Archive for Celebrity Piercing

punk fashion

The recent Met Costume Institute Gala saw a surge of well dressed celebrities, with a little extra edgy oomph surrounding this year’s big theme: punk.  Or more specifically, “Punk: Chaos to Couture.”

Although many celebrity ensembles rocked the Met (including very pregnant reality star Kim Kardashian’s head to toe flower bomb) what really takes center stage at any punk soiree is the hardware, and this year’s jewelry additions certainly didn’t disappoint.  The usual parade of studs and spikes took on new life paired with unexpected fabrics and more modern splashes of yellow gold replacing the standard cold steel.  Even more amazing were the additions of several media normally reserved for anything but punk, like feathers, pastel beading, embroidery, sequins, silk, and tulle.

 clean post-punk fashion

Baubles ranged from the understated, to the otherworldly, and as with any surprisingly modification-friendly fete, left us smiling at the prospect of finally having our alternative lifestyles understood by some major fashion houses.  Rounding out some of the night’s favorites were Marc Jacobs, Topshop, Valentino, Givenchy, and Stella McCartney.  Tattoos were left openly on display, with beautiful art highly visible on Paloma Faith, Kelly Osborne, Nicki Minaj, Lena Dunham, Eve, and several others.

To steal the new cleaner, post-punk style that was in full view at the Met Gala, ear cuffs, tarnished or antiqued chains, solid black spikes, natural stone jewelry, and oversized rings are all an excellent jumping off point.  Pair with asymmetrical lines, geometric cut-outs, and well-tailored leather, and you’re on your way to fashion stardom.

cool punk cocktail rings

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Scottish songstress Emeli Sande

How amazing is Scottish songbird Emeli Sandé?  Answer: almost as amazing as her simple yet youthful and fun sense of style.  As nose piercings go, they’re amongst the top three most popular piercings worldwide, but Emeli’s is different because she’s rocking something a bit more rare.  The right nostril nose piercing.

Most nose piercings are worn either on the left nostril, or on both sides, so Emeli’s cute little rightie ring is just one more thing that makes her unique.  She also sports ear piercings and multiple monochrome tattoos, including a classic image of Frida Kahlo, and writing on her chest that reads “Volim Te Adame,” which is Serbian for “I love you Adam.”  Adam of course, being her new husband Adam Gouraguine, a native of Montenegro.

 Volim Te Adame chest tattoo(photo sourced via WGSN)

And guess who else has a fabulous right-side-only nose piercing.  Can’t guess?  It’s BodyCandy’s own retro bombshell, Cat!  Talk about being on the cutting edge of alternative fashion.


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singer Rihanna wearing tragus stud

Rihanna’s tragus piercing; isn’t it cute?  The singer generally wears a small diamond or cubic zirconia stud in the piercing, which is often coordinated with larger studs or long dangle earrings in her lobes as shown here.  (She has two ear lobe piercing on each side, by the way.)  Occasionally she leaves her second lobe piercings empty, but you’ll usually see them worn with a matching stud nowadays.

 cute little star ear tattoo

So what’s makes Riri’s ear piercings so special?  Aside from always being fashionably bejeweled, she also has an adorable, small but simple ear tattoo of a little star outline just under the upper helix of her left ear (the opposite as the tragus piercing).

photography sourced via WGSN

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A history of piercings and tattoo art amongst convicts has lent modification a certain (unwarranted) evil stigma, so it’s no surprise that when it comes to modern storytelling, many of the “bad guys” are depicted with amazing mods.  In honor of Halloween, we revisit the memory of movie-land evildoers whose actions were wrong, but whose body art is oh so right.

 evil movie characters with tattoos

One of the creepiest cinematic connections to body mod involves our good old B-ranked horror flick friend, the unstoppable serial killer.  Amidst the more corny and bumbling slashers however, the modified set has included some of the better played characters in recent history.  Francis Dolarhyde, for example, the killer character acted by Ralph Fiennes in 2002’s Red Dragon, a remake of Manhunter and prequel to the acclaimed Silence of the Lambs.  The tattoo covering Dolarhyde’s back in the film is truly awe-inspiring and manages to be perfectly as sinister as its characterization should suggest.  Less well known is Vincent D’Onofrio’s turn as serial killer Carl Stargher in 2000’s The Cell.  This time however, our evil psychotic engages in a more extreme and less permanent form of modification: suspension.

