Actors and Tattoos: part 2 of 2

Last week we explored the minefield actors may have to deal with in regards to casting and tattoos. Upon hearing from a seasoned, successful actor and a high profile Casting Director, we feel very well informed. Read our findings here.

After hearing what Maureen and Terry had to say, we wanted to know what would the makeup team’s response be? They have a big job with many people’s hair and makeup to do in a very short period of time, tattoos could be stressful! But instead of getting stressed about something we know nothing about, we sought out an expert - Tamar Ouziel.


Tamar is a talented makeup artist who has been involved in the entertainment industry since she was a young child; from professional gymnastics, to musical theatre, acting, painting, sculpting, and playing music. Fifteen years ago she changed her canvas to the human face and body and she gave us a few moments of her time to answer some pressing questions about that canvas, and if it has tattoos!

Ever come across a tattoo you couldn’t cover?

"So far so good! I have not come across a tattoo I have never been able to cover."

Walk us through the process of covering a tattoo.

"Covering a tattoo is basic colour theory mixed with some snazzy skill. Using red or peach tones to cover the blue black, soft greens to cover reds etc.

Then it depends on the ethnicity of the individual. Starting with base tones and working up. Last stage if it's a large area of skin is adding veins or birth marks etc..."

Do you get a heads up from production if you are working with an actor with tattoos? Ever been surprised by a tattoo on an actor that you had to deal with?

"By rule, yes we are informed. But that depends how ‘on the ball’ the production is. To make sure, I usually ask, and hopefully I get an answer."

If an actor wants to cover their own tattoo, is there a product you recommend?

"Depends how big, and how patient they are.

If they have access to a pro makeup store I use Skin Illustrator and seal it with Opsite; this method is waterproof.

You can also use Dermacolor by Kryolan, it's concealer so you must powder in between each layer!

As for street brands I have been told the Kat Von D ‘tattoo cover’ is really good. Just not sure on how ethnically diverse that brand is."

Out of all the actors you see in your chair, what percentage of them would you say have tattoos? Do you find male actors have more, less or the same as female actors?

"If you asked me this question five years ago, I would have said a small percentage. And more men than women. But these days it's pretty even.

More and more women are getting small tattoos in what they feel are indiscreet places. For the most part they are, but they still need coverage.

Men's tattoos are still bigger. But at the same time are being placed more discreetly."

Johnny Depp famously shows off his ink.

Johnny Depp famously shows off his ink.

Of course you’ll still find a naysayer here and there; covering tattoos takes time. Time is money. Blah Blah. But so far the word on the street is positive.

We sat down with Luvia Petersen, a successful actress known for her roles on Continuum and Ghost Wars. Her tattoos, of which she has several, have often played a part in the roles she’s played.

Luvia, what’s your advice for actresses thinking of getting a tattoo?

"If an actress wants tattoos, I say go for it! That said, make sure you think it through! Choose wisely when deciding on the size and placement of your tattoo. When I go for auditions, I can easily show my tattoos or hide them, based on if it suites my character. Having that kind of freedom with my tattoos is fun and useful."

How do you see tattoos shown on film in regards to male and female actors?

"I feel like men have it easier. They play their tattoos more without the need to explain some "sordid" past in the character's life.

There's always the possibility your tattoos can type cast you... but if a production really wants to hire you because you are the right actor for the job, my opinion is they will suck it up and cover your tattoos."

Luvia Petersen on Falling Skies

Luvia Petersen on Falling Skies

Luvia Petersen

Luvia Petersen

We are so glad we got the skinny on the real truth about actors and tattoos; it’s not as impossible or inconvenient as some might think. In fact, if your tattoo is really authentically part of you and your ‘hit’ or brand, it might help you get the role!


Are you an actor? Do you have any tattoos? We’d love to hear your experiences - comment below and share!