Rihanna, 34, is passionate about tattoos and it’s evident by the 22+ ink markings she has on her. The fashion icon has proved she’s a rebel at heart who marches to the beat of her own drum with her recent pregnancy looks. She has worn a number of crop tops and sheer tops that put her bump on full display. RiRi is proud of her body and just as proud of her tattoos. In fact, getting inked has become a therapeutic practice for the “Pon De Replay” singer. “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.”
It’s not just about being edgy or the rush though. Each tattoo has a significant meaning to the Grammy Award-winning singer. “My tattoos are all spiritual and show how I feel about religion,” she once told The Sun (via her.) So let’s take a look at all of Rihanna’s ink and what it means to the soon-to-be mom.
1. Pisces (Ear)
The tattoo behind RiRi’s ear represents her astrological sign, Pisces. The “Only Girl” singer was born on February 20, just two days after the start of Pisces season. This was her first-ever tattoo. She was reportedly in Tokyo and just 17 years old at the time and needed consent from her guardian. The Fenty founder called her mom who was “surprisingly into it.”
2. Star (Ear)
Rihanna’s star tattoo is one of her first. She reportedly got the tattoo inside her left ear in 2006 when her friend from Barbados was visiting her in NYC because they “wanted to do something crazy.” The tattoo has faded over time but it’s still there and looks as adorable as ever!
3. Stars (Back)
Her stars tattoo had many phases! First, it started out as just a small cluster of stars in her neck. She got that portion of her tattoo done in LA in 2008. She then added the stars that run down her back in New York with her favorite tattoo artist BangBang.
4. ‘Rebelle Fleur’ (Neck)
Rihanna caused quite the surprise in French grammar enthusiasts with this tattoo! Her neck tattoo reads “rebelle fleur” and people called her out for being dramatically incorrect since in the French language, nouns come before adjectives. However, the “Umbrella” singer was prepared for this and explained herself in a leaked text to her tattoo artist, as per LA Times. “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,” the text read.
5. XI.IV.LXXXVI (Shoulder)
Rihanna’s Roman numeral tattoo can be seen along with the picture of her rebelled fleur tattoo. There is actually a sweet meaning behind the tattoo. Rihanna explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that she had gotten her best friend Melissa’s birthday tattooed in Roman numerals. The numbers translate to November 4, 1986. She also shared that her friend got a matching tattoo with RiRi’s birthday in numerals. Precious!
6. Cross (Collarbone)
The “SOS” singer got a small Christian crucifix cross inked on her collarbone in March 2012. She was brought up in a Christian household and raised by her devout mother Monica Fenty. Although she has wavered in her faith at times, she has never stopped practicing Christianity. “I have been in a place where I felt like maybe I had disappointed God so much that we weren’t as close,” Rihanna told Interview Magazine. “Actually, that happened to me while I was making Anti. That was really a hard time, but, thank God, I got through it.”
7. ‘Never A Failure Always A Lesson’ (Shoulder)
The tattoo under Rihanna’s right shoulder blade has a special meaning to her. It reads, “Never a failure, always a lesson.” Interestingly, it’s also written backward. “That’s my motto for life,” she told Access Hollywood the day after she got ink done.”I did it backwards so I could read it to myself in the mirror.”
8. Henna (Hand)
Rihanna has some beautiful artwork on her hands that has definitely evolved over the years. She initially got the Chevron pattern across her right hand in 2011. However, she decided to tattoo over that with an intricate henna pattern in 2013 with the help of her favorite tattoo artist Bang Bang. “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,” the tattoo artist told E! News at the time.
9. Maori Tribal Print (Hand)
Rhianna had equally unique art on her left hand that has faded over time. It just started out as a tribal pattern on her thumb. She got the tattoo in New Zealand through a mallet, pigment ink and chisel as is Maori tradition “It’s tribal,” she told People at the time. “It represents strength and love….It’s their traditional way of tattooing. I always wanted [one]. It hurt like hell!” She went back to finish the job in 2013 and got the pattern done across the rest of her hand.
10. Shhh (Hand)
Rihanna has always been a trendsetter, and the same goes for her “Shhhh” tattoo. The finger tattoo became a huge trend around the time she got it done in 2008 and Lindsay Lohan and Lily Allen had even gotten the same tattoo done at the time. Her tattoo artist Bang Bang explained the craftsmanship it takes to do a finger tattoo and referenced his work on this one. “The “Shhh” tattoo is many years old- done in one shot, no touch up needed. If you’re thinking of getting you’re finger tattooed and have heard they “fade” or “fall out” I’ll say, Yes, they can fade during the healing process- though if done properly, they can be great, and last a lifetime,” he wrote on his Instagram.
