Jule Wenzel (GER), Social Media Manager, Berlin

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“I always wear this necklace; it has a little half-heart pendant. I gave the other half to my grandmother, who means the world to me. My mom had to raise me by herself and my grandmother was always there to help me however she could. She understood me like no one else could and I never felt so loved. She passed away one day after I gave her the little pendant and she was buried with it.

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My mom often says my grandmother wouldn’t have liked my tattoos, but I don’t believe that. Like I said, she always accepted me for what I was, so I don’t believe it would have changed anything. She might not have liked the general idea of tattoos, but I bet she would have loved mine. I even got my first one in her honour: the little porcelain puppet on my left thigh. She collected those. A while back I got her portrait tattooed next to the little puppet, so she’s eternalised on my skin.

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Her loving me for who I was, was a great deal for me, since I couldn’t always do that myself. Growing up, I had a really messed up self-image, my body in particular. An asset I inherited from my mom, who’s always saying she looks fat, while she’s half my size. I was trying diet after diet, drinking meal-replacing shakes, … but I was never satisfied with the results. Then, when I turned 21, I realised I looked great and I shouldn’t let this obsession ruin my self-esteem. I started appreciating myself and once I did that, I enjoyed food more than ever before. I started loving it even more a while back, when I became a vegan.

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I wish everybody would appreciate themselves a little more. It doesn’t matter what size, weight, gender or skin colour you are, you should be able to do your own thing without being judged, or mocked, by society. Equality for everyone is what I believe in, so you can call me a feminist. I believe that Berlin, as a city, is a better place for people with those thoughts than other places in Germany. I even believe that is what attracts outsiders to this city: a welcome escape from the small-mindedness.”

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