56-year-old Fulvia Pellegrino, a transgender woman from Perevagno, Italy says she has spent £52K on surgery and plans to spend more until she reaches 'perfection' and she has the full support of her wife, Marissa. In addition to spending £9000 on her bum, Pellegrino has had more than 150 lip and cheekbone fillers, four breast implants, and two rounds of liposuction.
Fulvia said: “I am not happy with my ‘perfect’ body, because it is not perfect. Perfection is something else.”
Fulvia was just fifteen years old when she first realised she was transgender. But fearful of her strict religious family, and her father who was in the clergy, Fulvia kept her feelings a secret.
She said: “I was living with my family who were very narrow minded and very religious. I never manifested my will because it was impossible with my dad. He had three sons and he wanted three sons only.”
Even after she married Marissa Altare 32 years ago, she kept it under wraps but secretly frequented gay clubs and cross-dressed in the privacy of her garage.
She said: “I was feeling trapped in my body. I hid in the garage and put make-up on dressed like a woman. I never showed that side of me because I was ashamed of it.”
Fulvia masked her turmoil and exaggerated her masculinity in public, buying guns and owning expensive cars.
She said: “It is difficult to grow up with a body which is not yours. You try to mask it in every way playing football, drinking beers, buying American 4x4s and go shooting to feel like a man. Instead you understand it is a mask and so you need to throw it away and become what you are.” It got too much to bear and finally, Fulvia came out to Marissa, that was in 2000, sixteen years ago. She said: “Obviously Marisa lost if for a moment, it is not something that is easy to accept.
“Today Marisa and I are nothing more than two sisters. We live together, we argue like two normal people but not like husband and wife.” Fulvia began her journey to a new self with hormone therapy while Marissa saw a psychologist to help her get to grips with her new reality. Fulvia's wife may have been supportive but her parents were as vehement in their opposition.
Fulvia said: “My dad asked my wife to sign a paper to send me into a psychiatric institution to make me change my mind.
“It was very hard, when my father passed away they didn’t let us go to the funeral because they were ashamed of us.
“The only people who accepted me were my brothers.” That didn't deter her and in 2004 she got breast implants and a nose job and a facelift three more breast augmentations, liposuction, numerous fillers in her cheeks and lips and a £22,000 butt lift followed. The financial cost however, was taking its toll and Fulvia who used to run a restaurant struggled.
To keep up with the rising costs, she sold her guns, cars and a house in France to pay for her transformation and now the pair struggle on Marisa’s wage as a holistic therapist. Inhabitants of Perevagno have ostracised the couple and their friends have deserted them. Fulvia said: “I am now the clown of Peveragno. They point at me, they talk about me, they start inventing stories about me that I am a prostitute. “My friends have all vanished – they didn’t accept me.
“I couldn’t be without Marisa and do what I do without her. She is always here with me.” All these notwithstanding, Fulvia is soldiering on in her quest for perfection, “I want to look like Allanah Starr, an American transgender porn star" She said. “Plastic surgery is not a drug but its something that people like me need.
“I am not happy with my face and other parts of my body.
“I won’t stop here, I want to go ahead because it’s not perfect. If I reach perfection maybe I will stop” She added.