As a form of expression, tattoos have been celebrated for centuries across the globe. Whether for religious, traditional or personal reasons, people have chosen to decorate their bodies with ink.
The tattooed and proud Xenia Zantello happily took off her sweatpants in a public place to show off her ink.
“Don’t worry, I have gym shorts underneath,” Zantello said.
Zantello is a junior computer science student at UNC Asheville. Originally from the Triangle area, where she got her first tattoo, Zantello’s thigh piece displays the drum major from the band My Chemical Romance and their album, Welcome to the Black Parade. The tattoo reads “carry on” and is in her mom’s handwriting.
“I had to trick her into giving me that writing sample,” Zantello said.
She laughed as she recalled her sneaky behavior involving the tattoo. Zantello’s mother did not approve of the tattoo, so she had to make up a story for her mother to write the words for the design. She told her it was for an art project.
Zantello said MCR is one of her favorite bands and supported her throughout high school, especially during dark times.
“Their music really helped me,” Zantello said.
The second tattoo is the largest on her body — a colorful DNA strand on her right arm. It is currently incomplete, though Zantello said she wants to finish it. It was started two years ago at Femme Fatale in Raleigh by her friend Blaire.
“Being queer and having gay be in your DNA, that’s the idea,” Zantello said.
Zantello said she incorporated identity subtlety into her design by choosing to use colors that weren’t necessarily associated with a conventional rainbow.
“Especially in North Carolina, there are some times where I need to play it off as something a little bit other than what it is,” Zantello said.
Zantello also has two more tattoos, a sailboat and a symbol from the card game Magic: the Gathering.