The following post appears in the September 2016 issue of NYLON.
And I was like, ‘I can’t even get through the skull with a bone saw,’” says Nicole Angemi, pausing to take a long swig of her milky iced latte. I steal a tentative glance over at the neighboring table—some rather loud, detailed morgue talk at Philadelphia’s trendy La Colombe café could conceivably be grounds for a complaint to the manager. It’s the kind of stuff that doesn’t usually come up during polite coffee date conversation, but for Angemi, a pathologist’s assistant and self-described “autopsy dork,” the subject matter flows from her matte pink lips freely and effusively, her brightly tattooed arms gesticulating excitedly with every scientific detail before she readjusts her black, thick-framed glasses with one talon-nailed finger.
It’s this enthusiasm that led her to channel her workplace knowledge into a blog, I Heart Autopsy, and its accompanying Instagram account, @mrs_angemi—the contents of which, let me warn you, are not for the faint of heart, but have garnered her hundreds of thousands of followers (as well as plenty of critics offended by its graphic nature). Angemi is a character to be sure, but she’s not alone—hidden in plain sight (or perhaps where some would rather not peek) exists a burgeoning community of young women whose passion and work is steeped in what most would consider seriously macabre business. It’s a deeply interconnected group, in some respects even a movement. Welcome to the morbid girls club.
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Emily Snedden-Yates and the Mütter Museum photographed by Cara Worcester; Morbid Anatomy Museum photographed by Sonia Ostrovksy; Nicole Angemi’s home photographed by Maria Qualtieri.