After being humiliated all through her life and even after death, Julia Pastrana, tagged as the ugliest woman in the world, has finally been buried in her native Mexico, after more than 150 years.
Pastrana suffered from hypertrichosis and gingival hyperplasia, which gave her excessive facial hair and a jutting jaw. She was married to an American man, Theodore Lent, who took her around to circuses and theaters to make money.
She died from complications during childbirth in 1860 and her son who had the same disorder died in a few days. Lent reportedly continued to make money, touring with his wife's and son's embalmed corpses for five years. Later their remains ended up at the University of Oslo in Norway.
"Imagine the aggression and cruelty of humankind she had to face, and how she overcame it. It's a very dignified story," Sinaloa Governor Mario Lopez Lopez said, "When I heard about this Sinaloan woman, I said, there's no way she can be left locked away in a warehouse somewhere."
It was Mexican artist Laura Anderson Barbata's campaign in 2005 that helped Pastrana's remains to be buried with due respect in her hometown.
"I felt she deserved the right to regain her dignity and her place in history, and in the world's memory," Barbata said, "I hoped to help change her position as a victim to one where she can be seen in her entirety and complexity."
Mexican ambassador to Denmark, Norway and Iceland, Martha Bárcena Coqui, helped in bringing Pastrana's coffin from the Oslo University Hospital.
"You know I have mixed feelings," Coqui said, "In one way, I think she had a very interesting life and maybe she enjoyed visiting and travelling and seeing all the places, but at the same time I think it must have been very sad to travel to these places not as a normal human being but as a matter of exhibition, as something weird to be talked about."