Can a Model Have Tattoos?

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Beautiful girl with red hair in a lace black top on a white background. Tattoo with flowers and birds on hand. Nude makeup. Makeup model

Modelling is a strict business. Your face and body are your work, so they have to appear a certain way to get the most jobs and make the most money. But where does the industry stand on tattoos and piercings? In today’s society, body modifications are all the range. Would this affect the career of an aspiring model?

Read on to find out everything you need to know about modelling and tattoos.

Can You Be a Successful Model with Tattoos?

Generally speaking, the modelling industry does not like models with tattoos. They prefer models without because they are more able to reflect a wider audience. Having tattoos will therefore limit your opportunities. However, as always, there are those who have broken the mould and found work despite their body art.

A tattoo is like a permanent accessory you can never take off. A model is supposed to be like a blank canvas, and tattoos make this very difficult. Larger, darker tattoos will not be easily covered; post-editing will cost more time and money to hide tattoos, so brands would rather avoid the additional time and cost a model with tattoos takes.

Tattoos can be covered with make-up, but this is also time consuming and requires specific skills and products. Dermablend is a good cosmetics brand for covering tattoos.

Brands in both commercial and high fashion who believe their audience would not themselves have tattoos will not look to hire a model who has them. A model without tattoos will be selected over one who has obvious tattoos.

Your skin tone will also affect how vivid a tattoo appears on the skin. A darker skin tone will show ink less brightly; this will make it easier to hide.

Heavily tattooed and pierced models can find work as an alternative model. We’ll look into this niche of modelling more below.

Model with tattoos

Alternative Models

There are many different niches of modelling to cater to specific audiences. Alternative models are those who reflect and attract audiences who themselves have ink, piercings or other uncommon features such as colourful hair or a gothic style.


Piercings are smaller and much easier to get away with as they can be taken out or hidden with hair/accessories. Obvious piercings on the face will lose you work; it’s unusual, if not unheard of, to see a top model with facial piercings. That’s because piercings are distracting and facial piercings in particular speak to a specific, more alternative audience.

Some piercings also go in and out of style; belly button piercings are not as popular as they once were, and you can see the scars left over in many of today’s models; fortunately, these tiny marks do not appear to have lost them work.

How Much Does it Cost to Get Tattoos Removed?

Tattoos are very expensive and painful to remove, and some of them are impossible to get rid of completely. You need several laser sessions to remove a tattoo, and each session can cost in the hundreds.

Top Models with Tattoos

Some top models do have tattoos. This is either because they have reached a level of fame that tattoos will not lose them work, or because they are retired and no longer need to care about having body modifications. Usually, a model’s tattoos are small and discreet.

– Cara Delevingne is a famous supermodel well-known for her tattoos. Her works of art include a lion tattoo on her finger, as well as some ink on her scalp which can be seen when her hair is shaved.

– Jourdan Dunn is a British supermodel with some unusually large pieces including a symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis on the back of her neck. She also has a large phoenix tattoo on her side.

– Kate Moss, a retired supermodel, has a couple of little intricate tattoos on her forearms that would be easy to cover with make-up, clothing or editing.

– Gisele Bundchen has some celestial themed tattoos including a tribute to her grandmother and some stars on her ankle. 

– Kendall Jenner has some tiny tattoos on her upper lip and fingers. 

– Bella Hadid has some angel wings on an ankle tattoo that pays homage to her time in the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. 

– Ruby Rose is covered in tattoos; she is considered an alternative model who has managed to go against the odds and find work and fame with big brands despite her body art. 

Male Models with Tattoos

There are many male models with body art. Rick Genest is probably the most famous; also known as Zombie Boy, he is covered from head to toe in tattoos. His face tattoo of a skull is his most famous tattoo and landed him a role in Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ music video. 

Cosmetic Tattoos

Also known as cosmetic makeup, some people like to get make-up tattooed. Lips and eyeliner can be tattooed onto the face. Microblading can also be done, which is like a light tattoo over the eyebrows. Depending on how professionally this is done, it can look very natural and subtle. Be wary of getting it done, however, as it can be done too boldly. Fortunately, it should fade over time.

Others have scars covered, or may have surgery-related tattoos like nipple ink if a nipple has to be removed for medical reasons. These sorts of tattoos are meant to appear as natural as possible and should not affect your ability to find modelling work.

Should I Get a Tattoo?

The best advice for models is to avoid having tattoos or body modifications if at all possible. Tattoos may have an unknown affect on your future career. Your body and face are your main tools of the trade as a model; it’s best not to alter anything permanently for the sake of fashion. Trends change, and it may be that tattoos go out of fashion again in the future. It’s not worth the risk if you want a long, successful career in modelling. Having tattoos will only make it harder for you to get signed to an agency and find work. 

Ink-free models will be prioritised and chosen over those with tats because they are a blanker canvas. Most brands look for models with flawless skin that they can mould into whatever their campaign needs.

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1 Comment

  1. Caitlin on May 18, 2022 at 7:13 pm

    I am moved by beauty of human and the way they carry themselves in an elegant way. I absolutely love modeling and desire to be a supermodel one day by God’s grace. I was honestly tempted to make a tattoo on my body driven by peer pressure but now with this insight I seek not to be a subject of it anymore but instead choose to be a person I have always deeply desire to portray which is uniqueness, my own person of natural beauty with elegance. I would appreciate it if you would pretty please give me a platform to radiate the above nature.

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