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There's always a story when it comes to ink.
Tattoos are a big part of today's culture, and stars are not exempt. From hidden script to highly visible art, take a peek at some of Hollywood's ink—and what it all means.
Miley Cyrus is showing off her enviable arm muscles alongside her latest ink.
The singer shared a photo to Instagram of her newest tattoo: a naked woman. The artwork is modeled after one of Matisse's works, Dance Me to the End of Love.
"Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin. Dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in. Touch me with your naked hand or touch me with your glove. Dance me to the end of love," she wrote on Instagram, quoting artist Leonard Cohen.
At the same session with the tattoo artist Nico Bassill, she and boyfriend Cody Simpson got matching ink of Neptune's trident.
Just days after her older brother Presley debuted a controversial face tattoo, Kaia Gerber showed off some new ink of her own on social media.
The model shared a topless selfie that gave fans a look at an angel tattoo on her ribs. "Elf," she captioned the image. Gerber hasn't confirmed what inspired the art, but the 18-year-old is a big fan of tattoos, including a small flower on her wrist and another heart on her shoulder.
Cindy Crawford's son, Presley Gerber, debuted some dramatic new ink on February 7. The 20-year-old got the word "misunderstood" tattooed on his face, just under his right eye.
"Thanks homie 😈 @jonboytattoo," he captioned a clip of himself getting the surely-painful tat, courtesy of Celebrity tattoo artist Jonathan "JonBoy" Valena, on Instagram Friday.
Kevin Jonas debuted some new ink in honor of his wife, Danielle Jonas, on Friday, October 18.
"Brand new addition to the fam. So proud of this time in our life and getting to remember this with @daniellejonas forever!" the singer wrote in the caption for the photo of the tat on Instagram.
The minimalist design, which shows the outline of a woman in a ballgown, commemorates Danielle's iconic appearance in the Jonas Brother's video for their comeback track, "Sucker." Kevin also shared a screenshot of the moment that inspired the ink in his Instagram post.
Ahead of her second wedding ceremony with husband Justin Bieber, Hailey debuted several new pieces of ink, Page Six reported.
According to Page Six, Hailey got inked up with several new tattoos on her fingers and a larger new piece on her neck. "The collection includes stars, a moon, a sun, flowers and various decorative dots and lines on her three middle fingers; she previously had a chevron pattern inked on her pinky that complements the pattern," Page Six wrote of the finger tats.
On her neck, Hailey got a word in cursive, though it's not clear just yet what the word is—the top guesses so far are "loyal" and "laugh."
In early November, news broke that Justin Bieber is sporting some new face ink—but it's so subtle, it took fans a while to notice it.
In an interview with Page Six, Bieber's go-to tattoo artist, Bang Bang, (real name Keith McCurdy) confirmed that the new face tat is real and that Justin got it as part of a couple's tattoo with Hailey Baldwin. He wouldn't say much about the ink, but said it was "little words" next to Justin's eyebrow. Squint and you can see there's something there in this picture from July—but if you can make out what it says, you should register with the government as a superhero because your vision is inhuman.
"They each got a tattoo,” McCurdy said of the ink. “Justin’s tattoo is on his face, and I haven’t seen any photos of it—so he’s doing a good job of laying low...It’s really thin and delicate. And [it’s] also not a traditional couples’ tattoo...I don’t want to give away what it is until press gets a hold of it."
Dakota Johnson was showing off some new ink while promoting the Suspiria remake at the 2018 Venice International Film Festival. The infinity symbol with two x's matches one that her beau, Chris Martin, also has. The significance of the x's is unclear, but infinity usually symbolizes eternal love.
Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner got a tattoo of the letter "G" on her pinky finger in honor of her grandfather.
During an appearance on Late Night With Seth Meyers, Seyfried explained the meaning behind her foot tattoo, which says "minge."
"It’s a term of endearment and in England it means vagina but in the U.S., where I spend most of my time, it doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “We commemorated our friendship with ‘minge’ tattoos.”
On The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Kendall Jenner showed off a lip tattoo, which simply says the word "meow."
When DeGeneres asked why she did it, Jenner replied, "I was drunk! I was not thinking clearly." As for, "Why meow? And why there?" Jenner said, "It was literally the first thing that came into my mind... my drunk thoughts."
Emma Watson was spotted with a cursive tattoo in honor of the #TimesUp movement while attending the Vanity Fair Oscars party. Though Watson's ode to #TimesUp may only be temporary (probably a good thing since it had a small typo thanks to a missing apostrophe), women in Hollywood are hoping for permanent results.
Miley's latest tattoo is a sweet tribute to her dog, Mary Jane. The singer has a lot of tattoos, and they're often tributes to friends, family members, and pets.
Apparently, Paris' friendship with her godfather has reached the matching-tattoo stage. They chose spoons because they represent an inside joke the two share.
Miley Cyrus posted an Instagram of her new tattoo and explained its meaning in the caption: "Vegan for life! 💚."
