Daily Mail: A woman who had stars tattooed on her face says she has no choice other than to claim benefits worth £14,000-a-year ($15,224 US dollars) because no one will employ her.
Kay Bennett, 33, from Swindon, says the tattoos, which were done when she was 24, have turned her into a jobless recluse. ‘Until they are removed, I won’t be able to find a job and will be stuck on benefits,’ says Miss Bennett, who resigned from her last role because she felt ‘left out’ by colleagues, and is now hoping someone will step forward and offer to pay for her to have laser removal.
‘I can’t afford to have it done but I’m absolutely desperate to get rid of them,’ says Miss Bennett, who claims she has applied for 40 jobs in the last year but without success. ‘I hope my nightmare will make anyone think twice about having such visible tattoos especially on your face, neck or hands,’ she says.
‘I am well spoken but as soon as people see me they think I’m rough and common. People take one look at me, see the stars and automatically think I’m a criminal or on drugs. I’ve applied for 40 jobs in the last year alone. But as soon as I turn up for an interview I can see that person looking at the stars on my face. As soon as they see those stars, and the other tattoos on my neck and hands, their mind is made up. They are not going to employ me.’
Her handouts, which total £14,000 a year, include an employment and support allowance of £360 a fortnight and housing benefit of £400-a-month. She also gets sick money because she suffers from depression, the result, she says, of tattoo-related comfort eating that has caused her go up three dress sizes from a 12 to an 18.
Another great upset is caused by being unable to find a boyfriend, which Miss Bennett says is also down to the inkings. ‘I only attract bad boys,’ she admits. ‘Nice guys don’t fancy me because of my tattoos.’
In an ironic twist, the 33-year-old, who has 18 tattoos in total, says she got her first one as a means of boosting her confidence, which had been knocked by school bullies. ‘I thought if I had tattoos I would look hard and people would think twice before picking on me,’ she explains.
Over the next six years she got further tattoos done on her arms and neck, but easily found work as a security guard. Then, aged 24, she decided to have six stars tattooed on her face – much to her parents and her employers’ horror.
It took her eight years to find another job, this time as a dog sitter. But after a few months, she resigned when other staff failed to invite her on a night out. ‘I started off working as a volunteer and people got to know me,’ explains Miss Bennett. ‘But other staff were wary of me because of how I look. I didn’t get invited out with them and I was so upset I had to resign.’
Since then she has been unable to find another job and has spiralled into depression. ‘I can’t go out because I feel everyone is staring at me,’ she says. I come from a middle class family. My dad is an estimator, my sister is a social worker and my mum works in admin. [But] people judge me on my looks and rarely bother to get to know me.’