[IMG:L]In 2001, The Vanishing Tattoo started tracking the online popularity of tattooed celebrities using search engine results and Web site proliferation–while compiling the Internet’s largest photo archive of tattooed celebrities and historical figures. Based on over 10 million ‘celebrity tattoo’ searches, Web sites devoted to celebrities and their tattoos, Blogs, and news stories during the 2006 calendar year, VT has come up with this year’s list of the Top 25 celebrities with tattoos.
Five years ago, celebrity women–mostly singers, models and actors–were far and away the most popular tattooed celebrities. In the intervening years, male wrestlers, athletes, and hip-hop artists have made their presence felt in mainstream popular tattoo culture. Last year saw an enormous turnover in the list, as over half of 2006’s list of top tattooed celebrities have fallen out of favor. At the very least, in the public’s mind they are yesterday’s news. The median age for tattooed celebrities also dropped from 26 to 25.5.
This year’s list has its share of well-known celebrity favorites, as well as a whole new crop of celebrity newcomers–the celebrity flavor du jour. How long their fame will last is anyone’s guess. This year saw a reversal of gender popularity, the women increasing their dominance from 11 of the top 25 to 15. The men tumbled from 14 to 10.
[IMG:R]1. Angelina Jolie – The undisputed reigning Queen of celebrity body art, Jolie toppled Pamela Anderson off the top of the list of tattooed celebrities back in 2001 and hasn’t looked back since. Jolie routinely gets up to three times as many search inquiries as the next highest-rated tattooed celebrity. Her high-profile relationship with Brad Pitt, who got inked within a short time of hooking up with Jolie, and her growing family of international adoptee’s has kept Jolie firmly planted in the public eye.
The 31-year-old Oscar winner is an unabashed tattoo enthusiast, collector and aficionado. She is blessed with stunning good looks, has at least a dozen tattoos, and shows no signs of slowing down her collecting of body art.
[IMG:L]Her tattoos are a reflection of her personality, exotic and with more than just a hint of dangerous sensuality. This is a women with an edge and a true lover of body art. A woman who professes she likes to play with knives in bed and who doesn’t hesitate to have the name of the man she loves tattooed on her. And when he exits stage left, she doesn’t hesitate to laser it off and replace it a new tattoo.
Jolie made the tribal dragon one of the most popular tattoos for women, and sparked an intense interest in the traditional tattooing of Southeast Asia. She has large numbers of Web sites devoted to her worship and her popularity shows no signs of waning as she puts her own personal spin on the emerging genre of female action-stars. Jolie’s tattoo commitment apparently extends to her retaining her own make-up artist whose sole job it is to cover-up her extensive body art, a process rumored to take over an hour.
[IMG:R]2. Nicole Richie – This is Richie’s second year as the runner-up in our celebrity tattoo sweepstakes. A search for Richie’s tattoos turns up hundreds of entries on Google. The 26-year-old Richie is far more adventuresome in the body art department than her former The Simple Life cohort Paris Hilton and hasn’t been shy about hiding her nipple-piercing either.
Richie can take solace in the fact that when it comes to tattoos, she is far more popular online than a certain young Hotel heiress we know. The actor and The Simple Life star has at least nine tattoos, including a pair ballerina slippers–her father Lionel Richie wrote her a song, “Ballerina Girl”–and wings on her back, to go along with the aforementioned nipple piercing.
3. Britney Spears – This 26-year-old singer, mom and sometime actress has tattoos of a fairy on her lower back, a small daisy circling her second toe on right foot, a butterfly leaving a vine on left foot, and a flower with Chinese symbol for mystery in middle on lower stomach. She also has three Hebrew characters on back of her neck – her Kabala connection – a pair of pink dice inside left wrist, and during her recent public melt-down she added lips and a cross.