tattoo art style from the movie Red Dragon

That leads us to some of the better recognized modified characters, like Pinhead from the long-running Hellraiser film series.  Not only is this demonic figure pierced through the face with several long needles or “pins,” but he also boasts large piercings through the chest and a facial tattoo of a grid pattern.  Equally recognizable are Christopher Walken’s headless horseman from Tim Burton’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, whose teeth were sharpened to points, and the Death Eaters from the Harry Potter franchise, who bear serpentine tattoos showing the their allegiance to evil.  And lets not forget the notorious full body tattoo sported by Darth Maul in 1999’s Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace.

pierced movie character

Finally, we come to upcoming pierced and tattooed movie evildoers.  These include antagonist Eric from 2014s film adaptation of the young adult book series Divergent, possibly more tattooed Romulans or Klingons (the inspiration for many a forehead implant) in May 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, and petty criminal Luke in Ryan Goslings New feature The Place Beyond the Pines.

young woman with multiple piercings

Like so many of us, you may have noticed that in the past five years or so, body modification (particularly facial piercings) has seen a meteoric rise amongst the younger generations.  You can hardly go anywhere without noticing multiple persons with facial piercings, especially if you work in a fashion, retail, or beauty related industry.  And here’s a fun little experiment: next time you’re talking to multiple people at once, like at an office meeting or a social function, count the number of people who have at least one visible piercing or tattoo other than single piercings of the ear lobes.  If the lobes are stretched or pierced multiple times, other parts of the ear are pierced, or you know for a fact that there’s a tattoo even if you can’t see it, those people count.  Now take a look at the results.  If you live in the US or UK and there were at least ten people in the room, the chances that you counted more people “with” than “without” modifications are about fifty percent.  Cool, right?

So what caused so many of us to suddenly be so modified?  Well, according to several sources, a lot of it has to do with pop culture and the likelihood of those under thirty five imitating celebrity in one form or another.  Even if it works out in a six-degrees-of-Kevin Bacon kind of way, chances are high that our choices of wardrobe, beauty products, and even piercing style have been indirectly influenced by a trend running through popular culture.  Here’s what I mean:

Hayley Williams and septum piercing

Say Hayley Williams, front-woman of the popular band Paramore, gets a piercing (like the septum piercing she got a couple of years ago).  Someone who’s a huge Paramore fan then sees a snapshot of Hayley’s new look, and decides to go for it.  Now say that person also happens to have a super cute hairstyle that’s been photographed, along with their new septum ring, and posted all over Tumblr.  One of the two hundred people who snags the photo reposts it with the tag “awesome prom hair.”  Then right before prom, you decide to run a Google search for “awesome prom hairstyles.”  The photo of the cute girl with the awesome hair that got her septum pierced because of Hayley Williams pops up.  You see it, and decide that a cute little septum ring will look just as good on you as it does on her.  This means that indirectly, Paramore has influenced your fashion sense and piercing style.  Mind boggling, I know.

In fact, in the past five years concerning young celebrities and body modification, here’s just a few things that have happened:

Anne Hathoway, Cameron Diaz, Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Emma Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Joss Stone, Julia Stiles, Kate Beckinsale, Kirsten Dunst, Lady Gaga, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Miley Cyrus, Nikki Reed, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Taryn Manning, Uma Thurman, Kate Moss, and Zoe Saldana (just to name a few) have rocked multiple piercings in their ears including tragus piercings, helixes, and rooks.

 celebrities with cartilage piercings

Cassie, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Pink, Emily Browning, Amber Rose, Britney Spears, and Rachel Bilson took the plunge and got nipple piercings.

Rooney Mara was pierced about a dozen times in a single sitting in order to play Lisbeth Salander in the English language remake of Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

facial piercings for Dragon Tattoo (source: WGSN)

Lady Gaga is now up to ten tattoos, all of them on the left side of her body.

And all that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Nearly every time a celebrity rocks a new piercing (like Miley Cyrus’s nose piercing, ScarJo’s septum, or Amber Rose’s lip ring), it isn’t long until that piercing sees a surge in popularity.  For better or worse, our facial piercing fates are at least partially in the media’s hands.  Now it’s just a matter of cooler body jewelry.

