In the body modification community, there are names that everyone knows: Fakir Musafar, Shannon Larratt, Howie Luna Cobra.

Also on that list, filled with mostly white men who have dominated the industry for decades, is Denver body modification artist and owner of Sol Tribe, Alicia Cardenas. As an Indigenous woman, Cardenas brought the rituals of Meso-American cultures into her body modification practices and empowered others to do the same.

“I just needed someone like Alicia to give me permission to really look at it from that perspective and be like, ‘I need to take ownership of this,’” said Luz de Luna Duran, owner of Luna Body Piercing Velton in Berlin, Germany. “These practices that we do, they are medicine. They are our magic. [Body modification] is how we enact the magic of our bodies out in the world. It was really inspiring to see another woman of color on these stages, taking those leadership positions.”