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Meet Word’s Heavy-inked Doc­tor at 30, Train­ing to become a Sur­geon

A doc­tor with tat­toos all over her body has revealed the chal­lenges and judge­ment she has faced over the years because of her heav­i­ly inked body.

Dr Sarah Gray, from Ade­laide, has always been intrigued by body art and got her first piece of ink when she was 16.

The 30-year-old said she’s now ‘the world’s most tat­tooed doc­tor’ and is seen as a pos­i­tive role mod­el with­in the tat­too com­mu­ni­ty, but this does­n’t mean she has­n’t had to deal with adver­si­ty.

Like the film Pret­ty Woman, Dr Gray said she has been ignored by shop assis­tants in high end stores.

When she was hunt­ing for a pair of design­er heels for her birth­day three sep­a­rate shop assis­tants paid no atten­tion to her when she was want­i­ng a cor­rect size to try on.

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Dr Sarah Gray, 30, from Adelaide, has always been intrigued by body art and got her first piece of ink when she was 16
Dr Sarah Gray, 30, from Ade­laide, has always been intrigued by body art and got her first piece of ink when she was 16
Dr Gray said she's now 'the world's most tattooed doctor' and is seen as a positive role model within the tattoo community
Dr Gray said she’s now ‘the world’s most tat­tooed doc­tor’ and is seen as a pos­i­tive role mod­el with­in the tat­too com­mu­ni­ty

They all served oth­er cus­tomers first and would­n’t even make eye con­tact with me,’ she told Dai­ly Mail Aus­tralia.

I wait­ed polite­ly for ages and even­tu­al­ly gave up and left. They did them­selves out of a sale and I saved myself $1,000, so I guess that’s one bonus!’

This isn’t the only time she’s been treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly as she said some­thing sim­i­lar hap­pened when she once went for lunch with her hus­band.

I was out for lunch in a restau­rant with my part­ner on the Gold Coast when we were seat­ed at a table,’ she said.

After being seat­ed for lunch, man­age­ment then came up to us and asked us to leave as they had a “no vis­i­ble tat­too pol­i­cy” for din­ers. That was a lit­tle dis­ap­point­ing to say the least.’

 She hopes that being in the public eye will help teach people to not judge a book by its cover
 She hopes that being in the pub­lic eye will help teach peo­ple to not judge a book by its cov­er
Similarly to the film Pretty Woman, the 30-year-old said she has been ignored by shop assistants in high end stores
Sim­i­lar­ly to the film Pret­ty Woman, the 30-year-old said she has been ignored by shop assis­tants in high end stores

She revealed that pre­vi­ous­ly her and her friends have even been denied access to a casi­no due to their vis­i­ble tat­too pol­i­cy.

When this hap­pened it was after a body art expo, so the major­i­ty of them were heav­i­ly tat­tooed.

After being seat­ed for lunch man­age­ment then came up to us and asked us to leave as they had a “no vis­i­ble tat­too pol­i­cy” for din­ers.

I was able to dis­cuss my con­cerns for unfair dis­crim­i­na­tion based sole­ly on our appear­ance with man­age­ment and they bent the rules to allow us access,’ she said.

Quite a few night venues seem to have this pol­i­cy and although it does­n’t affect me very often as I hard­ly go out, it can be super frus­trat­ing when we get cat­e­gorised as “bad peo­ple” or being gang afflict­ed due to our colour­ful skin.’

When she was hunting for a pair of designer heels for her birthday, three separate shop assistants paid no attention to her when she was wanting a correct size to try on
When she was hunt­ing for a pair of design­er heels for her birth­day, three sep­a­rate shop assis­tants paid no atten­tion to her when she was want­i­ng a cor­rect size to try on
This isn't the only time she's been treated differently as she said something similar happened when she once went for lunch with her husband
This isn’t the only time she’s been treat­ed dif­fer­ent­ly as she said some­thing sim­i­lar hap­pened when she once went for lunch with her hus­band

Orig­i­nal­ly Dr Gray had only planned on col­lect­ing a few small pieces of ink from spe­cif­ic artists as well as a large scale back piece but slow­ly her col­lec­tion grew.