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On this day, March 28th, in 1986, a girl named Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta was born.  That little girl would grow up to become music superstar and alternative fashion icon Lady Gaga.

Lady Gaga FashionLady Gaga

From the best wig collection in existence, to the infamous meat dress, and her stint as male alter-ego Joe Calderone, Gaga’s fashion choices have been provocative, controversial, and visionary.

Lady Gaga's controversial fashion sensefrom left: Lady Gaga’s wig, meat dress, and character Joe Calderone

Her satirical and colorful hairstyles alone grew to inspire stylists across all aspects of fashion from street, to runway, print ads, and full scale multimedia campaigns.

Lady Gaga popular hairstyleshairstyles of Lady Gaga

Recognizing the influential nature of body modification in fashion, tattooed, pierced, and otherwise modified models and dancers are often cast in her opulently styled stage shows and music videos.  Even Rick Genest, the face of Thierry Mugler’s 2011 menswear campaign, saw major exposure first as a star in Gaga’s video for the tune “Born This Way.”

Lady Gaga casting modified modelsfrom left: tattooed dancer in “Bad Romance” video, Lady Gaga face art, model Rick Genest

The songstress’s unique and fashion forward style even inspired visual merchandising for major fashion houses in 2010 and 2011, with whole sets of mannequins at Bershka and Harrods in London sporting Gaga style and a recent holiday overhaul at Barney’s New York.

merchandising displays inspired by Lady Gagamannequins at Bershka and Harrods and the looks that inspired them

Along with facial prosthetics that mimic sub dermal implants and her adoption of a male persona, her ever-changing wardrobe has become a statement in and of itself, particularly those aspects related to body modification.  The superstar herself has nine recognizable tattoos including a peace sign reportedly inspired by John Lennon and a German quote from one of her favorite poets.

Lady Gaga's tattoo artLady Gaga’s wrist and inner arm tattoos

Masterminding countless trends and fostering acceptance of less conventional choices concerning physical appearance, even her accessory and beauty style is of great notice, as makeup and costume tutorials based on her different looks are constantly popping on YouTube from influential beauty bloggers like Michelle Phan.

tutorials based on Lady Gaga lookscenter: Lady Gaga, left and right: Gaga makeup tutorials by Michelle Phan

But more than outstanding music and provocative performance art, Gaga is also known as an impassioned philanthropist, supporting LGBT rights, contributing to MAC Cosmetics’ Viva Glam campaign to help fight HIV and AIDS, and raising millions of dollars to aid victims of natural disasters.  She also recently launched her own non-profit organization called the Born This Way Foundation to assist in youth empowerment and stop discrimination and bullying.

 Gaga wearing headphones

So happy birthday Lady Gaga.  Your fashionably fierce style is ageless.


All photography sourced via WGSN

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Once upon time, in a far away land (called Hollywood), actors with piercings were a lot like fairy godmothers.  We weren’t really sure that they existed, and those of us who thought they saw one only had a blurry photo or two and couldn’t prove it.  But today, as more characters in film and literature are being written with piercings and tattoo art to reflect the changing social norm, modified movie actors and characters are finally coming into prominence.  You can even track the change.

 Pierced and Tattooed Actress being Photographed

Although tattoo art has been seen amongst film characters of particular types earlier (sailors, mystics, societal outcasts), for the most part the real onset of both character and actor adapting body modifications didn’t begin until around the year 2000.  One of the more notable examples of a character being reinvented for the modern era is Francis Dolarhyde, the title character in 2002’s Red Dragon.  Originally seen on the big screen in the 1986 film adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novel of the same name, the Francis character is covered with an amazing dragon tattoo.  His tattoo was later redesigned to a more modern monochrome version and features prominently in the 2002 movie version starring Ralph Fiennes.

Another film that lent its style to modern modification trending, adding to a growing fashion yearning for all things mystical and idiomatic was 2007’s 300, starring Scottish actor Girard Butler as the king of Sparta and Rodrigo Santoro as Persian god-king Xerxes.  Along with stunning Grecian fashion and a barrage of pierced, tattooed, and implanted creatures, the character of Xerxes himself is shown with large, golden Middle Eastern style rings pierced through his nose, eyebrow, cheeks, and ear cartilage.  This is a slight change from his original depiction in the Frank Miller comic book on which the film is based, as in the comics he also wears piercings in his bottom lip.

