By Nic Baird CupidsPulse.com
The rich and famous get tattoos for the same reasons as anyone else, and at least at its core, it's about self-expression and an unchanging reminder in a changing life. A celebrity's brand is their image, and that's often something to consider when deciding between Mike Tyson's tribal face design or Drew Barrymore's navel butterfly. While we common folk might get a little attention for a bold new tat, it doesn't compare to the buzz created by new celebrity ink. Here are some of the reasons celebrities get tattoos. For the most part, they're not that different from anyone else.
1. Self-Expression, Individualism, Look-At-Me: Maybe our expectations of rock stars like Amy Winehouse push artists to mark themselves as such. Music superstars seem like credible artists with some eye-catching body art. Rock Of Love 2 runner-up, Daisy de la Hoya was a human canvas. Her iconic three quarter sleeve led to her own dating spin-off show, and attracted the attention of heavily painted rocker Tommy Lee. The bottom line is that whether it's for the fans or for themselves, real rock stars get ink.
2. I've changed: For example, Miley Cyrus went under the needle again last month to get a Teddy Roosevelt quote on her wrist. She may be trying to remind us that she isn't 14-year-old Hannah Montana anymore, but instead a more serious, or at least more tattooed, adult artist. Actress Angelina Jolie, who seems to be the lead celebrity spokesperson for tattoos, described them to USA Today as "something permanent when you've made a self-discovery, or something you've come to a conclusion about." Just as a serial killer might etch the names of victims into his skin, you can record important life events by marking the occasion on your body. Jolie takes this to a whole new level.
3. Ink Infatuation: Fond memories and self-discovery inspired Jolie to collect at least 14 tattoos over the years. Jolie's body is a map of her life. A Buddhist Pali incantation to protect her adopted Cambodian child sits on her left shoulder blade. All six of her children have a place beside it on her shoulder where geographical coordinates represent their scattered birthplaces. Jolie says she uses body art to remember the good times. And when it comes to relationships, a lot of celebrities are guilty of this celebratory use of ink.
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4. Love: In fact, Jolie's infectious love of tattoos has spread to husband Brad Pitt. He's been marked with Jolie's birthday in Khmer script on his chest. Thankfully, tattoos are not really all that permanent for those who can afford to get them removed. Jolie knows this because she was able to laser off three pieces of Billy Bob Thornton memorabilia, and a Japanese symbol on her arm she had shared with Johnny Lee Miller. She also covered several others, because not everyone is comfortable sporting memories of their ex. Rocker Avril Lavigne shares four matching tats with her former boyfriend, reality TV's Brody Jenner, including his name under her right breast. And she's still hanging on to two with ex-husband Deryck Whibley of Sum 41, despite being engaged to Nickelback's Chad Kroeger.
5. Brand Billboard: While it's clear that celebrities mostly just get tattoos for all the usual, relatable reasons, there are exceptions. Pop icon Lady Gaga is blurring the line between self-expression and self-marketing. Recently, Gaga gave her nearly 29 million Twitter followers and 53 million Facebook fans a look at her tenth tattoo. A picture showed ARTPOP printed along her wrist, which was also revealed as the title of her upcoming album. The confidence is admirable at the very least.
The only problem after getting inked up is regret. People change, but tattoos don't. It seems ironic to commemorate something as fleeting as a celebrity couple with something as lasting as a tattoo. But, artists at any level have always been attracted to body art. For Gaga's sake though, ARTPOP better not bomb.