She nev­er thought she’d have a body suit when she first start­ed but now she’s close to com­ple­tion.

Dr Gray refers to her­self as an ‘art col­lec­tor’ as instead of hang­ing art on a wall she wears it on her skin.

She said she isn’t fazed by the tat­too process and is eas­i­ly able to sit in a stu­dio for upwards of 12 hours in any one ses­sion.

I don’t enjoy the pain (although it’s more of an annoy­ance that you adjust too) but I cer­tain­ly enjoy the out­come,’ she said.

The out­come far out­weighs the adver­si­ty! Watch­ing a tat­too evolve from the sten­cil process to a com­plet­ed piece by lay­er­ing is mind blow­ing.’

She revealed that previously her and her friends have even been denied access to a casino due to their visible tattoo policy 
She revealed that pre­vi­ous­ly her and her friends have even been denied access to a casi­no due to their vis­i­ble tat­too pol­i­cy 
Originally Dr Gray had only planned on collecting a few small tattoos from specific artists as well as a large scale back piece but slowly her collection grew 
Orig­i­nal­ly Dr Gray had only planned on col­lect­ing a few small tat­toos from spe­cif­ic artists as well as a large scale back piece but slow­ly her col­lec­tion grew 
She never thought she'd have a body suit when she first started but now she's close to completion
She nev­er thought she’d have a body suit when she first start­ed but now she’s close to com­ple­tion

Dr Gray dis­agrees with those who call it an addic­tion because she said could give it up if she need­ed to.

I think it is pos­si­ble to catch the “tat­too bug” where you start with one piece and find your­self drawn to want­i­ng more,’ she said.

The doc­tor explained that she thinks the rea­son peo­ple want more tat­toos after they get their first is because it’s a good way for them to wear their per­son­al­i­ties on their skin.

Dr Gray said tat­toos have def­i­nite­ly helped her find pos­i­tive body con­fi­dence because they have allowed her cre­ative expres­sion of her indi­vid­u­al­i­ty.

Dr Gray refers to herself as an 'art collector' as instead of hanging art on a wall she wears it on her skin
Dr Gray refers to her­self as an ‘art col­lec­tor’ as instead of hang­ing art on a wall she wears it on her skin
The doctor explained that she thinks the reason people want more tattoos after they get their first is because it's a good way for them to wear their personalities on their skin
The doc­tor explained that she thinks the rea­son peo­ple want more tat­toos after they get their first is because it’s a good way for them to wear their per­son­al­i­ties on their skin

Dr Gray does­n’t know how many tat­toos she has because rather than hav­ing indi­vid­ual pieces her body is now a cohe­sive can­vas.

She does know that she has spent more than 300 hours of her life being tat­tooed.

Dr Gray aims to com­plete her body suit and she only has a few small gaps to fill before she’s all done.

My tat­toos don’t all nec­es­sary have per­son­al mean­ings behind them, some I had no say in the design process as I admired the artist’s work and pur­sued them for a piece as a col­lec­tor,’ she said.

On the oth­er hand, some of them sig­ni­fy times in my life or things that are impor­tant to me, like my career, my Vegas wed­ding, my love of anatom­i­cal skulls and all things hor­ror or my love of cheese.’

The 30-year-old doesn't know how many tattoos she has because rather than having individual pieces her body is now a cohesive canvas
The 30-year-old does­n’t know how many tat­toos she has because rather than hav­ing indi­vid­ual pieces her body is now a cohe­sive can­vas
Dr Gray aims to complete her body suit and she only has a few small gaps to fill before she's all done
Dr Gray aims to com­plete her body suit and she only has a few small gaps to fill before she’s all done

Although neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tions have even­tu­at­ed because of her tat­toos, Dr Gray said being tat­tooed has also affect­ed her life in a pos­i­tive way.

