A German woman who is passionate about body modification and self-expression says she wants to see more inclusivity in workplaces when it comes to body ink.
Covered in tattoos, even on her face, and with 18 piercings and synthetic dreadlocks, Teany is a startling contrast to her past self.
Her transformation was ignited just a decade ago with a petite tattoo on her wrist, despite loving tattoos from a young age.
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And she's certainly got a few more since then.
Talking about how her love for ink started, Teany told Cover Real Life that she's been "fascinated" with body art since she was a child.
"I loved looking at tattoo magazines and dreamed of getting a tattoo myself but only felt brave enough to get my first tat when I was 30," the 39-year-old shared.
"My first tattoo was a wedding ring with my ex-husband: an anchor with the first letter of our names that my ex-husband and I had tattooed on our wrists.
"Even though we are divorced, I still wear it with pride because this phase of my life will always belong to me, and I don't associate any bad feelings with it."
While Teany has lost count of just how many tattoos she has, she insists the majority carry significant meaning, often tied to individuals or events in her life.
"I have tattoos dedicated to my grandparents and one that serves as a beacon of strength amidst my battle with endometriosis," she commented.
"Some tattoos symbolise my travels and memories of loved ones I've lost; others encapsulate themes of strength, love, and authenticity.
"My left arm, for instance, showcases my parents' house and symbols from my homeland, the Baltic Sea."
Teany had a consistent relationship with her tattoo artist for many years. A change in residence, however, increased the distance between them.
Now she relies on a local artist for smaller pieces. She also has a penchant for getting tattoos during her travels, like those she got in the Azores, Portugal and Florida.
When asked about her decision to tattoo her face, Teany explained: "I believe tattoos can fit anywhere on the body. Why hide them? After tattooing most of my body, it was natural for my face to be next. And I'm delighted with the outcome."
As for the pain? She explained: "Some tattoos and piercings indeed were quite painful. However, much depends on one's physical and mental state at the time.
"Age has heightened my pain sensitivity, making prolonged sessions unbearable. In contrast, an eight-hour tattoo session was a breeze just a few years ago."
In addition to her tattoos and piercings, Teany’s creativity also extends to her hairstyle choices.
She shared: "I'm fond of both the bald look and dreadlocks. Yet, it's impossible to have both simultaneously.
"Typically, after shaving my head, I'd have to wait years before donning dreads. Synthetic dreadlocks, however, have considerably shortened this duration."
While Teany is confident in her own skin, her appearance does attract attention, not all of which is favourable.
Navigating the streets, she often hears unsolicited comments, with some strangers even warning her of “eternal damnation”.
"Just recently, someone accused me of having a mental illness – without ever exchanging a sentence with me,” she recalled.
“I usually ignore comments like this. Such people want attention. Their hate has nothing to do with me as a person," she said.
And it's not just on the streets that Teany faces prejudices. They even persist even in professional settings.
In the business economy landscape of Germany, tattoos and body modifications of her scale are indeed rarities.
Recalling one particularly unsettling incident, Teany revealed: "A former superior suggested I'd be better off cutting my hair and donning a 'proper' blouse if I wanted my career to flourish."
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Unfazed by such baseless criticism, she responded in her signature bold style. Just weeks after the incident, Teany moved up to work directly under the company's board as a consultant.
The trajectory of her career is a testament to her resilience and prowess. Currently, working as the Head of Communications for a renowned food company, Teany and her dedicated team oversee internal and external corporate communication endeavours. Her current role is not just about managing communications; it's about challenging the status quo.
"While there aren't any prejudices from my current employer," Teany said, "it remains uncommon for someone in my role to have such pronounced tattoos and piercings."
Teany is on a mission: to dissolve these preconceived notions. Her Instagram account inspires her 57,600 followers, showcasing her artistic journey of self-expression and emphasising the importance of authenticity, self-love, and challenging societal norms.
"I aim to dismantle biases, demonstrating that irrespective of my looks, I'm a valuable asset and an advocate for business diversity," she said.
"Apart from the one narrow-minded boss, all my supervisors have been supportive, constantly encouraging me to forge my path. I think the best thing you can do is do a good job and show that appearances have nothing to do with professional qualifications.
"My tattoos don't make me any less professional. On the contrary: if I feel accepted, I do even better work because I can fully focus on my job."
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