Think Before You Ink

Chris Peterson

There are many reasons why one would want to get a tattoo. Maybe you want to declare your love for someone, maybe you want to pay tribute to someone who died or maybe you just really love Star Wars

But for an actor, is getting a tattoo a smart idea? 

The unfortunate truth is, probably not. 

In my experience in casting both professionally and academically, the site of a tattoo, was something that was always taken into consideration when deciding if the actor was cast or not. 

My opinion has always been, why would you ever want to consciously make a decision to put something on your body that could negatively effect your career potential? 

Now some might say, "put it somewhere you would never show". While this is fine advice, I would argue that there is no telling where you might go in your career and the heights you could climb. You may not want to show that area of skin now, but when the film industry and real money start calling, you might change your mind. 

And when it comes to TV and film work, that opens up an entirely different can of worms. Megan DIane, from, had this to say, 

"It is extremely difficult to apply make-up that obscures an actor’s tattoos with today’s age of HD, IMAX and the future of 4K televisions. You can try to use a bucket of Dermablend, but tattoos still shine through. I was once in a popular TV series, and only people without tattoos were asked to audition. When people started getting fitted for their costumes, it was discovered that one girl had a tattoo she had been hiding. She was fired and replaced the next day with ease."

When you have a tattoo and are auditioning for a show, you force the director and creative team to try to figure out how they're going to cover it up, rather than focusing on your talent. 

My best advice? Use common sense and if you're going to put a tattoo anywhere on your body, understand the consequences of doing so. 

The biggest stars right now could easily get away with a tattoo if they wanted to. But they become stars because they avoided making decisions that could've jeopardized their shot. 

Putting permanent ink anywhere on your body could do just that. And if you already have one, be honest and upfront with the director or casting department. Who knows? If you're talent enough or if they want you that badly, they might go the extra lengths to cover it up or possibly work around/with it. 

But in addition to that, choose wisely when choosing the shows you audition for. If you know it's a role that would require you to be in a bathing suit or little clothing, such as Brooke from Noises Off, the director might not cast you if you have a distracting back or shoulder tattoo. 

My best advice? Wait to get a tattoo until you're done performing. It's cooler to see older people get tattoos anyway.