Tat or Not to Tat–That Is The Question

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Mark Wahlberg

What do Angelina Jolie, Megan Fox, The Rock, Jessica Alba, Lindsay Lohan, and Johnny Depp have in common? They’re all major stars? Yes. They’re all gorgeous? Absolutely. And they all sport major ink—no doubt! Jolie has a dozen tattoos (that we know of), The Rock’s left shoulder is, for all intents and purposes, sleeved, Megan Fox has a very noticeable portrait of Marilyn Monroe on her right inner forearm, (which come to think of it, looks a lot like Megan herself), and the swashbuckling Johnny Depp has “Wino Forever” tacked on his upper right arm. The stereotypical stigma of tattoos being juvenile, unprofessional, or god-awful hasn’t seemed to affect these A-listers, but what does it mean to you, an aspiring actor who’s considering getting ink?

Approximately 25% of Americans between the ages of 16 and 50 have tattoos, and about half of them will try to have their body art removed later in life. And although laser tattoo removal science has advanced by leaps and bounds in recent years, the risk of scarring and abrasions is still a concern. The G-Unit rapper 50 Cent recently had many of his tattoos removed because he is concentrating on his acting career, “I’ve been on a few acting projects and my call time is four hours before the regular acting talent because of the tattoos,” he said. And some who’ve seen “Fiddy” up close say his skin is now badly damaged.

If you’re an actor contemplating getting a tattoo, you may want to consider:

  • While tattoos may open you up to prisoner, gang member, car thief, and drug dealer roles, they can likewise limit your options as casting directors may have a hard time perceiving you for other roles.
  • A recent study found that tattoo removal is less likely to succeed if the design contains blue or yellow ink, or is larger than 12 inches. Strangely enough, smoking can reduce the chance of successfully removing a tattoo after ten treatment sessions by 70%.
  • Similarly, if you google “tattoo regrets” you’ll get 11.5 million hits. Besides 50 Cents, Mark Wahlberg, and Megan Fox have opted to get their tattoos removed. That being said, that still leaves a lot of happy inked customers out there.

Still, at the risk of sounding like a mother hen, if you’re considering a tattoo, be sure to consider it thoroughly.

Megan Fox's disappearing tattoo