Lady Gaga sure loves her ink.
The singer, 32, has gotten tattoos to commemorate everything from her own music to her onscreen roles to her personal heroes. Though she has a total of more than 20 tattoos, Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Germanotta, promised her father that she would keep one side of her body (mostly) free from ink; she has called the left half of her body her “Iggy Pop” side, and the tattoo-less right side her “Marilyn Monroe.”
Below, a comprehensive list of all of Lady Gaga’s tattoos and their meanings.
Just under her left armpit and on her back, Lady Gaga has a huge piece dedicated to her fans: a manicured hand covered in lace and beads making a monster paw, the international sign of a Lady Gaga devotee.
As a second tribute to her fans, Gaga got the words “Little Monsters” inked in calligraphy near the inside of her left elbow.
To complete the theme, Gaga added the words “Mother Monster” with lace detailing, a large piece that extends from her ribcage to her armpit.
Gaga inked the word “dad” inside of a heart as a tribute to her father Joe Germanotta, after convincing him to undergo open-heart surgery despite his protests. The star even wrote a song, “Speechless,” as a plea for him to get the medical procedure. The tattoo session was recorded and shown during the musician’s “Monster Ball” tour in 2009-2010.
December 18, 1974
Gaga’s “12/18/1974” tattoo honors her beloved aunt Joanne Stefani Germanotta, who died on that date at the age of 19. Born on March 12, 1955, Joanne suffered from lupus and has been a huge presence in the Germonatta family. Not only is Gaga’s fifth and most recent studio album named after her aunt, but her dad also owns a restaurant with the same name.
After releasing “Joanne” in 2016, Gaga got her aunt’s signature permanently inked on her forearm. Her father also got his sister’s name tattooed on his shoulder, despite his dislike for body art.
In tribute to her sister Natali, whose nickname is “Mouse,” Gaga has a cartoon mouse holding a sewing needle and thread on the back of her arm. Natali is a fashion designer who graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City; the end of the thread reads “Nat.”
This musical symbol sits on the center of Gaga’s back.
Rainer Maria Rilke quote
On the inside of her left arm, the words of poet Rainer Maria Rilke are written in a curling German script. The quote, which is from a 1903 letter, translates to: “In the deepest hour of the night, confess to yourself that you would die if you were forbidden to write. And look deep into your heart where it spreads its roots, the answer, and ask yourself, must I write?” Gaga has described Rilke as her “favorite philosopher” and said that his “philosophy of solitude” was particularly poignant.
Lady Gaga was born this way — and to prove it, she has a majestic unicorn adorned with lyrics from her 2010 song on her left thigh. In a radio interview, Gaga revealed the meaning behind the ink: “I had My Little Ponies. I was obsessed with the idea of a creature that was born with something magical that sort of made them the misfit in the world of the stallion. I’m actually quite obsessed with unicorns,” she said. “They are, in essence, a mythical creature. The unicorn is born magical and it’s not the unicorn’s fault and it doesn’t make it any more or less special or any less unique, but it can’t help that it was born with that magic.”
Gaga revealed the title of her 2012 album “Artpop” ahead of its release by getting it inked on her arm.
On the left side of her neck, Gaga has a tribute to Rio de Janeiro. The word “Rio” is punctuated with a cross that replaces the “i,” and the singer revealed that the font is actually a compilation that came from three fans — all different ages and from different neighborhoods — and is meant to represent how music brings people together.
In 2014, Gaga got a trumpet inked on the inside of her right bicep. The piece was designed by her friend and “Cheek to Cheek” collaborator Tony Bennett.
On Feb. 13, 2016, just one month after David Bowie died, Gaga added a portrait of the legendary singer above her left hip. Two days later, she performed a tribute to the “Space Oddity” hitmaker at the Grammy Awards. “When I fell in love with David Bowie, when I was living on the Lower East Side, I always felt that his glamour was something he was using to express a message to people that was very healing for their souls,” she told the Hollywood Reporter before the show. “He is a true, true artist and I don’t know if I ever went, ‘Oh, I’m going to be that way like this,’ or if I arrived upon it slowly, realizing it was my calling and that’s what drew me to him.”
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Haus of Gaga, she had the worse “Haus” added on her left arm above her mouse tattoo.
GAGA music notes
In a matching design with her manager Bobby Campbell, the star got a clever nod to her own name: a musical staff with notes that spell out “G-A-G-A” on her right arm. Originally, the staff had only four lines, which she quickly corrected to add the proper five.
Inspired by the late musician John Lennon, Gaga has a peace sign on her left wrist.
On her left shoulder, the singer has a cluster of three daisies.
Continuing the floral theme, Gaga’s lower back features a swirl of roses created by celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D.
Above the daisies on her left shoulder, Gaga has the words “Tokyo Love” handwritten by Japanese photographer and contemporary artist Nobuyoshi Araki. In 2009, Gaga and Araki collaborated on a bondage-themed photoshoot for Vogue Hommes Japan.
In 2012, Gaga got an anchor inked on her left side.
Perhaps the pop icon’s most painful tattoo — and one that’s practically hidden on the back of her head — is a cherub, inspired by the 1917 book “A Handbook of Ornament.”
Sexual abuse survivor symbol
In 2016, Gaga performed her nominated song “‘Til It Happens to You” at the Oscars. She co-wrote the song for the 2015 documentary “The Hunting Ground.” During the performance, Gaga was joined onstage by a group of sexual assault survivors, and the star later had this symbol added to her left shoulder as a show of solidarity.
La vie en rose
In February 2019, Gaga added a tribute to “A Star Is Born” to her extensive collection of ink. Ahead of the Oscars, the nominee had a rose and the words “La vie en rose” added to her spinal cord. The design is a nod to the classic Edith Piaf song, which holds special meaning for Gaga: Not only does her character, Ally, perform it in front of Bradley Cooper’s character, Jackson Maine, in the movie, but it was also her performance of the song that convinced Cooper to cast her in the first place.
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