Can Models Have Tattoos?

  • Amy Bebbington
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That’s like asking, “Can models have a baldhead or tinted eyebrows?” And your answer is this; models with tattoos will be loved by some brands and turned down by others. If your arms, legs, hips, neck or hands have been inked permanently, you are opening yourself up to acceptance. It really depends on who will be employing you and what you are being asked to model.

The decisions that affect whether you’re offered work as a tattooed model rely on three main factors.

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Who Will Be Employing You?

If your aim is to do catalogue work for politically correct organisations, well-respected brands such as Mother Care and Cath Kidston or businesses that are not so well-known but still have an angelic, softly softly approach to their work, the chances of them looking for the next Miami Inked model are slim.

The same can be applied to companies who believe in all things natural; they won’t want people who are covered in tattoos. To put it blatantly, your choice of skin adornment will insult their business ethos. However, if you dream of modelling for quirky and conceptual companies that sell themselves on their free-willed, strong-minded characteristics, your tattoos will probably do your modelling career a favour. 

Check out All Saints and Urban Outfitters. Both are more than happy to use tattooed female and male models to showcase their clothes. It’s all about understanding your target employer’s needs.

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What Will You Be Modelling?

Girls, if you’re trying to gain work modelling pretty ladylike products you won’t be chosen if your skin’s got a coating of ink. Guys, if you’re at a casting for a slick business suit brand and you’ve got tattoos but the man next to you hasn’t, they’re more than likely to choose him. 

Can you imagine a brand’s stereotypical customer having tattoos? If the answer’s yes, your tattoos will be loved. If the answer’s no, your tattoos will probably lose you the job.

The Questions

How big is your tattoo / how many tattoos do you have / where are your tattoos positioned?

With the power of Photoshop now in our hands, many brands are able to remove tattoos post-production with relative ease. If your tattoo is smaller than a 50p piece, it shouldn’t really put agencies off. If it’s hidden, such as on your ribcage or on your foot, and you’re being employed to model standard apparel, the chances of an employer noticing it are so small that it’s barely worth thinking about. Think about the places on your body that can easily be hidden with clothing and accessories.

.If your tattoo is large or you have multiple tattoos, you should consider approaching quirky brands only. Mainstream catalogues will be unlikely to employ you. Consider the type of tattoo as a dark, haunting piece of art may be viewed as offensive to some people. 

How Can UK Models Help?

If you’re really keen on entering the modelling industry but you have got more than one small tattoo, get in touch with UK Models. We’ll be able to advice you on a tailor made progression route that’s specific to your look. Although we do not promise to find you work (we are a support service, not an agency) we do have the knowledge and skills to assist you. We can establish whether modelling is right for you.

can-models-have-tattoos

Come down to our London based studios and take part in one of our portfolio photo shoot sessions. We can determine if your skin/tattoos/look are right for the industry. We appreciate that there are only a small proportion of models choosing to go into high-fashion modelling. There are thousands of others seeking niche, personality, real-life work. Teamed with our fourteen years of industry experience we’re in a great position to support you.

Before getting a tattoo, models need to consider:

  • Who will be employing you?
  • What will you be modelling?
  • The size, position and quantity of the tattoos.
  • Your gender.
  • The amount of work you would like to secure.
  • Research tattoo artists with a good reputation. Ask for them to show you their portfolio.

Models With Tattoos

There are many hot top models who have tattoos and have sparked a conversation in the industry. No longer is the body art digitally removed yet openly celebrated in the fashion industry. It has become quite regular for models to be proud of their ink and become known for their distinctive mark. However there is a difference from being covered head to toe in tattoos such as Catherine McNeil and Freja Beha Erichsen to more discreet ink of Gisele Bundchen and Kendall Jenner. Even the top models have to be careful as using your body as an art canvas is not as versatile as subtle, concealed ink. 

can-models-have-tattoos

Jourdan Dunn has a symbol of the Egyptian goddess Isis between her shoulder blades to represent motherhood, spirituality and protection. 

Cara Delevingne’s famous lion tattoo on her index finger is not the only ink she has. The self confessed tattoo addict has a series of artwork reaching over 20 in total. 

Gisele Bundchen has a tiny star drawn on her wrist and a moon inked onto her ankle for a celestial theme. 

Kendall Jenner takes it a step further with a discreet tatt hidden on the inside of the lower lip that reads ‘meow.’

Behati Prinsloo and her husband, Adam Levine opted for matching tatts of ‘Your so cool, You’re so cool, You’re so cool.’ 

Kate Moss’s twin sparrows designed by tattoo artist Lucien Freud at the base of her back plus an anchor on her forearm are subtle and easily hidden. 

Bella Hadid tribute to her Victoria’s Secret Angel status she asked tattoo artist JonBoy for a pair of angel tattoo wings on both her ankles. An achievement she will never forget!

To Finish….

To avoid losing modelling roles discreet tatts are the way forward. Those that do not take away from the designs themselves yet add to them. The models who use their body as a canvas will only be hired by selective designers whose vision fits in with their artwork. The fashion industry does not discriminate against tattoos however, only brands that have a cool, edgy vibe will be interested in a tattooed model. More conservative, wholesome labels will steer away from inked individuals and favour a more traditional image. Girl tattoos may be discriminated against in comparison to men tattoos.

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Posted by Amy Bebbington

I express my love of fashion through writing, blogging and styling. My creative personality ensures that I produce unique and original work. I am a keen knitter and enthusiatic dancer.