11. Love (Hand)
Rihanna has a very similar tattoo on her other hand that reads “Love.” Written in cursive, her love tattoo rests on her middle finger on her left hand, the side same side as her heart. Meanwhile, the “Shhh” tattoo is on her index finger in her right hand, located very conveniently for if she actually wanted to shush someone.
12. Egyptian Goddess (Ribcage)
There is a super sweet meaning behind this visually stunning tattoo. The “Rude Boy” singer got this ink in honor of her grandmother who passed away from cancer in July 2012. “Goddess Isis – Complete Woman – Model for future generations – #GRANGRANDOLLY – always in and on my heart #1love,” she wrote of the tattoo on Instagram of the time, as per THR.
13. Arabic Script (Ribcage)
Rihanna’s Arabic tattoo says “Al Hurria fi Al Maseeh” which translates to “Freedom in God.” The singer has shown this tattoo off many times whether it’s on stage or when she’s modeling products from her lingerie collection Savage X Fenty.
14. Handgun (Ribcage)
The “Please Don’t Stop The Music” singer’s gun tattoo has more meaning than her fans initially thought. She explained that it was a symbol of strength for her in an interview with Elle UK. “Everybody wanted to know what was happening in my life. ‘Is she a drug addict? No. Is she an alcoholic? No. Is she a victim? No.’ That’s why I got the gun. It was a symbol of strength. I’ll never be a victim,” she told the magazine in 2013.
15. Egyptian Queen (Ribcage)
Rihanna has a tattoo of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti that sits just above her Arabic quote. The name Nefertiti means “a beautiful woman has come.” Not only does she represent feminity and fertility, but she was also revered as a “powerful and independent figure” and was remembered as a “uniquely strong queen.”
16. Sanskrit Prayer (Hip)
The “Diamonds” singer’s one and only hip tattoo is a very significant one. Not only does her Sanskrit tattoo translate to truthfulness and self-restraint but it is the first one that Bang Bang ever gave her. “I was surprised when he wouldn’t put my first tattoo where I wanted it to go—up the back of my leg—but I was so shocked that I was actually open to his idea of moving it, and I’m glad I did,” she said of the experience in an interview. “I was still early on in my tattoo game, so I trusted him as an expert more than I trusted myself because I didn’t know. When you’re well known, it can be hard knowing who to trust, but I trusted Bang Bang from the first time he tattooed me.”
17. Tibetan Script (Butt)
RiRi’s Tibetan tattoo is in one sexy spot! She has one and one tattoo only on her left buttocks. The phrase roughly translates to “lover.” Even though it’s in a secretive spot, she shows it off when she can when posing for her Savage X Fenty line.
18. Falcon (Ankle)
The “Take A Bow” singer has two animal tattoos on her body and they’re both on her ankles. Her first one is of a falcon. The falcon covers up a tattoo of music notes that she had gotten back in 2006. It seems like it was a good move for the singer since the falcon seems to have deep meaning to her. She told Oprah that the tattoo stands for God. “Back in the day, they would carve into the walls and they would carve a falcon because they didn’t have another way of saying a king in the sky,” she said during the interview.
19. Shark (Ankle)
On her left ankle is a cute camo shark. She got the tattoo from her favorite tattoo artist Bang Bang in 2016. She reportedly got that tattoo to match her boo at the time, Drake. Interestingly enough, she has since had this tattoo covered up.
20. Crown (Ankle)
Now, in place of her camo shark tattoo is a symbol that resembles a crown. E! News first picked up on this change in 2021 when she was spotted with her current boyfriend and baby daddy A$AP Rocky. Although this tattoo is one of her more recent ones, she doesn’t let it show too often,
21. 1988 (Ankle)
Along with her falcon, she has the year 1988 tattooed to her right ankle. Like all of her tattoos, this one definitely has an important meaning as 1988 is the year that the Grammy Award-winning singer was born.
22. Skull (Heel)
On the back of that same ankle is a skull and crossbones tattoo. However, this isn’t your typical jolly roger skull. While it’s usually a danger sign, the adorable skull tattoo has a red bow on top of its head giving it a nice feminine twist.