Spears also has a pierced belly button and a pierced right nipple. Like her fashion sense and matrimonial record, you sometimes wonder what compels Spears to do what she does when it comes to tattoos. By getting an odd assortment of small tattoos all over her body, she runs the risk of looking like someone has gone crazy with a rubber-stamp. Her tattoos, the butterfly, fairy, Chinese symbol and others, do not show a terrible amount of imagination or originality. They are the same tattoos picked off the wall by a million other teenage girls in a thousand tattoo parlors in every mall and trailer park in Middle America. Now ex-husband Kevin “K-Fed” Federline is tattooed as well.
4. Jessica Alba – Jessica Marie Alba, 26, has a growing collection of tattoos to go with her growing popularity. The actress has a flower and a ladybug on the back of her neck, a Sanskrit character for lotus flower on her wrist, and a bow tattoo on the small of her back. Alba does nearly as many magazine lay-outs as movies and she is a perennial favorite on lists of sexiest women in the world. Hugh Hefner, no stranger to arbitrating standards of feminine beauty, chose her as the Sexiest Woman Celebrity in the World last year. Despite the flattery, Alba didn’t hesitate to threaten legal action when she ended up on the front cover of the world’s most famous men’s magazine, Playboy. Alba and Hefner did kiss and make up eventually.
5. David Beckham – David Robert Joseph Beckham, the 31-year-old soccer star, is widely regarded as the most recognized footballer–if not athlete–in the world. “Becks” is as famed for his lifestyle, famous-in-her own-right celebrity wife, Victoria (who is also on this list), trappings of wealth, media attention and marketing potential as he is for the quality of his crossings and ability to hit free kicks and corners from long range. Beckham has the words “BROOKLYN” (son’s name) across lower back, “ROMEO” (other son) above a well-known crucifixion scene on upper back, wife Victoria’s name in Hindi, the Roman numeral VII (7 was his Man United jersey number) on the underside of right arm and other tattoos. Beckham wrote extensively of his tattoos and what they meant to him and their symbolic value in his autobiography, “My Side”.
6. Ville Valo – Faulting on to the list out of relative obscurity, this 31-year-old popular musician is the front man for Finnish rock group HIM. Valo has a full left tribal sleeve, had stylized ‘S’ on left nipple (now covered with another heart-a-gram), which stands for Suzanna, heart-a-grams on back of neck and belly, a heart under his right wrist, HIM’s cosmic pope on one leg, an Egyptian flame on the leg, aka HIM’s DSBH symbol, J on index finger for his fiancé Jonna, portrait Of Timo Mukka on right forearm, the Eyes Of Edgar Allan Poe on his back, and others. Rock stars… where would the world of body art be without them!
7. Alyssa Milano – Down a spot from last year, is Alyssa Milano. Milano, 35, 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, and that have been fully revealed in photos taken of her by paparazzi at various topless beaches and resorts around the world.
8. Lindsay Lohan – Lindsay Dee Lohan It is surprising to think that this is Lohan’s first time on this list. The 21-year-old actress has a public profile for partying and paparazzi shots that at times threatens to overshadow her film career. Lohan has been a vocal body art enthusiast and has even discussed opening a chain of tattoo shops. She has the words “La Bella Vita” tattooed on the top of her right buttock cheek, a small star tattoo on the inside of her left wrist, the word “BREATHE” in white ink on the other wrist.
9. Bam Margera – Moving up ten spots in 2006, twenty-seven year old Brandon Cole “Bam” Margera, is an actor and pro skateboarder who has a heart-a-gram symbol tattooed on his lower stomach, a large tattoo design on his right side, large portrait on his right shoulder (done by Kat Von D), a large razorblade under his left arm and several others. A fixture with the MTV and Jackass Generations.
10. 50 Cent – Curtis Jackson – “Fiddy-Cent”, the thirty-one year old Rapper, Record Producer and aspiring actor, is one of the most popular tattooed men on the planet these days. He is in fact a cultural phenomenon. Every mention of his name in the news spikes searches and interest in his tattoos.