Through the tat­too­ing indus­try I found my soul mate, I have friends scat­tered all around the world and I’m able to be a pos­i­tive role mod­el for those around me as a colour­ful pro­fes­sion­al in a tra­di­tion­al­ly con­ser­v­a­tive indus­try, like med­i­cine,’ she said.

When she went through med­ical school she was con­scious of hav­ing vis­i­ble tat­toos as she feared col­leagues and patients would­n’t take her seri­ous­ly.

She has since found out that peo­ple’s views of body art in mod­ern soci­ety are very dif­fer­ent to what they used to be.

Some of her tattoos signify things that are important to her, like her career, her Vegas wedding, her love of anatomical skulls and all things horror or her love of cheese
Some of her tat­toos sig­ni­fy things that are impor­tant to her, like her career, her Vegas wed­ding, her love of anatom­i­cal skulls and all things hor­ror or her love of cheese
Although negative situations have eventuated because of her tattoos, Ms Gray said being tattooed has also affected her life in a positive way
Although neg­a­tive sit­u­a­tions have even­tu­at­ed because of her tat­toos, Ms Gray said being tat­tooed has also affect­ed her life in a pos­i­tive way

Hav­ing colour­ful skin in no way affects your skill lev­el and with all the anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws now it would­n’t be appro­pri­ate to com­part­men­talise or treat me dif­fer­ent­ly based on my appear­ance,’ she said.

I’ve worked real­ly hard to devel­op good pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ships as I’m fair­ly mem­o­rable, so I’ve made sure I’m mem­o­rable for the right rea­sons through hard work, deter­mi­na­tion and an always pos­i­tive atti­tude.’

I’ve worked real­ly hard to devel­op good pro­fes­sion­al rela­tion­ships as I’m fair­ly mem­o­rable, so I’ve made sure I’m mem­o­rable for the right rea­sons

Dr Gray said that being so colour­ful has act­ed as a great con­ver­sa­tion starter and peo­ple often find her quite approach­able.

Some­times peo­ple will inap­pro­pri­ate­ly grab your arms though which is a mas­sive over­step of a per­son­al bound­ary, so don’t be that per­son,’ she said.

The young doctor said the days are gone where tattoos represent criminals or unsavoury behaviour
The young doc­tor said the days are gone where tat­toos rep­re­sent crim­i­nals or unsavoury behav­iour
When she went through medical school she was conscious of having visible tattoos as she feared colleagues and patients wouldn't take her seriously
When she went through med­ical school she was con­scious of hav­ing vis­i­ble tat­toos as she feared col­leagues and patients would­n’t take her seri­ous­ly
Dr Gray said that being so colourful has acted as a great conversation starter and people often find her quite approachable
Dr Gray said that being so colour­ful has act­ed as a great con­ver­sa­tion starter and peo­ple often find her quite approach­able

Occa­sion­al­ly some­one dis­ap­prov­ing will say a neg­a­tive com­ment under their breath or shake their head at me, but these sit­u­a­tion are rare,’ she said.

Dr Gray, who was pre­vi­ous­ly crowned Miss Inked Aus­tralia and New Zealand, has just gained her med­ical degree and has career aspi­ra­tions to be an orthopaedic sur­geon.

She hopes being in the pub­lic eye will help teach peo­ple to not judge a book by its cov­er.

The young doc­tor said the days are gone where tat­toos rep­re­sent crim­i­nals or unsavoury behav­iour.

We should all be able to love the skin we’re in, regard­less of how we choose to dec­o­rate it,’ she said.

For those that don’t like tat­toos, that’s entire­ly their pre­rog­a­tive, I just urge them to at least con­sid­er the artis­tic skill that goes into cre­at­ing body art, before they judge some­one harsh­ly at face val­ue for choos­ing to wear them.’

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