A niqab and a pink-polka-dot Gibson Flying V electric guitar is not a common combination. Stereotyping, however, is exactly what Muslim woman and professional heavy metal musician Gisele Marie wishes to challenge.

Based in Sao Paulo, the 42-year-old is the granddaughter of German Catholics and converted to Islam several months after her father passed away in 2009. Music is also a family driven affair for her. She grew up in a house of instruments, trained in classical piano and once fronted her brother's heavy metal band, Spectrus, which she left in August citing "professional differences".

Gisele Marie: The Muslim heavy metal artis
Gisele Marie checks the sound of a guitar at a music store Reuters

Marie says wearing the niqab is a constant reminder of Allah and has made her more reflective in her everyday life. She also recognises that when she gets on stage, it has spurred a mixed reaction.

"People do not expect to see a Muslim woman who uses a niqab, practises the religion properly and is a professional guitarist who plays in a heavy metal band, so many people are shocked by it. But other people are curious and find it interesting, and others think that it is cool, but definitely, many people are shocked," she said.

Gisele Marie: The Muslim heavy metal artis
Marie looks on as her teacher Marcelo plays a guitar during a music class Reuters

Before converting to Islam, Marie practised Wicca, a modern pagan witchcraft religion. She says what she searches for in a religion is passion for life and the ability to be oneself. Marie recognises some Muslims have frowned upon what she does but says others are regulars at her shows and she sees no problem mixing her music with her religion.

The themes in my music are always constructive and positive. They may raise some criticisms about the way we live nowadays, but my intention is to always be constructive
- Gisele Marie

She said: "There are many people who play all sorts of musical styles and who are from all sorts of religions and non-religions. Slayer, for example, is a thrash metal band which sings about with Satanic topics, but all of its members are practising Christians.

"Where is the incompatibility in that? It is not incompatible at all, it is an artistic profession. This is my work, this is my profession, and at the same time I am Muslim. I don't think one has anything to do with the other."

Gisele Marie: The Muslim heavy metal artis
Marie plays her Gibson Flying V electric guitar during a concert in Sao Paulo Reuters

The mixed reaction continues off-stage too, according to Marie, who says she has had her niqab yanked by a passer-by in the street, leading her to phone the police. On the other hand, she says she can rarely leave the house without someone stopping to speak to her or take a photo with her in a peaceful manner. Marie aims to foment this type of tolerance in Sao Paulo, rehearsing up to six hours each day in order to shock and inspire when she and "Polka" get up on stage.