“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.”
1. Music notes on her right foot
This appears to be Rihanna’s first tattoo. She got it around somewhere in 2006. It was obviously inspired by her fresh music career. Rihanna has once said that music is in her D.N.A. Now everyone can easily notice that music tunes are on her foot as well. UPDATE: This tattoo has been replaced with a falcon. Check tattoo number 17.
2. Pisces sign behind her right ear
It was done by a famous Brazilian artist who books three years in advance. Luckily for Rihanna, he was in Tokyo at the same time when she was so he could create it for her immediately.
3. Sanskrit prayer going down her hip (2007)
Rihanna wanted to have a sankrit prayer going down her right hip that was saying “Forgiveness, Honesty, Suppression and Control”. Unfortunately, it was misspelled.
4. A star in her left ear
The star was created in the Village in NYC. She simply stopped by and asked for a tattoo.
5. An Arabic phrase on her ribcage area
An Arabic phrase on her ribcage area reading ‘Al Hurria fi Al Maseeh’ translating into Freedom in God.
6. A trail of stars going down her back
The stars on the back of her neck were started in Los Angeles. Later, tattoo artist Bang Bang from New York City has finished them. He has added a group of stars flowing down her back to join the first set of stars on her neck.
7. A skull with a pink hair bow
The tattoo appears on her left ankle and was done during her stay in Miami.
8. LOVE on her left middle finger
She got it in Los Angeles from one of the artists she used before.
9. The “Shhh…” phrase on her right index finger (June 2008)
This is one of her most inspiring tattoos. It was already copied by Lindsay Lohan and Lily Allen. Many fans has also decided to get one exactly like Rihanna’s.
10. The date ‘4.11.1986’ on top of her left shoulder
Rihanna has decided to tattoo birthday date of her best friend Melissa on her left shoulder. Melissa did a very same tattoo just after her.
11. Tribal sign (November 2008, October 2013)
Rihanna revealed that she got the exotic-looking tat while in New Zealand durning her tour.
“It’s their traditional way of tattooing,” she said of the Maori-inspired geometric design. “I always wanted [one].” “It represents strength and love.” But even for a tattoo enthusiast like Rihanna, this particular method had one big drawback: “It hurt like hell!”
UPDATE: Rihanna started to “update” this tattoo in October 2013 in New Zealand as well. Later that month, Ri met with tattoo artist in Bang Bang to finish it. He said:
“We drew on her hand from 7 p.m. to midnight. We were drawing and changing things. I’d take a break and Cally-Jo would draw, then I’d draw…The inspiration was henna art, we wanted something really decorative, feminine and sexy. We thought that was the closest in style where we could shift and make it look decorative.” He continued, “She had something pre-existing on her hand. So it was a little bit of a cover up, but also making it look good, wanted to make sure it flowed. We needed to work with what she already had,” and added, that it was “difficult, because the stuff she already had was a pattern on skin. We were trying to fit the body with what she already had. Mend the two styles with a new style. Her hand is not something you can put away. We went over and over. It was a struggle to design. She even took a nap when we were drawing. We started over, until we found the direction she liked.”
“Ri flipped out! Absolutely loved it, loved it! It’s a hard thing when you get a tattoo and not absolutely love it. It’s uncomfortable to have something on your hand, especially when it’s in such a visible spot, and she’s such a visible person. Your hand is as closely related as your face. If you think about it, her hand is right there and the whole world is watching it.”
12. A handgun (March 2009)
Durning her LA getaway Rihanna has flew her tattoo artist Bang Bang from NYC to her home in the Hills. She has decided to give a tattoo as a birthday gift to her friend. And at the same time she has decided to get one for herself.
13. “Never a failure, always a lesson” motto in mirror writing (December 2009)
Rihanna hit up East Side Ink at 2 AM that morning to have her own personal motto “Never a failure, always a lesson” tattooed backwards near her right shoulder. That way she can read it in the mirror. Clever.
“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,” explained Bang Bang. “She didn’t want it to draw too much attention.”
14. “Rebelle Fleur” (August 2010)
After photos appeared of Rihanna’s “Rebelle Fleur” tattoo, Internet pedants claimed that it was “gibberish” because she got the French phrasing wrong. Au contraire, says Rihanna. While Gawker.com argued that, since the adjective usually comes before the noun in French, the phrase that was inked on RiRi’s neck last week should say “Fleur Rebelle.” But in a text message that she sent to her tattoo artist Keith “Bang Bang” McCurdy Rihanna says that the tat is right on the money. She even predicted that the press would try to call her out on it! She wrote:
“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”.
15. “Cross” (March 2012)
“We cut the color with water, so it’ll end up being light — like the “rebelle” tattoo on her neck,” Bang Bang described. He added 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 told Us. “She always flips out [when it’s done] and jumps up and down like a 16-year-old girl getting her first car.”
16. “Lover” above her butt (March 2012)
Rihanna added a “lover” tattoo written in Tibetan above her butt in March 2012.
17. Falcon above her right foot (June 2012)
Rihanna replaced her music notes tattoo with an Egyptian falcon shaped in a gun just above her right foot. She tweeted:
Falcon: a light that shines in the darkness! Never close their eyes during sleep.
18. Goddess Isis on her chest (September 2012)
Rihanna paid tribute to her late grandmother with a tattoo of Egypitian goddess Isis. Alongside the picture, Rihanna tweeted:
“Goddess Isis – Complete Woman – Model for future generations – #GRANGRANDOLLY – always in and on my heart.”
Isis is said to be ‘the ideal mother and wife’ as well as friend to slaves, sinners and the downtrodden.
19. Ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti (January 2013)
Nefertiti (ca. 1370 BC – ca. 1330 BC) was the Great Royal Wife (chief consort) of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti had many titles including Hereditary Princess; Great of Praises; Lady of Grace; Sweet of Love.
20. 1988 (August 2015)
1988 is the year of Rihanna’s birth. The tattoo was done in August 2015 by Bang Bang.
21. Shark (August 2016)
Together with Drake in August 2016, in Miami, Rihanna added a shark on her ankle, inked by her favorite artist, Bang Bang. He said:
“The significance is personal. That’s really all I can say. I’ve seen many people guessing the meaning online, but it’s not my place to share publicly. I will say, I’ve made many tattoos for Rihanna and this one was my favorite!"