Fifty has extensive body art, including complete coverage of his back, a piece that has to be one of the world’s most well-known tattoos. The South Side Fifty back-piece on 50 Cent has become a signature, nearly as recognizable as his face and his music. He is also America’s most controversial music star because of his glorification of the gangster thug life, in which his extensive tattoo must be said to play a major role. Many African-Americans are limited by their skin tone to getting body art done primarily using black ink, but that has in no way limited the quality of 50’s tattoos.
11. Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson – The 35-year-old ation star has a Brahma bull tattoo (he is a Taurus) tattooed on his right biceps and a large Polynesian-style tattoo piece on upper left arm and shoulder. Johnson, who is part Samoan, has claimed that the Polynesian tattoo is a traditional Samoan piece, but it more closely resembles Marquessan tattooing than the traditional Samoan Pe’a. The Rock chose the tattoo specifically to pay homage to his ethnic heritage. Johnson first gained popularity as a standout in the world of wrestling. In the WWE, (World Wrestling Entertainment) before becoming The Rock, Johnson was known as Rocky Maivia, in homage to his father, Rocky Johnson, and his maternal grandfather, High Chief Peter Maivia.
12. Carey Hart – Carey Jason-Phillip Hart, 32, is famous for his motor-cycle exploits on dirt, the reality television series The Surreal Life, being part of the Huntington-Hart tattoo shop featured on A & E’s Inked: and of course with his high-profile marriage to Pink. After the Beckham’s, they are the second well-known celebrity couple on this list, perhaps replacing Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee… The motocross rider’s upper body is heavily inked–including girlfriend’s name PINK on his stomach.
13. Robbie Williams – The popular thirty-three year old British pop star has a spectacular Maori design on his left arm, a Celtic cross on his right hip, a lion with “BORN TO BE MILD” inscribed underneath it and “ELVIS, GRANT ME SERENITY” above it on his right arm. The handsome crooner also has musical notes and Beatles lyrics tattooed on the small of his back, A Saint holding a cross with the name “JACK FARREL” (his grandfather) underneath it on the inside of his right arm, the word “MOTHER” on the outside of the same arm, and the French words “Chacun A Son Gout” (everybody has there own unique style and Robbie is apparently no exception) on top of his chest, and several others. What sets Williams apart among celebrity tattoo enthusiasts is the large number of memorial tattoos dedicated to members of his family, a sentimental side to his flamboyant public persona.
14. Travis Barker – The 32-year-old musician is best known as the former drummer of band Blink 182. Barker has a large checkered-flag design on both sides of his neck, a large banner inscribed with “Can I Say” across his collar bones, the outlines of nude women on opposite sides of his upper chest, a large “Boom Box” radio on his stomach, a large design on his mid-lower back, both arms sleeved – meaning that they are covered in tattoo designs for their entire length– (one arm contains a Virgin Mary dedicated to his mother), his left leg has a logo from a Descendents album, many other tattoos.
15. Kelis – The Grammy-nominated 28-year-old Kelis Roger-Jones has four tattoos. The singer has a saying on her right wrist, a butterfly on her stomach, a Kanji symbol on her right calf, and a large Japanese inspired design that runs from her buttocks, up her back all the way to the shoulder. Kelis is married to rapper Nas, who is also tattooed.
16. Victoria Beckham – The 33-year-old former Spice Girl (Posh Spice) has five stars on her lower back -one for each family member, and her famous husband’s initials DB–yes, that David Beckham–on the underside of left wrist. She joins her husband on the list for the second year running.
17. Christina Ricci – This 27-year-old actress has been collecting body art for more than a decade. Ricci has a lion tattooed on her left shoulder (Aslan, the lion God of Narnia), a bat tattoo on her bikini line–now covered by praying hands, a bouquet of sweet peas tattooed on her lower back, and a number of other tattoos.
