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How a ‘normal’ Aussie called Amber ‘reinvented’ herself after ‘living a lie’: ‘I hated myself’


Amber Luke looked like a normal, fit and healthy 16-year-old – but that’s not what she saw when she looked in the mirror.

Instead, the fresh-faced schoolgirl “absolutely hated” her appearance.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: Amber’s body art transformation.

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She was diagnosed with body dysmorphia, a psychological condition where sufferers believe they are unbearably ugly or obsess about a perceived flaw in their appearance.

“I felt trapped in a body that wasn’t mine,” Amber tells 7Life in an exclusive interview.

“I felt like I was living a lie. I hated myself and … decided that life wasn’t meant to be lived like that.

“So I changed it. I reinvented myself into someone I could be proud of – mentally and physically.”

Amber Luke (left, at 19 and right, now). Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

Fast forward 11 years and Amber, a self-described “blue eyes white dragon” from Queensland, has spent $280,000 on transforming herself – from head to toe.

The now 27-year-old has up to 600 tattoos covering every inch of her body – including blue ink injected into her eyeballs during an excruciating 40-minute procedure that left her blind for three weeks.

The now-27-year-old has covered 99 per cent of her body with up to 600 tattoos. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

Over the years, she dabbled with extreme body modifications like getting her tongue split and earlobes stretched – and a history of cosmetic surgeries including a Brazilian butt lift, breast implants and facial fillers.

“Ninety-nine per cent of my body is tattooed and modified,” she says.

Worlds apart

Despite looking worlds apart from her younger years, the tattoo enthusiast says she now “loves” herself.

But long before her 11-year body transformation, she struggled with dark moments, diagnosed with severe clinical depression at 14.

Growing up, she remembers her views on her appearance as being so distorted, she thought she looked “boring” and “plain”.

She says she ‘absolutely hated’ the way she looked. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied
Amber looked like a normal, healthy 16-year-old – but that’s not what she saw in the mirror. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

“Body dysmorphia is a tragic thing to have to deal with as your vision is obscured from your reality,” Amber explains.

“You can see yourself as being ‘too chubby’ or ‘too skinny’ and, even though your eyes are seeing something real, your brain is telling you something totally different.

“It was hard to hear when I was diagnosed with body dysmorphia, but it was a necessary understanding I had to process – in my own way.”

What is body dysmorphia?

According to Healthdirect Australia, body dysmorphic disorder can lead a person to try to fix or change the perceived defect.

Sufferers feel a part of their body is unusual or deformed – leaving them ashamed, distressed or depressed and preventing them from living a normal life.

Facial features – such as the size and shape of the nose, lips or ears, or the skin or complexion – are the most common issue for people with body dysmorphic disorder.

But any body part – including arms, legs, buttocks, genitals, muscles and hair – can become the focus.

Looking worlds apart from her younger years, Amber says she now ‘loves’ herself more than before. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

Amber says she is “extremely happy” with the way she now looks.

“I fought with a dark demon called body dysmorphia… but it will always have a place inside my soul and I’ve come to terms with it,” she says.

“It’s not the best or ideal – but it’s okay.

“However, these days – I am extremely happy with my image and I rarely find myself fighting with myself anymore.

“My transformation came from wanting to be so happy with what I saw in the mirror, but also as a human being.”

The ‘blue eyes white dragon’ was fascinated with tattoos from a young age. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

Tattoo addiction

Amber says she developed a fascination for tattoos from a young age, and enjoys “absolutely everything” about the process.

“My tattoo addiction started at 16 when I got my first three tattoos,” she recalls.

“(From) the moment I walk in, I’m hit by the familiar scent of hand sanitiser, I’m surrounded by the buzzing of tattoo machines.

“It’s the stencil – the anticipation of the tattoo.

“It’s the sitting through the pain and torment (waiting for) the piece to come out at the end, and being so proud of yourself.

“It’s absolutely everything. The whole process.

“It turned into more of a heavy addiction when I turned 20 and got my throat tattooed and started tattooing my face.”

She has been named Australia’s ‘most tatted woman’. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied
She has dabbled with tattoos, cosmetic surgeries and extreme body modifications. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

Amber has been named Australia’s “most tatted woman”.

“It feels pretty surreal and quite frankly – it’s an absolute honour to have that title,” she says.

Self discovery

Amber says she never expected to be so heavily covered in tattoos, and didn’t plan the blue inking of the whites of her eyes.

“It was a journey of self-discovery, a lot of necessary pain and suffering and I came out on top with more knowledge about myself than ever,” she says.

The only parts of her body that aren’t tattooed are the very top of her head and soles of her feet, which she doesn’t plan on doing “for personal reasons”.

She has up to 600 tattoos covering every inch of her body. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

Her life has been a rollercoaster over the years, but Amber says she has learnt a lot about herself.

“I am a lot more mentally strong than I give myself credit for,” she says.

“I have processed a lot of trauma in my life and held myself extremely well and am also accountable for my actions in the past.”

As for her body art, she’s not done covering herself in ink.

“What’s next for me is getting my back tattooed,” she says.

“I’m getting all the gaps on my back blacked out. So stay tuned.”

‘Truly gifted’

For those struggling with body dysmorphia, Amber says: “Stop caring what other people think about your body.

Reflecting on old pictures, Amber says she ‘absolutely hated’ the way she used to look. Credit: Amber Luke/Supplied

“It’s your life – please, I beg you to not let your brain or anyone else but your soul control what happens to your canvas.

“It was the only thing you were truly gifted in this life.”

Despite the criticism she faces, Amber says she’s feeling “fantastic” about her life.

“I am so resilient and strong-minded now,” she adds.

‘No regrets’

“It has taken a little while to gain that understanding, but now it’s powerful.

“I have no regrets. I love myself for who I am and what I look like now.”

If you need help in a crisis, call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For further information about depression contact beyondblue on 1300224636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.

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Source: 7News