The rise in popularity of tattoos as well as their breakthrough in the mainstream culture can be, to a great extent, accredited to the hipster culture and some of the most influential people of today – the celebrities. This trend of inking one’s body with meaningful symbols, imagery and important and emotionally significant quotes has become one of the dominating ones.
A fact that, however, is little known is that people have been inking their bodies for thousands of years. As Cate Lineberry from the Smithsonian reveals, these permanent designs—sometimes plain, sometimes elaborate, always personal—have served as amulets, status symbols, declarations of love, signs of religious beliefs, adornments and even forms of punishment. Tattoos go back to ancient Egypt, and evidence of tattoos have been found in different cultures across the globe. In recent history, they were usually seen on and associated with members of the working class, but for the past decade, they have experienced a complete rebirth.
They are now flaunted by people of all socio-economic backgrounds, and proudly shown off by celebrities we love. It’s safe to say that the previous mid-century stigma surrounding them is in the past, as they are now better and more intricate than ever before. To that end, we have decided to highlight some of the best celebrity tattoos and their meanings, so let’s dive in.
We absolutely adore Demi Lovato; she is talented, down to earth, and not one to shy away from speaking candidly about her life and her struggles. While she does have tattoos of a cross and a bird on her left arm, it is the ink statement portraying a lion on her hand that we are mesmerized with. While she hasn’t exactly revealed the symbolism and meaning behind the art, it can be assumed that, because lions represent strength and fearlessness, that that was her motive for choosing it.
She has been very frank about her struggles with bipolar disorder as well as bulimia, serving as a role model to young people; we can’t help but applaud her and also admire the pure beauty of this work of art as well. Something intricate can only be done by a true artist, and while hers was done by celeb tattoo artist Bang Bang, there are numerous tattoo artists in Sydney that have received awards for their skills in the art of realism tattoos. If you’re considering inking your body with something as complex, make sure you are in the hands of professionals and true artisans.
Jolie is a name that doesn’t need a description; she is an amazing actress, director, humanitarian, mother. She is also a proud tattoo wearer, and while she has a great number of them, the one just below her neck seem to send the most powerful message. It’s comprised by three simple words: know your rights. It’s simple and to the point, and more than that, it is a powerful message to all the people out there, women especially. In the face of discrimination, continuing inequality, it is important to be reminded that you need to know your rights, fight fearlessly for them and never let anyone tell you you are less than.
We’ve known and loved Winter for her portrayal of the geeky middle child in Modern Family. The actress is also a body positivity advocate, but this declaration of love on her left ribcage has got us swooning. In her own words: “My second and most special tattoo, the initials of five of the most important beings in my life: my nieces and nephew. Their initials are on my ribcage, on the side where my heart is. They are my inspiration, and my reason for living.” If this isn’t a permanent declaration of love, we don’t know what is.
Slowly but surely, Cara is adding an entire animal kingdom to her body. This time it’s a modern elephant done using two different techniques. The model/actress hasn’t revealed the inspiration behind the elephant, but this has been one of the most popular symbols for decades now, and it’s symbolism is quite clear. It’s a sign of dominance, but also grace and an even temper. In many cultures they are considered sacred, and stand for strength, power, stability and wisdom. They are also believed to bring good luck, so that might be the reason she decided on this one. Whatever the reason, this particular elephant looks stunning, especially due to a modern twist.