Is "three-breasted" woman Jasmine Tridevil a troubled soul? A fame-hungry schemer? The most brilliant American performance artist in years? Sometimes it's best not to search too hard for a label and simply appreciate something for all of its possibilities.
Whatever the case, the internet has largely reversed course since yesterday and decided that Tridevil's alleged surgically attached third breast is probably fake, but our fascination with it certainly isn't.
You probably saw Tampa resident and professional massage therapist Tridevil's bizarre cleavage if you were anywhere on the internet yesterday. The woman gave an interview to Orlando-area radio station Real Radio 104.1 explaining that she no longer wanted to date and wanted to find a way to repel men but still feel cute.
So she called about 50 to 60 plastic surgeons to see if they'd give her a third boob and finally found one who would. However, she said the doctor required her to sign a nondisclosure agreement. She claimed skin was grafted from her abdomen. Because the doctor could not create a new nipple, a protruding prosthetic was implanted and a third nipple tattooed on.
But various pictures of Tridevil's alleged third breast didn't pass the smell test. In several images (especially of those of Tridevil in public) and videos, she wears clothes that cover her neck and shoulder while revealing only a peekaboo cutout of her allegedly enhanced cleavage. In some of those photos, it seemed her breasts were a slightly different color from the rest of her body.
Anyone who has seen an episode of RuPaul's Drag Race with from BoobsForQueens.com (that's BoobsForQueens.com *wink*) could surmise what kind of trickery was going on here. In these photos and videos, it certainly seems like Tridevil is wearing a breastplate -- basically a bib-like garment that wraps around the neck. The edges are hidden by accessories and clothing, and the usual clientele are drag queens.
But then there were other images and one grainy video of Tridevil in which it would have been impossible for her to have worn a traditional breastplate (the first time "breastplate" has been referred to as "traditional," we're sure). Oddly, the third boob seemed smaller in those photos. Tridevil's cleavage wasn't as evenly spaced.
So maybe she had worn a breastplate at one point but then actually gotten the surgery? She did flash her third boob during an interview with a local TV station last night, and it still doesn't quite look like it's made of real skin. Maybe she got a different, more intricate prosthetic with any edges blended in by makeup and the results smoothed over in Photoshop? The internet wasn't sure.
Until the myth-busters at Snopes.com got on the trail.
They discovered the domain JasmineTridevil.com was registered to Alicia Hessler, another Tampa-area massage therapist who had a brush with viral infamy last year with an uncanny resemblance to Tridevil. The two are almost undoubtedly one and the same.
In Decmber 2013, Hessler claimed she decided to drop charges against a man who had allegedly beaten her after he agreed to stand on a street corner wearing a dunce hat and carrying a sign that read, "I beat women. Honk if I'm a scumbag."
A business page for Hessler's massage business also claimed she was a "provider of internet hoax's since 2014."
Hessler also had several videos on YouTube, including this one:
She addressed clients of her massage business on Backpage (an online classifieds site formerly owned by this paper's parent company before the companies were separated in 2013) who had asked her for "happy endings." Hessler says she doesn't offer sexual service but teases the men by claiming she does offer Happy Meals and is in fact the only massage therapist to end her services by giving her clients kids' meals from McDonald's.
So it seems Hessler has a history of turning incidents of men objectifying her into cheeky viral-friendly online media. (The fact that she hails form Florida, the internet's go-to state for wacky viral stories, only helps.) Whether it's intentional or not, you could make the case she's the most successful feminist performance artist of her generation.
The idea of wanting to still feel cute for her own reasons and not for men is a pretty strong feminist statement, even if adding a third breast (even a fake one) might not have been the way to do it.
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Granted, Tridevil/Hessler claims she is filming her exploits as a three-breasted woman with the hopes of becoming the star of an MTV reality program. So who knows if her intentions are artistic or just fame-hungry.
It's also worth noting that no one has found the smoking gun that proves Tridevil's third breast is without a doubt real -- it just seems highly unlikely at this point. Update: And here's TMZ with the smoking gun. It was indeed a three breast prosthesis.
Whatever the case, she's certainly more fascinating than any Kardashian or tragic Teen Mom mom and more fun than Marina Abramović.