Rolf Buchholz (Germany) is 62 years old and holds two world records: most piercings, single count (male), as verified in 2010, and most body modifications (male) as verified in 2012.
He totalled 516 body modifications, among which there are several implants and 481 piercings (278 alone on his genitals), but the number has increased over the years.
Some of Rolf's body alterations include:
- Several piercings on his ears, eyebrows and mouth
- A split tongue
- Tattooed eyes
- Subdermal implants in his arms and chest
- Magnetic subdermal implants on his fingers
"A lot of people think I’m the devil, but I don’t believe in the devil." – Rolf Buchholz
Rolf, who studied computer science and works for a telephone company in Germany, started getting tattoos and piercings at the end of 1999, more than twenty years ago at the age of forty.
"I started with the body modifications because I liked them," Rolf explains.
"They were fun, so I started doing more and more.
"One day, I saw I could break the record because I met other record holders and realized I had more piercings than them."
Rolf's modifications are certainly attention-grabbing, but some more than others kindle the interest of the audience.
"I think my most famous body modifications are my horn implants. They are really big," Rolf says, touching the two subdermal horn-shaped implants on his forehead.
"Other than that I have a lot of implants, as you can see, on the arms and on the back of my hand. I also have a star under my chest."
As Rolf explains, he has 35 total implants all made of medical grade silicone.
Among them, he counts several subdermal spheres on his arms, 6 genital beadings, magnetic implants on each fingertip of his right hand and a flexible rhombus on the back of his hand.
"Does it hurt? That's the question people ask me in every language."
But Rolf insists that they don't hurt at all, tugging and moving them around to demonstrate this.
One of Rolf's most curious alterations is having magnetic subdermal implants in his fingertips. Though this gives Rolf a great party trick, with the ability to attach small metal objects to his fingers, but can sometimes interfere with his electronic devices.
"I have magnets on the tips of my fingers. Sometimes, if I press the wrong part on an iPad it switches off, because they also use magnets to switch it on and off."
When speaking of his magnetic finger tips, Rolf explained there is "no inspiration behind it."
"It's only to do it, and to show that you can do it."
"And my entire body is tattooed," he says, as he proudly shows the artworks that cover his skin.
His body is a tapestry of grey ink, a story told in drawings that Rolf is happy to walk us through.
"My first modification was the tattoo on my leg," he starts, indicating his calf.
"The only style of the tattoos is black and grey. If someone sees it, they will say it looks good... and I think that's the style."
Among his many modifications, Rolf revealed that the most painful one was his palm tattoo.
"It really hurt," he admits. "I have no high pain tolerance."
Rolf has approximately 90% of his skin covered in ink, although the tattoos aren’t classed as body alterations for this record.
"I also have tattooed eyes," Rolf carries on, addressing one of the most striking features on his face.
"My eyes are black, very black. I like it."
"They put ink directly into the eye. I saw some people with tattooed eyes one time and I wanted it too: if I want something, I do it."
This particular technique is when black ink is injected into the top layer of the white part of the eyeball (the sclera), through several locations.
When done correctly, it allows the ink to cover the entire sclera without damaging someone's sight.
Permanent and non-reversible, this extremely fascinating technique is only performed by few professional tattoo artists around the world.
"One day, I saw that I was a Guinness World Records title holder. It was great to get the record, because it’s something special and I’m very proud of it."
"I didn’t do it for the record. I got the record at the end, yes, but I did the modifications for me.
"I like the modification, I find it good, so I did it."
One of Rolf's other passions is body suspension.
This art, dating back thousands of years across many cultures, consists of rigging the body and suspending it in the air by adding hooks through temporary perforations in the skin.
The practice is extremely delicate due to the possibility of injuries and should only ever be performed by professionals (aided by a team of experts).
"During the suspension I feel no pain."
Every single modification changed something of Rolf's appearance, it brought him a record and international fame, but it didn’t change him.
He did everything because he wanted to, to experiment with his body like an artwork, and today he stands proudly in front of a camera to showcase his many body alterations.
Rolf was most recently featured on the 2022 series of the Italian TV show Lo Show Dei Record, guest-starring on an episode that aired on 7 March 2022.
There Rolf explained to Scotti, the show's host, about his inspirations, interests and motivations for his alternative look.
He also shared that he has a girlfriend, who is passionate about tattoos and body alteration just like him.
"My body modifications changed everything of my outside, but they didn’t change me. I’m the same person."
Rolf didn't get his tattoos or body modifications for shock-value: his body is an expression of himself and his view on life, and he's done what made him happy.
"I did it for me," he explains simply.