Drew Friedman: painting of The Monkey Girl

 Drewfriedman Images 3349266862

Drew Friedman continues his new series of portraits depicting legendary circus and carnie sideshow freaks. The paintings are for a private collector, who I wish was me. Fortunately, Drew says they'll eventually be collected in a book. Seen here is Julia Pastrana Percilla Lauther aka "Percilla The Monkey Girl." Her story is strange, tragic, and also quite touching. From J. Tithonus Pednaud's fantastic site, The Human Marvels:

In the late 1930's, while performing with the Johnny J. Jones Exposition, Percilla met fellow marvel Emmitt Bejano, the Alligator-Skinned Man. Despite her heavy beard and his ichthyosis a sweet romance blossomed between the unique couple. The pair saw past their physical differences. Emmitt was a man with calloused skin who spent performance intermissions submerged in vats of ice water because he could not sweat. Emmitt was quite literally 'thick skinned' and he had a 'hard shell to crack' but beneath he was a compassionate, gentle, charming and passionate man. Percilla, despite looking more beast than beauty, was elegant, eloquent and possessed and enchanting singing voice. Before long Percilla realized that the gentle Emmitt was the love of her life and the two eloped in 1938.

Percilla The Monkey Girl (Human Marvels)
Drew Friedman's The Monkey Girl (Drawger)