Tattoos and tattooing are taking on an increasingly larger, more visible role in today’s mainstream culture. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the stars of modern pop culture, “the celebrity”. The first celebrities to push the body art envelope, not surprisingly, came from the rank and file of ‘Rock and Roll’. Just as their music was testing and questioning the boundaries of society in the 1960’s, musicians like Janis Joplin and Greg Allman were overturning stereotypes of body art. And if you were into rebellion, there was no greater advertisement for the revolution than sporting a tattoo.
tattooing has emerged from the fringes of society and it’s unsavoury reputation of the very recent past
Tattoos in the ’60’s were unmistakably linked in the public’s mind with sailors and seamen, servicemen, outlaw bikers, criminals and prostitutes. Tattoos were the strict domain of the lower classes. There was no better way for a rock musician to reject the morality of the day than by sporting a tattoo. A tattoo was like a brand that screamed rebel. A tattoo in the ’60’s still had shock value.
These days, you see all kinds of tattooed celebrities. Tattooing has gone beyond rock stars to become embraced by movie stars with tattoos, sports stars with tattoos, and even super models with tattoos. Tattoos have become ubiquitous in the NBA. What is clearly undeniable is that tattooing has emerged from the fringes of society and it’s unsavoury reputation of the very recent past.
In 1936 Life Magazine estimated that 10 million Americans, or approximately 6% of the population had at least one tattoo. And it was estimated that fully a third of that number were tattooed as a result of being a member of the Armed Services, especially the Navy and the Marines. The National Geographic News stated in April, 2000, that 15% of Americans were tattooed. The Alliance of Professional Tattooists, an industry group based in Annapolis, puts the numbers at one in seven, or 39 million Americans, an impressive doubling of the numbers of tattooed people since 1990. Details Magazine published a Poll that estimated that 22% of those aged 18-25 were tattooed. In 2012, Harris Interactive reported that 1 in 5 Americans (21%) now sports at least one tattoo, with those aged 30-39 consuming an impressive 38% of that statistic.
So what has happened in the last ten to thirteen years? It’s the media, baby. In the early ’90’s Cher and her tattoos were big news. Like her or loathe her there was no denying her public profile. And part of what made Cher’s tattoos newsworthy was the fact that she was a prominent musician, television personality and Oscar winning actress who was willing to flaunt her body art. Cher brought tattooing out of the closet for celebrity skin.
The result has been a virtual cornucopia of beautiful celebrity women sporting ink. The list includes pop stars, playmates, super models and some of the hottest actresses in Hollywood. Some of the most popular actresses today have not just one tattoo, but an impressive collection. Following are the Top Ten Tattooed Celebrity Sweethearts. These are the women we love… and their tattoos.
This list has been compiled by looking at the number of web sites devoted to them, search engine requests to our web site, www.vanishingtattoo.com, the Net’s largest photo archive of tattooed celebrities, and the results of our tattoo poll.
1Surely the most popular tattooed celebrity babe out there today has to be Angelina Jolie. This gifted actress, who is blessed with stunning good looks, has at least a dozen tattoos. Her tattoos are a reflection of her personality, exotic and with more than just a hint of dangerous sensuality. This is a babe with an edge. A woman who professes she likes to play with knives in bed and has the name of the man she loves tattooed on her. Angelina has made the tribal dragon one of the most popular tattoos for women. And Jolie has over sixty web sites dedicated to her worship.
2Not far behind Jolie is the amazing Alyssa Milano. Milano is no longer the little girl we all remember from ‘Who’s the Boss’. Although her acting career is perhaps less stellar than Jolie’s, Milano has worked steadily in a string of lower-budgeted films and is once again a television star on ‘Charmed’. And this is a woman who has over forty web sites devoted to her. She has seven tattoos that we know of, some of them beautiful work that has been fully revealed in photos taken of her by paparazzi at various topless beaches and resorts around the world.
3A close third in the skin art and popularity contest is Drew Barrymore. Like Milano, we all remember Barrymore growing up in front of the camera, starting of course with ET. Better yet, Ms. Barrymore is so comfortable with her skin and it’s many decorations that she posed for a famous Playboy pictorial. As a result she has some of the best photographed tattoos of any celebrity out there. Miss Drew has at least five tattoos that we’ve seen so far. Who knows what the future holds for our favorite Angel?
