Cara Delevingne’s got a lion; Kate Moss has swallows; Freja Beha Erichsen has… a lot. We rate them all, with the help of your mother.
We rate the best and worst from a scale of “your mother’s burst into tears and is Googling ‘tattoo removal'” to “your mother’s disowned you and doesn’t ever want to speak to you again how could you DO this to yourself”.
Moss has dabbled with tattoos: she’s got anchor on her wrist, a sun and moon on opposite sides of her foot. But her real crowning glory is the design of two tiny swallows on her lower back – tattooed by Lucian Freud, who learnt the trade while he was in the Navy. Given that his highest valued painting was sold for £17.2 million, that must make Kate’s tattoo worth a few mil – at least.
Distraught mother rating: “You let some 88-year-old man tattoo you? Get me a paper bag… Wait, how many million are we talking about?”
Noted Cara Delevingne cooking buddy has the phrase “you owe it to yourself, set the world on fire” on the inside of her right arm as well as a design of the Egyptian goddess Isis on her upper back. The latter actually bears a close resemblance to a similar tattoo on Rihanna (although Riri’s got it under her boobs – obviously) – so maybe that’s one of the reasons Dunn was picked to front Rihanna’s River Island collab.
Distraught mother rating: “Oh, so your friend Ribena’s got one? NO DON’T CORRECT ME, I KNOW HER NAME. So if she jumps off a bridge are you gonna jump off one too?!”
Surely the most be-tatted of them all. The Danish model has “serendipity is life” on the back of her upper right arm, “this too shall pass” on the inside of the same arm, “float” on the side of her neck, a lightning bolt and a star on her ribcage… She started at sixteen and now she’s up to 16 and counting. In an interview with Style.com, she said, “I’ve never had any issues with it, I think by now it’s become part of my style. If you’re a brand new model, [having lots of tattoos] might be a bit difficult for you to get signed.”
Distraught mother rating: “You did it when you were 16? How long have you been hiding this from me and Dad? I’m dying here. DYING.”
The party-hardy model and sometime Alexander Wang muse has always had tatts on her upper arm, but showed off a beefed-up version of them for her Zadig and Voltaire campaign. There’s no grand design behind her tattoos, either. As she told Into The Gloss: “I’m the girl who just thinks up something as I’m walk into a tattoo parlor and I’m getting it an hour later. I believe in ornamentation of the body… I believe if you feel it, you should just do it.”
Distraught mother rating: “What do you mean, no idea? Are you gonna walk into some shop on the street and tattoo a tiger on your face next? You’re grounded, lady.”
Unlike many on our list, the 22-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia has only got one tattoo. But it’s worth pointing it, given that some have called it “the worst tattoo ever“. We wouldn’t go so far as that, but it’s a pretty… er, literal representation of being a model. It’s just that tattooing your own name on yourself that seems a bit, well, weird.
Distraught mother rating: “Honey, I love you, but why tattoo your own name on yourself? You gonna forget it or something?”
Next to Freja and Erin, Abbey’s probably got the most tattoos out of any on the list. She’s got an owl on her middle finger, a peace sign in her palm, stars behind her ears and the word “index” on her, er, index finger. She’s also got “truth” tattooed on the inside of her bottom lip, which apparently looks more painful than it actually is. Not to forget she’s also big fan of temporary branding, too, what with her writing “GUN CONTROL” on her belly for the Met Gala.
Distraught mother rating: “I’m never going to be able show my face at bridge club again. You get invited to a party and you make a political statement about America? Honey, you’re Australian.”
Words: Zing Tsjeng (Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing)