Quebec's most famous graduation picture has been immortalized with a tattoo. Hélène Boudreau, the UQAM student who partially flashed her breasts for a grad photo, got a tattoo of the moment on her leg as an expression of everything she's been through since posting the photo.
Tattoo artist Mathias Domergue, a long-time friend of Boudreau, told MTL Blog that following discussions, they decided the medium would be a message about the often negative connotations of sex work in the public eye.
"Unfortunately, many young girls resort to prostitution, selling intimate content, dancing in bars [...] to support themselves," explained Domergue.
"That's why we decided to veil Hely's face with a white stripe over her eyes and to write "YOU" on it, because these situations are very frequent for young women and can happen to anyone."
Boudreau, who received just as much heat as she did praise, reached a settlement with UQAM after the school attempted to sue her for $125,000. Since then, she's claimed to be making a 7-figure salary from her OnlyFans account.
Hélène Boudreau, a popular and controversial Quebec social media personality, model and artist, was hospitalized Sunday after she was injured in a dirt bike accident while on a date, according to the influencer’s Facebook account.
“I said I wasn't meeting anyone... but today I decided to go on a date and do some motocross... verdict: I ran into a concrete block and broke my leg,” she stated in a Facebook post Sunday. “What a joy my life is. I'm going into surgery now.”
Boudreau told Narcity that she had been in hospital since Sunday and was being scheduled for surgery to repair a cracked tibia on Monday afternoon.
The accident was painful but she was in good spirits: “First time on a motocross bike, and I ran into a concrete block," she said. "The head of the tibia cracked. I'm having the operation at around 1 p.m. today.”
“No joke, I cried once when they moved my leg, but mostly laughed all day,” she said. “The pain was so intense that my body found it quite funny.”
Known as "the UQAM girl," Boudreau rose to fame after her semi-nude graduation photos ensnared her in a legal spat with the Université du Québec à Montréal for trademark violation, though it was settled out of court.
Jalen Frizzell has been tattooing since 2015 and is influenced by "blaxploitation movie posters of the 70s era, and the dynamics of life, death, and dreams."
Frizzell told MTL Blog that her "Jamaican-Canadian roots have motivated her to center black people in her practice. Exploring different methods of depicting black hair textures with different applications of tattoo needles is one way she presents this - as well as continuously exploring black facial features through the lens of traditional tattoo drawing styles."
Rali is the owner of XYZ Tattoo Studio and first began tattooing in 2017.
She told us that her love of "traditional hand-drawn illustrations and a graphic approach to my designs as well as my black and red colour palette are the elements that define my signature style today."
Rian Desourdie is an artist at Studio Artease in Verdun and specializes in watercolour-style tattoos.
"I love designing colourful tattoos where I can play around with artistic styles [...] and take pride in tattooing them in a way that will age well, balancing strong black linework and vibrant colour work," said Desourdie.
Jones told MTL Blog "I've been apprenticing for the last 2 years and I specialize in black and grey illustrative and traditional-inspired tattoos. I am currently working on opening a private studio with my mentor that will be a safe, inclusive place for all Montrealers to come and get tattooed!"
What does Boudreau have to say about her OnlyFans?
"I pay 20% to OnlyFans because they do the management, but this year I'm definitely going to make seven figures," said Boudreau on Tout le monde en parle.
Her notorious graduation photo and subsequent media coverage have allowed her to triple her social media audience, she added.
"I made an OnlyFans [...] because I feel good about my body and I like it. [...] I'm going to continue to do my art and then I'm going to incorporate my art into my website because, in pornographic content, there's art," she said on the show.
What happened between Boudreau and UQAM?
Boudreau explained on Tout le monde en parle that, in addition to the graduation photo, she had posted another image of herself with her backside partially exposed in front of the school's logo. She also raised her middle finger in the photo.
The university later filed a lawsuit against the student seeking $125,000 for damages, according to a report from La Presse.
"UQAM had no choice but to go to court because, despite three formal requests to the student, she continued to associate the university's name and logo with her intimate photos, and to market some of them to promote paid access to her website," the university stated in its announcement.
UQAM added the photos were "damaging the institution's image and reputation as well as its official brand."
The university "[waived] all claims for damages and punitive damages against the student" and Boudreau, in return, agreed not to repost the photos or "any other photo of the same nature that would use the name, logo or any direct or indirect reference to the Université du Québec à Montréal."