards and there’s some pain almost like if you spilt oil from the stove on your hand, that’s the closest I can compare to what it feels like on my hands.”
Even her remover was surprised to see so many tattoos on someone’s face and Zebrasky had to return a few times because you can only heal so little at a time. But she remarked she as a “sweet and funny” woman.
Another shared, “For a very long time, I felt like I wasn’t free. Like I had to live a certain way because of things that were going on in my life with addiction and self-harm.”
“And now, I feel like I don’t have to live like that anymore. I can just live my life — I’m finally free.”