Eden Von Hell: tattoos in the ring

Eden Von Hell, alternative model and suicide girl. Born Micol Di Segni, several times Italian MMA champion and now a pro fighter ready to take on the best in the world. That elegance, aggression, sensuality, dedication, sweetness and some old-fashioned hardcore training can be found in the one person (and a woman, at that) is happily no longer such an outlandish notion, but Micol is still quite an astonishing mix. I got in touch through a mutual friend in order to find out how she does it…

People are still amazed at the idea that a woman can be beautiful and aggressive, charming and physically strong, that she can have a career as a fighter alongside that of a model. As if to say that among all the myriad facets that go into our makeup some are simply not compatible with others. If you ask me, I would say that they are complementary. But having said that, mixed martial arts wouldn’t be the first sport I’d recommend to a girl. How on earth did you get here? And how long did it take before you realised that you could take it to a higher level and become a pro?
It pretty much happened by chance! A friend had just opened a new MMA gym and he invited me to come and try out. I had so much fun that I decided to come back every day, and eventually I got to the stage that I was training as an amateur. In little less than a year I ended up winning a world championship in Las Vegas and that was when I got the offer to go professional.

Eden Von Hell
Eden Von Hell

I know you’re now in America. What was it like from a professional point of view coming up against such a different scene as the one in the US?
I’ve settled in really well in Albuquerque, at the Jackson Wink MMA I’ve found my place surrounded by people who are chasing the same dream. I’m training in a gym that has produced some of the best fighters of all time and training alongside them really spurs me on. I hope it will last as long as possible, though I can’t deny that when I’m so far from home, I really miss Rome a lot.

At the same time, you’re pursuing a career as a model and suicide girl. Is it just a job, a bit of fun, or is there a need behind this for you to express yourself artistically in order to show that there’s more to you than what we see in the ring?
To be honest, it’s the other way round. I started out posing as a model and then I felt the need to show another side of me that I had kept hidden for too long. I believe that the self-confidence I have gained through martial arts has made me a better model, more aware of my body and given me a different kind of femininity which distinguishes me from most other models.

Do you feel that your tattoos play a decisive role in the relationship you have with your self-image and your body? If beauty is the bottom line for a model, I guess that the ink has made you, even unconsciously, a better model. I mean getting tattooed (like modelling) is basically a way of making your body into a work of art…
One of my recurring nightmares is that I wake up one day with blank skin. I love my tattoos and I wouldn’t feel me without my coloured skin. I would never have got into modelling if I hadn’t been into this scene and even now, every time I get a new tattoo, I feel one step closer to my ideal of beauty.

Many of your tattoos are in the Traditional or Japanese styles. Who have you been tattooed by so far? Are there any artists you keep going back to or do you prefer to change?
I started working in this field over ten years ago, and over the years I’ve met many exceptional artists who have decorated my body with all sorts of subjects and I’ve collected ink on nearly all my travels. In Rome my favourite tattoo artists remain Alex Ciliegia and Egbz, two dear friends who over the years have brought to life some of the best tattoos I’ve got.

Which is the tattoo that means the most to you, that you think says the most about you?
I have a sailing ship on my leg which is going straight ahead with the lettering “Love your dream even though it torments you” and that just about sums up my life over the past few years.

Do you think that in Italy and the rest of the world people’s perception of a body covered in tattoos, especially if it’s a woman, has changed in any way?
In Italy, over the past 10 years, I think that the situation has changed enormously. I’ve noticed that a love of tattoo has spread across all age groups in contexts where only a short time ago tattoos would have been utterly unacceptable. There’s more and more people appreciation for a well-tattooed female body and I often get compliments for the pieces I have from people of all ages.

Have you any ideas for your next tattoo?
It will be something to represent my trip to New Mexico. An experience which has changed me deeply.

As a fighter, and with your photos, you have shown different facets of yourself. But there is surely much more. What is there that people still don’t know about Micol that you’ like to tell them?
What there is to know about me as a person is difficult to explain in words. I’ve talked about myself a lot in interviews and on the social media… the rest is my private side and I guard it jealously. I have only a few trusted friends and they are the ones who have managed to go beyond the external appearance and what you might see as a first impression.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In the ring, as a fighter or a coach. I never want to leave the MMA scene.

Eden Von Hell, photo by Luca De Nardo
Eden Von Hell, photo by Luca De Nardo
Instagram: @edenvonhell
Twitter: @micoldisegniMMA