4You can’t talk about beautiful tattooed celebrities much longer and not mention Pamela Anderson. This former Playmate, Bunny of the Year and Baywatch Babe helped change television and she was a phenomen at the beginning of the Internet explosion. I was surprised that Pam only came in fourth. Part of the reason may be that she’s been in the public eye so long that interest is beginning to wane. Still a top contender in Net searches she was slightly less popular among the tattoo poll voters. She has some wonderful black work as skin art, and I am particularily impressed with her back piece. Her barbed-wire arm band spawned thousands of imitators. And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
5Rounding out the top five is Sarah Michelle Gellar. Of the top five, sweet Sarah has the fewest tattoos, but my Gawd, talk about the power of the Net! Buffy has the Chinese symbol for integrity on the small of her back and the Tao symbol for patience on her ankle. She also has over a hundred and fifty sites that can’t get enough of this gorgeous Vampire Slayer.
6Christina Ricci came within a hair’s breadth of breaking into the top five. She has some of the most devoted fans on the Net and the tattoo crowd love her. All those spectacular performances in independent films in addition to the Hollywood blockbusters like the Adams Family have made her wildly popular. She has a lion tattoo on her shoulder that has been photographed many times, a bouquet of flowers on her lower back and a small bat that I saw with my own eyes.
7Janet Jackson, come on down. Not the first person you think of when you think of celebrity tattoos, but this pop diva has more than her fair share. And she’s not afraid to show them off, although you’re more likely to see them in publicity photos than her videos. And the rumour is, she has some interesting piercings to go along with the tattoos…
8Bif Naked. Who’s Bif Naked? Bif is one of the most extensively tattooed women in rock. And her ink is amazing. This is a woman so dedicated to her body art that she makes the tattooed beauties of Nashville Pussy look like Nashville pussies. Now that takes some doing. And to top it off, Miss Bif is no slouch in the looks department herself. A few hits on the charts and Bif could rocket up the list of most popular tattooed celebrity women herself. Or better yet, Bif could do a Playboy Pictorial and show off her tattoos to several million grateful readers. Are you listening, Mr. Hefner? Hey, Hugh!
9Britney Spears. She has a small tattoo of a fairy on her lower back. And about ten million salivating fifteen year olds who’d steal their father’s credit card in a second for a glimpse of her breasts on an Adult’s Only Site. Of course we know these are fake, but try convincing a horny adolescent of that. They still think her breasts are real. We think Britney should get a little more adventursome in the ink department. The upside is, she has one. And tattoos are addictive. It’s awfully hard to stop at just one. Just ask Angelina Jolie, Alyssa Milano, Drew Barrymore and Pamela Anderson….
10And the tenth woman whose tattoos we love? Carre Otis. This off again, on again main squeeze of Mickey Rourke’s has some well done tattoos. And she’s a heart-achingly beautiful woman. So much so, that we’re even willing to forgive her for ‘Wild Orchids’. Otis has had tattoos for a number of years, being one of the first super models to sport them. She helped make tattoos popular on the runway. A service for which we shall all be forever grateful. And being a model she has done any number of assignments over the years, including Playboy, au naturel.
There you have it. Our top ten favourite women with tattoos. It would be remiss of us not to list those lovely ladies who should receive honorable mention. Super models Stephanie Seymour (Playboy), Amber Smith (Playboy), Christy Turlington, Georgia Grenville, Angie Everhart (Playboy) and Kate Moss. Thespians Christina Applegate, Gillian Anderson, Charlize Theron (another Playboy Pictorial), Alison Eastwood, Marisa Tomei (another Oscar winner), Tiffany Amber Thiessen, Melannie Griffith (Oscar again!), Melissa Joan Hart, Heather Locklear, Rose McGowan, Lara Flynn Boyle, Fairuza Balk, Jenna Elfman, Natasha Henstridge, Jenny McCarthy (Playboy, Playmate of the Year), Charisma Carpenter and Daisy Fuentes, any number of the Spice Girls, especially Mel C, and a host of other girl groups. And last but certainly not least, how could we not mention Coutney Love, Roseanne and Rosie O’Donnell?.