I have put off a post like this for a long time. Mostly because tattoos are a really personal choice and a bit of a touchy subject. I am only posting now because they DO relate to the field of modeling and I it has been coming up a lot in the office lately, so that is how I am slanting this posting. (though I my personal opinion on the matter will seep in LOL)
First, let me start by saying that I don't have anything against tattoos or the people that sport them. I consider it a style choice- albeit a mighty permanent one. I am also going to say in the interest of full disclosure that I don't have any and I don't want any. I liken getting a tattoo to deciding on a husband, sofa, throw pillows, shoes, car, finger nail polish, comforter and wall paint for every room in my house (all of which I have changed already- some many times ;)- and never EVER being able to change them again. No thanks. Again- I couldn't make the decision on a husband stick; so I am going to select the ink that someone is going to drill [permanently] into my flesh with a needle? Um, no.
So all of that out on the table, here is how tattooing relates to modeling: Clients don't like it. Why would they? Much like hair that is too blond or too long, crazy colored contacts, acrylic nails and beards, they are distractions. They also are extremely personal. Good for you- bad for the COMPANY whose product you are representing. Modeling is about advertising, not about the model. You like butterflies? Great- you may not be promoting butterflies. You like skulls- it may not be a good fit for medical editorial you are being cast in.
A hidden tattoo- one that is only seen by your doctor, lover or someone you may run into on the beach may not cause a problem for a shoot upstate but big agencies are not amused by tattoos either. The big agencies are turning away people with obvious tattoos.
My favorite line [from talent] is "I can cover it with make up". Here's a news flash: if the clothing isn't yours and it is a wedding gown or its a cocktail gown or costume that belongs to a client there is no way they are going to allow body make up.
I know people that love their tats but I also know many people who have tattoos that regret them and it is MOSTLY because they got them done too young. This is my issue more than anything. I can't think of one thing that I was doing when I was 19 or 20 that is still relevant to me now. If I had gotten a tattoo back then, I shudder to think what I would have scrawled on my body. Thank goodness vibrating needles scare the bejeepers outta me or I would have some 80's rock band name embossed on my derriere or worse: an old BF's!
So in closing I would just suggest that when it comes to things that involve your body and all things permanent that you pause. If you want to model I would really, really pause. Even in smaller modeling markets like this tattoos have proven to be a an impediment.
If you feel compelled to do something permanent, commit to sending money every month to your favorite charity...or exercising...something that you can undo with minimal fuss. When you get to a point in your life where things are less likely to change and you have made all of your big life decisions (one that doesn't include a modeling career :) that maybe a good time to consider a well thought out tat.
One thing that will never change, is that things will change. I am always evolving; I still can't commit to throw pillows or wall colors for very long, and we definitely won't discuss the husband thing.... The needle issue notwithstanding, I can't imagine what I would ever consider so germane that I would have to have it tattooed on me. Perhaps when I get too old to drive, the GPS coordinates to the nearest Sephora and Panera for my driver? ;)