Subtle, Kylie. The youngest Jenner communicated to the world that she and Tyga are officially over by transforming her "T" tattoo into the letters "LA," which we can only imagine is a tribute to her beloved hometown. Just in case you aren't completely convinced that Kylie has moved on, check out her other ankle, which sports a butterfly tattoo identical to Travis Scott's (keep clicking to see for yourself).
Justin Bieber got a new tattoo on his leg that says "Better At 70." He explained the ink's meaning in an Instagram caption. "I look back at a lot of things in my life, mistakes, insecurities, and although I have felt I've wasted a lot of time it also makes me want to be better faster! For me personally I want to work everyday to be BETTER AT 70," he wrote.
Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott took to Snapchat to showcase a major relationship milestone: matching tattoos. According to Us Weekly, the butterfly tattoo could possibly be linked to Scott's single, "Butterfly Effect," which many believe is about Kylie. We can safely say (in the words of Scott) that this is proof that their relationship is, "heatin' up."
According to the Sun, Grande and members of her Dangerous Woman tour were tattooed with bees backstage at the Manchester One Love show Sunday. A symbol of the city's industrial heritage, the insect refers to Manchester's textile mills in the 1800s, described as "hives of activity." Citizens have been lining up for bee tattoos after the May 22 bombing.
Miley Cyrus got a new tattoo this week at the Shamrock Social Club in Los Angeles. Tattoo artist Dr. Woo shared a picture of the ink, a portrait of her Shetland sheepdog, Emu, on Instagram. "Placed a young Emu on his mom @mileycyrus," he captioned the picture.
After attending the Time 100 gala Tuesday, she had a massive lion's head inked onto her left hand. Maybe it was a tribute to the essay Ariana Huffington wrote, in which she praised Lovato's "courage, honesty, and willingness to use her own experiences to help others?" Hmm.
With backlit armpit hair and all, the Biebs introduced the world to his new bear chest tat and the huge eagle on his abdomen via Instagram story.
Miley Cyrus's latest tattoo is a tribute to her dad, Billy Ray Cyrus. He loves the ink and posted it with pride on Twitter.
Lady Gaga kicked off Grammy night by getting a giant tattoo of a moth with a skull for a face. The caption? "The Moth & Metallica." (Note: she's playing with Metallica, so this makes total sense. Sort of.)
He might have gone to the same artist as her sister Bella, but Malik's new tattoo, a cursive "Love" across his right hand, can only be a testament to Gigi Hadid.
"Psychedelic whales are slowly covering my entire body...," the singer captioned a photo of her new ink. She's already got a friendly narwhal tattoo, so it's only a matter of time before her menagerie of sea creatures expands again.
Another celebrity jumps on the small-script bandwagon, this time three in one go: "L" on her ankle for her father Lionel, "MBR" on her finger for her brother Miles Brockman Richie, and "Clarity" on her neck.
Kylie Jenner shows us that she and Tyga are still going strong after recently debuting a small tattoo with the letter "t" on her ankle.
In celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the creative team who helped create Lady Gaga's avant-garde style, Haus of Gaga, Mother Monster took to Snapchat to reveal a new tattoo. Dedicated to the special group of artists, the tattoo reads "Haus" on the back of her arm. This makes it the 20th tattoo that Gaga has added to her collection.
Singer Halsey broke down the meanings of all of her many ink etchings to iHeart Radio, where she explained that she chose the upside down horseshoe on her right arm despite the fact that's it's supposedly bad luck. "I got an upside down horseshoe to signify that I don't need luck. I work really, really hard, and I believe in the stars aligning, but I don't believe that anything happens to anyone based out of sheer luck. I believe people work really hard, and they manifest what they want, and what they need, and what they're hopeful for, and that's what this is—a reminder."
The Westworld actress drew inspiration from Pink Floyd's song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond" for her swooping back tattoo that reads, "All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream." She noted toEsquire that the song has great significance for her and will play at her funeral one day.
And yet another, an etching of one of her idols David Bowie (you saw her full-on Grammy's tribute to Bowie, right?) on her left rib is a tribute to the Thin White Duke in his Ziggy Stardust days.
The Transformers star has been inked and de-inked a couple times before (she got rid of her Marilyn Monroe tattoo to avoid "attracting negative energy") but the most prominent is the script on her back that adapts a line from Shakespeare's King Lear. It reads, "We will all laugh at gilded butterflies" and she has been quoted saying that it's a reminder "to not get too caught up in Hollywood because people will end up laughing at you."
Not shy about showing off some ink, Justin Bieber revealed another tattoo during his tour stop in Bologna, Italy. The placement this time? Sprawling text on his chest saying "Son of God." This is actually one of a few tattoos that refers to his Christian faith—he also has a cross on his stomach and a portrait of Jesus on his leg.
On The Late Show, Jessica Alba revealed to host Stephen Colbert she named her small wrist tattoo "My First Breakup." The Honest Company CEO said, "It's lotus in Sanskrit. It means the manifestation of spiritual beauty." Alba nonchalantly mentioned she got the ink after breaking up with a "famous actor"—who may or may not be NCIS star Michael Weatherly—and finding herself again.