 Rodrigo Santoro as Xerxes in 300

Perhaps the most prominent recent character to be shown with both piercings and tattoos is Stieg Larsson’s tough as nails female protagonist Lisbeth Salander of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  This character was first played on the big screen in 2009 by the lovely Noomi Rapace and then again just recently by Rooney Mara for the English version. (The original is in Swedish, as is its eponymous novel.) Both women got real piercings to play the role, including several in the ear cartilage and some in the nostril, septum, lip, eyebrow, and nipple.  The Swedish original starring Rapace is even part of a trilogy; one movie for each of Larsson’s books, starting with Dragon Tattoo.

 Rooney Mara as Lisbeth in 2011's Dragon Tattoo

Other actors who have been pierced and tattooed, whether for a role or not, include Drew Barrymore, Johnny Depp, Ewan McGregor, Colin Farrell, Viggo Mortenson, Lenny Kravitz, Angelina Jolie, Keifer Sutherland, Asia Argento, Robert LaSardo, Eve Salvail, Katie Holmes, Leelee Sobieski, Scarlett Johansson, and countless others.

Staying ahead of the fashion curve into the 2012 year promises to be a difficult task, but thankfully  (unlike most portions of pop culture) the cinematic influences poised to bolster the piercing and jewelry world give us something both exciting and helpful: previews!  Some of the most anticipated new releases that are sure to filter into new body jewelry fashion crazes are already showing us peaks of what’s to come.  Just take a look.

2012 Movie Influenced Piercing Fashion

When I first heard that there was an English language remake of one of my favorite foreign film series headed for the theatres, I was a little bit annoyed to see new actors playing the characters I’d come to love.

Movie Influenced Piercing StyleRooney Mara and Daniel Craig who play Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist (source:WGSN)

The one thing that’s undeniably amazing about MGM’s rehash of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo though, is that the original image of it’s pierced, tattooed, and sometimes mohawked heroin is left intact.  The fashion impact?  Plain silver hoops like those worn by Rooney Mara (who got piercings in her ears, eyebrow, nose, septum, lip, and nipple for the film) are already on their way to a comeback, but once the remake drops just before the new year, they’re likely to become an even hotter commodity.

Dragon Tattoo Style Nose JewelryPlain Stainless Steel Horseshoe RingsSurgical Steel Ball Captive Rings

2012 will be another lucrative year for fairytale film with Universal Pictures’ Snow White and the Huntsman, slated for its U.S. release in June.

Snow White and the huntsman styleKristen Stewart as Snow White (source: WGSN)

Adding a new darker and more empowered spin to the traditional tale isn’t even a risk with actors like Thor‘s Chris Hemsworth (the huntsman) and Twilight‘s Kristen Stewart (Snow White), and neither is the choice of accessories.  Wide band rings reminiscent of armor have already begun a slow fashion climb, but leading up to the premiere their aesthetic value might just skyrocket.

Snow White Style Armor Finger Rings

Another genre that’s still going strong is that of the super hero, as Marvel’s new undertaking, The Avengers (set for a May release) promises action, suspense, and a slew of A-list character reprisals.

Captain America and Iron Man from the AvengersChris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. in the Avengers (source: WGSN)

Among those lending their faces and/or vocal skills to the film: Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston as Thor and Loki, Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow as Iron Man and Pepper Potts, Chris Evans as Captain America, and Paul Bettany as the voice of Jarvis, just to name a few.  For it’s fashion say so, we’ll be seeing more of the same, as black leather, bullet caps, and plugs bearing super insignia are certain to stay strong well into 2012.

Marvel Super Hero Plugs

Other upcoming blockbusters that may lend piercing and jewelry fashion a hint of magic in the coming year include the Amazing Spiderman, the Hobbit, reimaginings of Jack and the Beanstalk (Jack the Giant Killer) and Hansel and Gretel, and the latest installments to the Dark Knight, Ghost Rider, and Men in Black franchises.  Only time (and box office ratings) will tell.

The Madison Piercing is a horizontal surface piercing at the base of the neck, just above the collar bone.  Because of its placement, it is sometimes also referred to as a “clavicle piercing” or “jugular notch piercing,” and is considered a contemporary piercing because, unlike others, it has only been around for about 20 years.

