There are entire books written about women and the role they play in tattoo culture. Historically, tattooed women like revel Maud Wagner we simply seen as examples of freakish attraction, and they were used as sideshow acts to bring business into male owned tattoo parlors and carnivals. Tattooed native women were put on display in state fairs, and they were referred to as degenerates because of the way they garnished their skin with sentimental markings. However, as time moved forward, and tattooing become a more desirable craft, due to the potential for profit in it, more and more female tattoo artists came to the surface opened up the industry to be accepting of women who wanted to express themselves through body modification.
However, as the normalization of tattoos increased and pushed the culture forward, women who were now comfortable and empowered in their tattoos, also noticed the extreme stigmas that were being associated with their choices. Over the last 100 years a stigma has developed against women who choose to be tattooed, with a lot of them being referred to or seen in the public eye as “bad girls” who are promiscuous.
Instagram has perpetuated this, as well. After its establishment in 2010, the app quickly became the place for a lot of different human beings to share photos of themselves with those around the world. A niche community of tattoo lovers started to gain attention, and now there are over 73 million posts using the hashtag “tattoo” on the platform. With such a meteoric increase in exposure, social attitudes towards tattoos, and tattooed women especially, became mixed.
This is partly to blame for the way a lot of featured tattoo instagrams showcase the women they repost. Often only ever featuring women in scantily clad clothing, and associating their bodies with hashtags like #sexy and #hotchicks, these communities started to grow into the kind that sexualized women, and the stigma increased. With magazines like Inked Mag, and other popular tattoo publications also trying to take hold of the sex sells mentality, female tattoo models have often been considered to be raunchier and less high fashion than their male counterparts, who are often seen walking runways for Diesel and splashed across the pages of Vogue.
However, especially on Instagram, these women are speaking out against the stigma that surrounds them. Tattoos are seen as a form of artistic expression, and body modifications like tattoos and piercings act as a declaration of autonomy and a means of resistance to traditional forms of femininity. Women are starting to really showcase their need for respect, and with the rise of popularity surrounding a lot of famous Instagram tattoo models, their voices are behind heard.
Here are some of our favorite tattoo models.
Tina Louise is an Australian tattoo model that was discovered by a photographer when she was 21. Since then, she has won the award for Australia’s Hottest Bikini Model, and has appeared on the cover of world renowned magazines like FHM, and Maxim.
Born on the North Shore of Oahu in Hawaii, Jenah later moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her career as a photographer. When she started to post her photos on her Instagram Gypsy One, she garnered a lot of attention for her beautiful tattoos and her unique features. She has since amassed millions of fans, has worked with brands like ADIDAS, and has been featured in well respected urban publications like Complex, PlayBoy and HypeBeast.
Alexandra Stark, better known as Alee Rose, is a model and photographer from San Diego, who is now based in New York. Alee is the full package, working through creative direction, styling, hair and makeup, and creative concepts for the photoshoots she participates in. Alee has been featured in a plethora of highly respected magazines like Off The Rails, Vogue, and Arsenic.
Lauren Houldsworth is a vlogger and model who was scouted at the age of 18 by GIRL Management. After trying her hand at hairdressing, she quickly found her passion as a photographer, model and YouTuber, and has become a social media influencer amassing a following of over 1 million fans due to her striking looks, talent, and beautiful tattoos.
Born and raised in Latvia, Monami Frost is a true renaissance woman. She is a mother to a beautiful daughter, a strong business woman, a committed vegan, and she has made a name for herself because of this. With all of that being said, Monami has some of the most intricate, and striking tattoos in the modeling industry, and her personal Instagram page has over 1.5million fans who adore the way she expresses herself through her art.
Angelica Anderson is a model for Mavrin, and she is best known for the tattoos that adorn her body. However, Angelica is a dedicated fitness trainer, and she has created a YouTube empire due to her self expression and her helpful tips when it comes to healthy living.
British born DJ Mercedes Edison goes by the moniker Unimerce, and is highly respected in the music world. Having produced and DJ’d for OVO’s dvsn, she is one of the first female DJs who truly shook up the industry and made a name for herself. However, when she is not making people dance, she models, and she has amassed a huge following due to her shoots and her tattooed presence on social media.
Sarah X Mills
Sarah Mills went viral a few years ago due to her YouTube video “Sara X Does Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik.” She began publishing photos on Instagram in 2012, and signed on to start a modeling career with Suicide Girls when she turned 18. Sarah has quickly become one of the most followed tattooed models in the industry, gracing the covers of various magazines, and commanding several advertising campaigns.
Alysha Nett is known for her photography just as much as she is known for her tattoos. As a model based out of LA and San Diego, Alysha is revered for her ability to create strong, unique photos that are inherently representative of her own specific style. Alysha has worked with hundreds of influential brands, and industry leaders, and because of this she has established herself on social media as a must follow personality, amassing over 2 million fans worldwide.
Riae is an alternative Italian model and Suicide girl who started her career in 2007 after trying her hand at odd jobs like house cleaning, waitressing, etc. Once she was discovered, Riae quickly shot to the top of the tattooed modeling industry, gracing the covers of several magazines. She is known for her signature split tongue.