Demi continues to add ink to her ever-growing collection, this time sharing the news via Snapchat. The singer posted videos while under the needle and later revealed two large roses underneath an older tattoo reading "Stay". Her snapchat videos appeared to show her getting a back tattoo as well, but Demi has yet to show it off.
The actress added to her myriad of tattoos with a set of Pantone color swatches. "Guys Home Depot is trying to save paper...So now you can order me and I will stand facing your wall until you pick the color you like," she wrote on Instagram. "I'll even stand facing the wall as you have breakfast and as you're watching tv at night so you can see the colors at different times. Offer limited. Conditions apply. *this is a completely false ad."
The 23-year-old singer just added another tattoo to her pretty extensive collection—a smiley face on her pinky finger. "Cause life's too short not to tattoo your pinky," she wrote on Instagram.
After initially keeping fans in the dark about its meaning, Kylie has finally shared the story behind the red ink on her arm. She captioned an Instagram snap: "Grandmother's name in my grandfather's handwriting." The cursive script reads "Mary Jo."
The super famous 18-year-old showed off her newest ink from celebrity artist Bang Bang on Instagram: the phonetic spelling of "sanity" in red ink on her right hip. The tattoo matches her other red ink—a heart above her elbow, also by Bang Bang. She also has an unidentified tat on her left hip...perhaps, "insanity?" The jury is out.
Sam Smith recently got not one, not two, but FOUR new tattoos—all with significant meaning. The first, an equality sign inked on his wedding ring finger (shown) is "pretty self explanatory. It shows my views on gay marriage and equality for all." The second, a symbol on the inside of his finger, shows one of the first tattoos documented—found on a mummy "found buried alone in the ice." The third, script on his arm that says "honesty" is what Smith promises to be in his music. And the fourth? "Alone" on his other arm. "This is just me being a melancholy twat haha. I do see it as a small positive thou... No longer lonely... Just alone..."
The model received possibly the smallest tattoo known to man on her hand—a tiny white dot. The meaning? As tattoo artist JonBoy (who did the ink) told Refinery29, "To her, it's the little things that matter. And the white color was because she didn't want it to show with modeling and all that."
The songstress got one of her newest tattoos in Arabic, which roughly translates to "love yourself first." It's all in keeping with her frequent championing of female empowerment and self-love.
Miley Cyrus got her first tattoo at 17—script of "Just Breathe" below her breast—as a tribute to her friend Vanessa who had died of lung disease and both of her grandfathers, who had died of lung cancer."It reminds me not to take things for granted. I mean breathing—that was something none of them could do, the most basic thing. And I put it near my heart, because that is where they will always be," she told Harper's Bazaar.
Emma Stone shares a special bond with her mom–and Paul McCartney. To celebrate her mother being cancer-free, Emma and her mother marked the occasion with tattoos that pay tribute to their favorite song, Beatles' "Blackbird"...which were designed by Paul McCartney himself. Yes, really. The actress wrote a letter to the singer and "Blackbird" lyricist asking for a drawing of birds' feet to tattoo, and he responded by sending over the drawings. "Custom tattoos by Paul McCartney. Isn't that wild?" she told Us Weekly. "He's a good guy."
The actress got her first tattoo when she was 22—a butterfly on the back of her neck. "It was very last minute, but I've actually wanted it for years," she told Letterman. "A butterfly landed on my mum's stomach a week before I was born and that's how I got my name, because Vanessa means butterfly—it's a Latin derivative."
One of the singer's most striking pieces is this arm tattoo, which features a German quote from Letters to a Young Poet written by Rainer Maria Rilke, along with the date 12/18/1974, which commemorates her aunt who died before she was born, but who she feels a deep connection to.
The tattoo speaks to solitude, which Gaga says as an artist you have to embrace. Translated, it reads: "In the deepest hour of the night; Confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write; And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer; and ask yourself, must I write?"
The model/actress/can-doer loves tattoos—including this one, script of her initials (Cara Jocelyn Delevingne) inked by Bang Bang NYC.
Angelina is, famously, no stranger to tattoos, but her arm tattoo is possibly the cutest. It has all the coordinates of her children's birth places, along with Brad Pitt's. Awww.
The queen of tattoos RiRi had 1988, the year she was born, inked on her right ankle by Bang Bang (AKA Keith McCurdy), because of course. She also has an Egyptian falcon inked on her feet, "Thug Life" tattooed on her knuckles, the goddess Isis on her chest as a tribute to her grandmother, and many, many more.
Cara Delevingne got a creepy (but cool) set of eyes tattooed on the back of her neck by Bang Bang. Delevingne has always been an advocate for trying to see the world from a different perspective, so it makes sense that she'd ink a literal reminder of that philosophy on her body.
Kesha dressed up as a narwhal for Halloween after receiving the costume as a gift while on tour. It made for *such* an epic costume that Kesha decided to "immortalize" the night with a narwhal tattoo just a few days later.