Skin Deep // April 2009
Although she knows she stands out from the roughly 200 or so college students in her introductory psychology course, Western freshman Meron Sheriff is proud as she walks into class wearing a brightly patterned scarf on her head,
It started with what looks like a tiny cat scratch. Emily Merker goes into the bathroom, takes her father's electric razor and scrapes the side of the blade against her inner arm, making a small vertical incision in her skin.
On an early Sunday afternoon, the weight room at the Wade King Student Recreation Center is filled with sweaty men and heavy weights. Among the 20 men wearing cut-off T-shirts, one blonde-haired woman with pigtail braids stands out.
At sunrise, Blake Williams is standing on a beach in Hawaii facing the Pacific Ocean. In his bare chest, two large, silver hooks sit in his freshly pierced skin.
As Western graduate student Harmanjit Dhillon hurries to get ready for the evening, her plans are unexpectedly interrupted when she notices a trickle of blood running down her leg. Standing on a towel in front of her bathroom sink, she struggles to maintain composure.
Adrenaline pumps through Reina Yaari's body and her skin begins to tingle as she steps onto the stage. Wearing white, four-inch platform heels, a red slip dress and a fancy purple and pink hat, she walks toward a pole located at center stage.
In a cramped hospital room with fluorescent lights, 17-year-old Aurora Oritz lifts her arm, revealing an intricate web of dark ink etched into her fair skin.