Should Actors Get Tattoos?

Should Actors Get Tattoos?

Should Actors Get Tattoos - Where to Get a Tattoo as an Actor

With studios in Hollywood North, which includes both Vancouver and Toronto, we have a fair share of up-and-coming male and female actors as clients. As artists themselves they appreciate and want tattoos but many express concern over whether or not body ink will get in the way of getting a part. It’s one thing when you’re an established thespian and can call the shots as producers don’t mind dedicating time and resources to using makeup or CGI to cover up the tattoo. But when you’re cutting your teeth in the cutthroat industry they may not be as forgiving and hand a part to someone requiring less maintenance in the makeup chair. Still, you should not stress about expressing yourself with a tattoo, you just need to be a bit more mindful than the rest. Below is what you need to consider.

Where to Get a Tattoo as an Actor and What Else You Need to Consider

Spots to Avoid

Depending upon your genre, most roles won’t require that you expose too much skin. That said, there are some highly visible areas that newcomers may want to avoid tattooing so that they can make it through the initial audition without experiencing “discrimination” because of a tattoo. These include the following zones:

  • Forearms and hands
  • Lower legs including shins and calves (feet are OK)
  • Neck and face

Size Matters

While you may not get put up for many parts demanding that you go without pants, a shirt, or require tasteful nudity, the possibility is ever-present. Casting directors who require you to expose more skin may be more forgiving of an unexpected tattoo as long as it’s small enough to cover up with body makeup. Anything the size of a fist shouldn’t be an issue. However, if you want a large tattoo you may want to take a page out of Dwayne Johnson’s book and wait until you’re a full-fledged star before getting something that covers a quarter of your torso.

Avoid “Offensive” Designs

These days it can be hard finding any form of artistic expression that doesn’t offend someone. The more “woke” society gets the more people seem to fly off the handle. Still, by exercising some common sense you can avoid a tattoo design that pushes too many buttons, those that may scare away filmmakers and their intended audiences. As an actor consider skipping designs with overtly religious, cultural, political, or other affiliative undertones that may create negative feelings for large groups. Heck, even a sports team logo tattooed can be problematic. Imagine having a New York Giants tattoo on your exposed shoulder when your character is supposed to be a born and raised native of Boston? Also, if you have Hollywood aspirations you will want to avoid getting famous movie characters tattooed because that may break the fourth wall with audiences.

Quality Matters

A some scenarios, a casting agent won’t care if you have a tattoo. In fact, it may even add something to the character. But when the tattoo is of low quality it’s a problem and when visible will take away from a given scene. If you’re going to move forward with a highly visible tattoo make sure it’s of premium quality. Take your time to choose the right studio and be selective when picking a tattooist to paint your canvas.

Is an Existing Tattoo Proving to be a Problem?

You may be asking the question posed at the introduction of this article because you have experienced rejection from casting agents, directors, and/or producers because of your tattoo. Even professional Extras may have experienced pushback because after all they typically have to blend into a scene unnoticed – a visible tattoo may make that difficult. If industry feedback has led you to this point, it may be time to consider tattoo removal. Or, if it’s the quality of your existing tattoo that’s the problem you may instead consider tattoo fading for cover up. Either way, Adrenaline Studios offers the most effective form of laser tattoo removal in the country. Learn more here.


Adrenaline Studios in Hollywood North (Vancouver and Toronto) has had the privilege of tattooing many actors and thus our tattooists are highly sensitive to your unique needs and concerns. Schedule a consultation with a studio near you and gain peace of mind that you’ve come to the right place. We look forward to seeing you (and our work) up there on the big screen!