18. Coral Jean Smith – This 28-year-old actress is famous, and we use that word advisedly, for her stints on MTV’s reality television shows. She has large spider tattoo on top of her right foot and that has spawned innumerable searches online.
19. Anna Benson – This 31-year-old American model has a tribal armband on her left upper arm with her husband’s nickname BENNY just above. Benny of course is Baltimore Oriole’s pitcher, Kris Benson. Benson is known for her looks and controversial, outspoken personality. One imagines that her body art only adds to her image.
20. Scottie Chapman – The star of TV’s Mythbusters has many tattoos and she is a favorite with viewers and geeks everywhere. How can you not love a hot tattooed chick with brains even bigger than her impressive biceps. The 28-year-year old “Mistress of Metal” is a whiz with a blow-torch.
21. Pink – The 28-year-old pop star has a shooting star and angel on the back of her left shoulder, “what goes around comes around” tattooed on her right wrist, “tru luv” a little higher up her, tattooed on her upper left thigh is “Mr. Pink”, an oriental style dragon. Pink also has a cartoon cat on her lower stomach, and the barcode from the album Missundaztood just below her hairline on back of her neck. Rounding out her rather eclectic collection of tattoos are a frog on her left foot, the Japanese kanji symbol for luck/happiness on her right ankle, an infinity sign on her hip, a red star on her hand, and her Father’s and brother’s army dog tags on her left foot, in addition to several others… Take a deep breath! Pink married moto-cross racer Carey Hart in 2005. Hart, who is heavily tattooed and who owns the Huntington-Hart Tattoo shop in the Palms Casino in Las Vegas featured in the reality television show, Inked.
22. Janine Lindemulder – This 39-year-old Penthouse Pet of the Year, exotic dancer and adult film star has flowers tattooed on the back of her neck, others on her back, a full sleeve on her right arm, and others. Lindemulder has had high-profile relationships with tattooed bad-boys Vince Neil–who owns a tattoo shop in Las Vegas–and Monster garage’s Jesse James, whom she married. Lindemulder has very high-quality body art and also has both nipples and her genitals pierced.
23. Steve O – Steven Gilchrist Glover is a 34-year-old daredevil and performer on the infamous Jackass television series and feature films. Yes, they made not one, but TWO Jackass films. Steve O, as a Jackass crew member, has many “dumb” tattoos, many of which are prominently featured “plot-points”. What originally earned Steve-O widespread recognition as the go-to talent for pain among the Jackass cast members was piercing both buttocks closed at a tattoo parlor. His ultimate tattoo dare-devil stunt was being tattooed in the back seat of a Hummer while it was driven off-road by Henry Rollins.
24. Maja Ivarsson – The 27-year-old singer for the Swedish new wave band, “The Sounds” has a tribal sun on the inside of her left arm, a pin-up girl on the underside of her right fore-arm and apparently other tattoos. The Sounds and Ivarsson gained wide-spread recognition when she was featured in Cobra Starship’s single and music video “Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)”, for the 2006 film Snakes on a Plane. The widely-advertised film gave an enormous amount of publicity to Maja and her band, especially in America.
25. Drew Barrymore– Tumbling down the list from the top ten last year to No. 25, 32-year-old Drew Blythe Barrymore has sported body art for more than a decade. Like Alyssa Milano, we all remember Barrymore growing up in front of the camera, starting of course with E.T.. Better yet, Barrymore is so comfortable with her skin and it’s many decorations that she posed for a famous Playboy pictorial in the January 1995 issue. As a result she has some of the best photographed tattoos of any celebrity in the public eye. Barrymore has at least five tattoos that we’ve seen so far.
The next Top 10 celebrities with tattoos who just missed the Top 25: Mike Ness, Evan Seinfeld, Pamela Anderson, Tommy Lee, Johnny Depp, Anthony Kiedis, Lil Wayne, Bow Wow, Brad Pitt and Christina Aguilera.
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