Is it Possible to Be a Model with Tattoos?

Tattoos have long-held connotations as a marker of rebelliousness. But with the fashion industry becoming increasingly accepting of tattooed models, is it possible to be a tattoo-covered model in high-fashion?

Can a Tattooed Person Become a Model?

While modelling agencies generally do not like models to be covered in ink, as always there are models who have broken the stereotype and had successful careers despite their body art. 

Models who are heavily covered in tattoos can look to work in the alternative modelling industry, where ink, piercings and colourful hairstyles are not only accepted but required. 

In high-fashion, the rules are different. Having tattoos and piercings can limit a model’s opportunities, especially with certain high-end brands. Models are expected to meet very strict requirements that include meeting a specific height, having certain body measurements and having no skin art. High-end brands see themselves as having sophisticated clientele, and body art does not generally fit into this stereotype. 

Most agencies and companies prefer their models to have no body art because they require a blank canvas to showcase their clothing collections on. A tattoo is like a permanent accessory that can never be removed and that may even be considered out of fashion. However, there are some models who have been an exception to the rule and paved successful career paths despite their body ink. 

Most modelling agencies prefer models with little to no tattoos

Does Victoria Secret Allow Piercings?

Piercings are a little easier to get away with because they can be removed and only a small hole can be seen. Many Victoria’s Secret models have their ears or belly pierced, but none have alternative facial piercings. This may be because piercings, like tattoos, are a visual distraction and the placement of certain piercings comes and goes out of style.

Currently, it has become very fashionable to have small, delicate pierings around the ear. They are particularly good for a model because it allows them to be creative with their bodies but, if/when they go out of style, they will leave a barely visible mark that wont affect their modelling careers. 

How Much Does it Cost to Get Tattoos Removed?

As well as being time-consuming and expensive, tattoo removal is extremely painful for many people to endure. Patients need many appointments to effectively lift the ink and many are left with a faint and patchy pattern left as it is incredibly difficult to fully remove tattoos.

Tattoo removal includes the use of a laser which breaks down ink fragments which are then absorbed into the bloodstream and passed harmlessly out the body.

The cost of tattoo removal depends on the location and size of the tattoo. Generally it ranges from £50 for a single session. Larger tattoos can cost over £1000 to get rid of. You may need up to 10 sessions to remove a tattoo as fully as possible.

Famous Models with Tattoos

Many top models have tattoos. Once you reach a certain level of success, brands are willing to work with you because of your reach and large fanbase. This means supermodels can get away with body ink more so than an aspiring model or a beginner.

Cara Delevingne is probably the most famous supermodel with tattoos. She has many works of art including some on her hand, a famous lion tattoo on her finger, a tattoo on her neck and even some ink on her scalp which she got when she shaved her head. 

British supermodel Jourdan Dunn has some fairly large tattoos including lots of writing, a hamsa on her arm and a symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis on the back of her neck. She recently added a large tattoo of a phoenix up her side. 

Gisele Bundchen\s tattoos have a celestial theme; she has two small tattoos including a star on her wrist that she says is a tribute to her grandmother, and a moon and stars on her ankle. 

Kate Moss also has some tattoos though they aren’t as noticeable; she has a small heart with an infinity symbol, the letter ‘L’ on her wrist, a cross on her forearm, an anchor on her forearm, a pair of swallows on her lower back and a tiny heart on her right palm.

Kendall Jenner has some very small and barely noticeable tattoos including one on her inner upper lip, a dot on her finger and a broken heart on her finger. 

Bella Hadid has a tiny angel wings ankle tattoo as well as a little rose on her arm.

Australian model turned actress Ruby Rose is well-known for her many tattoos. She has sleeves as well as ink on her neck, back and hands. Ruby can be considered an alternative model who has managed, against the odds, to make an incredibly successful career from her alternative look.

There are also many male models with tattoos. Rick Genest, also known as Zombie Boy, is a model who rose to fame when he featured in Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ music video. Genest had many tattoos from head to toe – he even held a Guinness World Record for his tattoos. His face tattoo of a skull made him recognisable wherever he went. 

Can Make-up Cover Tattoos?

With a makeup artists help, it is fairly easy to cover up smaller tattoos. Dermablend is a popular and regularly-used line of cosmetics for covering ink. 

However aspiring models should hold off having anything large or difficult to hide. In particular models must think about whether their tattoo will stay in fashion. Arm tattoos in particular are difficult to cover and should be thought about. As well as this, your skin tone can make it more difficult to hide body ink.

Should I Get a Tattoo if I Want to Model?

The best advice for aspiring models is to hold off getting tattoos entirely when first starting out. Having tattoos as an unknown model will limit your opportunities hugely, particularly if you want to work in high-end fashion. Ink-free models will be prioritised over inked models because they will be easier to work with. Most brands love flawless skin that is unblemished by marks of any kind.

However, if you love the alternative look and wish to be covered head to toe in tattoos and piercings, there are many modelling agencies who specialise in the niche of alternative modelling.

4 thoughts on “Is it Possible to Be a Model with Tattoos?”

  1. If your tattoo is smaller than a piece, it shouldn’t really put agencies off. Some models choose to hide their tattoos with make-up or a skin-coloured plaster so they don t distract during interviews and castings. If your tattoo is hidden, such as on your ribcage or on your foot, and you’re being employed to model standard apparel, the chances of an employer (and their audience) noticing it are small, so the tattoo will likely not jeopardise your chances.

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