Rihanna currently has 21 tattoos. Her most recent is a tribal design covering her whole right hand. Rihanna has admitted that tattoos for her are like an addiction. “I like hanging out in tattoo shops” Rihanna has said. “I am so intrigued by tattoos. It’s an entire culture, and I study it. Sometimes I go with friends, or just by myself. I get bum-rushed, but I don’t care. I don’t take security.” Rihanna is believed to of had her first tattoo done in 2006, two music notes on her foot. The most known tattoo artist that has created her tattoos is Bang Bang. Bang Bang has apparently done around 13 of her various tattoos. He told a magazine “She [Rihanna] always flips out [when it's done] and jumps up and down like a 16-year-old girl getting her first car.”
Feet and legs
Rihanna’s first tattoo is two music notes on her left foot. The notes are a treble clef and sixteenth note. It is believed she got this tattoo done some time in 2006, and was inspired by her music career, when she was just starting out in the music industry.
In June 2012, Rihanna covered up her music notes tattoo and replaced it with a large Egyptian falcon. She shared a picture of the ink on twitter with the caption “Falcon: a light that shines in the darkness! Never close their eyes during sleep.” Bang Bang – who inked this tattoo – told US Weekly
“It’s the first tattoo she wanted as a teen….She wanted it across her back back then.”
It appears as if the bird has been tattooed in a way to look like a handgun, although Rihanna could have gotten the inspiration for the tattoo from a 2,300-year-old faience falcon. The falcon is on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where the tattoo artist does most of his work.
Rihanna told Oprah the meaning of her tattoo:
“Back in the day, they would carve into the walls and they would carve a falcon, because they didn’t have another way of saying a king in the sky,”
Rihanna added a tattoo of a skull during her stay in Miami in 2008. It’s her only tattoo with coloured ink and also her seventh tattoo. A skull and crossbones usually means danger, but it is neutralized by the pink hair bow the skull is wearing.
Hands and Fingers
Rihanna’s hand tattoo is a henna-style tribal dragon claw, which she got on her right hand while in New Zealand on her November 2008 tour. It matches her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown’s tattoo on the same hand. The design is of a geometric dragon claw with small hibiscus that go up to her wrist. Her tattoo was done in the traditional style of the Maori people in New Zealand. This method of tattooing makes the skin appear raised and rough, rather than smooth. She said to reporters:
“It’s tribal. It represents strength and love….It’s their traditional way of tattooing. I always wanted [one]. It hurt like hell!
Rihanna expanded her hand tattoo in two sessions in October 2013. First she added these chevrons and lines all over her fingers, hand, and wrist. These lines are still visible through the finished tattoo.
Rihanna added the final piece to her hand tattoo in October 2013, incorporating both the Maori tribal design near her thumb and the chevron lines. It is an abstract design inspired by Indian henna art. Artists Bang Bang and Cally-Jo worked together on both the design and the implementation of this tattoo. The duo got out their needles and worked on different sections at the same time. “@callyjoart and I spent hours and hours drawing on different designs, we finally found one that worked! So proud we made it pretty,” Bang Bang wrote.
Not a lot is known about this tattoo, or when she got it. The tattoo is of “Love” written in a simple cursive font on her right middle finger. The tattoo is placed so it doesn’t get shown unless she sticks up her middle finger or holds a microphone. She got it in Los Angeles from one of the artists she used before.
In June 2008, Rihanna got another finger tattoo. This one is the most copied of her tattoos. It was copied by Lindsay Lohan and Lily Allen, who were unaware at the time that she had it, Cher Lloyd, and many of Rihanna’s fans has also decided to get one exactly like Rihanna’s. The premise is that the tattoo will be revealed when you hold your finger to your lips to shush someone.
It is unknown when she actually got this tattoo. The tattoo is on the left side of her ribcage and says “Al Hurria fi Al Maseeh”, which translates to “Freedom in God”.
In March 2009, Rihanna got a gun tattooed below her right armpit. She wanted to give a tattoo as a birthday gift to her friend, but at the same time decided to get one for herself.
In September 2012, Rihanna got a new, very large tattoo as a tribute to her late grandmother. Alongside the picture of her new ink, she tweeted:
“Goddess Isis – Complete Woman – Model for future generations – #GRANGRANDOLLY – always in and on my heart.”
The tattoo is of the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was depicted as the ideal mother and wife.
In January 2012, Rihanna showed off her new tattoo in a photoshoot with Terry Richardson – a bust of the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. The meaning to Rihanna is unknown, but the tattoo is private and hardly ever seen due to it’s placement. Queen Nefertiti was an icon of beauty and had many titles including Hereditary Princess; Great of Praises; Lady of Grace and Sweet of Love.
Neck and Ears
One of Rihanna’s first tattoos is a Pisces sign behind her right ear. It was done along with the music notes on her foot in 2006. The tattoo was done by a famous Brazilian artist who makes his clients book three years in advance, but luckily, Rihanna was in Tokyo at the same time as him and got it done.
In August 2006, Rihanna got a tattoo of a star outline inside of her left ear. According to reports Rihanna said:
“My best friend from Barbados was here so we had to do something crazy. She got one too.”
One of Rihanna’s most visible and famous tattoos was inked in 2008. It was started by a tattoo artist in L.A, then finished in New York by her favourite tattoo artist – Bang Bang. The stars match former boyfriend Chris Brown’s trio of stars behind his ear.
In August 2010, Rihanna got a tattoo of the text “rebelle fleur” written in script on the left side of her neck. The tattoo translates to “rebel flower”. Many people claimed since the adjective usually comes before the noun in French, the phrase should say “Fleur Rebelle”, But in a text message to the artist – Bang Bang she said:
“Rebelle Fleur translates to rebel flower, NOT rebelious flower, its 2 nouns so in that case fleur does not HAVE to be first! Fyi, cuz they will ask”.
In June 2008, Rihanna got the date “4.11.1986″ in Roman numerals inked on her left shoulder. It’s her best friend Melissa’s birth date, and Melissa got the same tattoo with Rihanna’s birth date as well. It is placed on her shoulder, so it’s very noticeable.
In December 2009, Rihanna got her personal motto “Never a failure, always a lesson” tattooed just below her right shoulder, backwards, so she can read it in the mirror. The artist said:
“I asked her why she wanted that and she said, ‘It’s kind of my motto in life for everything.’ Instead of considering things to be mistakes, considering them lessons…. She said that she wanted to do it in gray, rather than black, because she wanted it to be more subtle…. She didn’t want it to draw too much attention.”
In March 2012, Rihanna got a small and simple cross tattooed on her left collarbone. In n interview with US Weekly, artist Bang Bang said:
“We cut the color with water, so it’ll end up being light — like the “rebelle” tattoo on her neck,” Bang Bang, 26, describes to Us Weekly about Rihanna’s cross ink. He adds that she decided to place her tattoo on her collarbone because it’s easy for her to hide with a necklace but also can be in plain sight. “She loved it,” Bang Bang, who has done around 12 of her various tattoos tells Us.
In 2007, Rihanna got a Sanskrit prayer inked going down her hip. The tattoo was supposed to translate to “forgiveness, honesty, suppression and control”, a quote from the Sanatana Dharma. Unfortunately, the tattoo was misspelled and translated to “long suffering, truthfulness, self-restraint, inward calm, fear and fearlessness” instead. In addition to the incorrect translation, the her tattoo is also missing the rest of the original prayer, which reads “pleasure, pain, birth, death.”
Rihanna got a tattoo saying “lover” in Tibetan on her left hip, just above her butt in March 2012.