Cool Body Piercing

This piercing is named after former film star, singer, and tattoo artist Madison Stone, who currently owns her own tattoo and piercing parlor in California.  During the late 1980’s and early 90’s, Madison pioneered an alternative look including tattooing and several piercings, and became the first person formally associated with surface piercing of the jugular, eventually lending her name to it.  Although, her clavicle piercing has since been removed.

In the piercing community there seems to be a stigma attached to the Madison, that because of placement it’s impossible to heal.  While healing is often lengthy and difficult due to the natural movements of the throat, it’s certainly untrue that all Madisons reject, and there are plenty in existence today that are several years old.  Because of the higher than average rate of rejection and migration for this particular piercing however, if you’re considering getting one, there are a few things you can do to help prevent any mishaps.

1. Go to an experienced piercer who has done Madison piercings before and is well versed in surface piercing.

2. Get your piercing done with a surface bar.  In piercings that have high rejection rates, jewelry may be greatly to blame, as surface bars are the only kind of jewelry specifically made for a surface piercing and other types lack the proper shape.

3. Follow your aftercare instructions as strictly as possible for at least six months, as healing for piercings in the neck area is very slow.

4. Don’t change out your jewelry until you’ve revisited your piercer to be sure that you’re entirely healed and the piercing is ready to accept the change.

Once the jewelry is ready to be changed out, many who wear the Madison prefer the aesthetic of curved barbells, flexible barbells in materials like bioplast, or even large diameter ball captive rings.

Captives, Horseshoes, and Circular Barbells

If you weren’t familiar with the Madison, it’s probably due to geography.  Because of Ms. Stone’s various job descriptions, both her and her namesake piercing rose to popularity first on the West Coast and primarily in California.  Although, undeniably, the piercing itself is far more mainstream now than in it’s original heyday, it still makes the list of coolest piercings you may have never heard of.


That Celebrity Pierced What?

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When it comes to a celebrity getting pierced, much more than just the look gets taken into account. For someone who’s job is singing or acting, you have to be very careful about what you choose to pierce and how it will affect both your image, and your ability to perform. The key trend seems to be simplicity; no matter what is pierced it’s rare to see someone who has more than one or maybe two piercings on or around their face. Keeping your look clean while still maintaining the edge and uniqueness of a piercing is key for the scrutiny of the popular spotlight.

Understandably, the most common piercing is the ears. While most choose to go with a standard 18 gauge piercing to allow them to add a bit of bling to their look, it’s becoming more common to see stretched piercings and higher gauge plugs in the ears of celebrities. As much as it’s been a standard and common practice in the punk and hardcore scenes for singers like Davey Havoc of AFI and Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember, the spread to more mainstream and hip hop music is gradually taking place, as artists like Christofer Drew of NeverShoutNever! And Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes take the plunge.

Popular Celebrities with Lip and Labret PiercingsLeft: Davey Havok, Right: Lil Wayne (

The most common facial piercing making it’s way into the norm is the lip piercing. Snake bites, monroes and labrets have become more and more common, and seeing a celebrity like Lil’ Wayne rocking a labret stud in his lip is becoming a standard. While artists like Davey Havok have been known for their lip rings for years, Travie has gone through the ever-changing processing of getting pierced and then taking them out, at different times having his labret, Monroe, and snakes bites done depending on his current feel and look.

Different kinds of lip rings for labret and monroe piercings

Now while it’s definitely trickier, some dare to go for more career affecting piercings. From The Game to members of Good Charlotte, getting the tongue pierced is a risky and hard to master option. When your job depends on how you speak, putting a piece of metal directly in the way of that can be a difficult goal to pass off, but for the artist who wants more metal without cluttering up their face, it’s a more than viable option.

Benji Madden and Lenny Kravitz Multiple PiercingsLeft: Benji Madden of Good Charlotte, Right: Lenny Kravitz (Source:

The moral of the celebrity story is to keep it clean. Too many piercings in too little of an area just leaves things looking cluttered, while a well positioned nose ring, or even a series of piercings along the ear like Lenny Kravitz, leaves a classy addition, not a spectacle. People don’t like them because of what’s in their face, they like the face as it is. So make sure that the jewelry is a compliment, and doesn’t decide how you look.