A disastrous mistake looked set to cost Kimberley Vlaeminck more than her looks after the young Belgian had 56 stars tattooed on her face.
Last summer she was preparing to shell out 9,000 for laser surgery and said she hoped to have the design removed by the end of September.
But, almost three years after the 21-year-old decided to go under the needle, the constellation shows little sign of fading.
Clear as the night sky: Kimberley Vlaeminck still bears the 56 tiny black stars she said she planned to have surgically removed
In June 2009, Miss Vlaeminck lied to family and reporters that she had asked tattooist Rouslan Toumaniantz for just three stars near her eye.
As her regret sank in, she claimed he kept adding more and more after she fell asleep at the Tattoo Box in Coutrai, Belgium.
She promised to sue the tattooist for the cost of removal, claiming a language barrier meant the Flemish speaker had misunderstood when she gave instructions in French and English.
Miss Vlaeminck said she avoided going out in public because the tattoos made her feel like a “freak”.
But a week later she confessed to a Dutch TV station that she had been awake throughout and had indeed asked for the full 56 marks.
She said she lied because she was afraid of how her father would react.
Freshly inked: Miss Vlaeminck at the age of 18 in 2009, shortly after she asked tattooist Rouslan Toumaniantz to cover her face in black stars
Even still, Mr Toumaniantz – whose own face is covered in tattoos and piercings – offered to pay half the cost of laser removal, saying he did not want to leave a customer unsatisfied.
He later retracted this offer, leaving Miss Vlaeminck to cover the cost alone.
Though laser treatment has been shown to be a effective way of removing ink, even the most advanced technology would leave white marks across her face.
According to Belgian media, Mr Toumaniantz said he did not regret tattooing Miss Vlaeminck, adding thatit had given him publicity.
He has since started asking all his customers to give written consent to his designs.
Bizarre: Tattooist Mr Toumaniantz (right) originally offered to pay half the cost of Miss Vlaeminck”s laser removal – even though she threatened to sue him and lied that she had asked for only three of the 56 stars