From Tito Mikee to Celeste Cortesi, these celebrities are using their platforms to challenge the stigma surrounding tattoos.
Tattoos have a rich history as a form of artistic expression. They can represent an individual’s cultural heritage, personal experiences, or simply serve as beautiful works of art. It’s ironic then how something beautiful is deemed dirty, rebellious, and taboo by certain segments of society.
Even though tattoos are becoming tolerated, there are still negative stereotypes surrounding forms of body art—particularly in the context of the entertainment industry. These persist despite the talent, drive, and abilities of tattooed celebrities, TV personalities, and content creators who continually redefine societal standards of acceptance.
Showbiz and the Stigma Surrounding Tattoos
With the pressure to maintain picture-perfect images in the world of on-screen personalities, some casting directors, producers, executives, and viewers harbor preconceived notions about tattoos that can hinder the careers of talented actors, newscasters, and artists. Whether it’s typecasting, missed opportunities, or negative comments from netizens, discrimination against tattooed individuals is a concern in show business, as is in many industries.
While significant strides have been made in reshaping societal perceptions of tattoos, it’s important to acknowledge that the battle against discrimination isn’t quite a done deal. That said, some of our favorite celebrities are actively using their influence to confront the stigma surrounding inked skin.
Mikee Reyes, TV5’s first fully tattooed sports anchor, stirred discussions on online platforms after refusing to hide his tattoos for a hosting event. Following this decision, the former University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon took his reflections on Instagram. ‘Tuloy lang naman tayo, guys,’ he encourages, emphasizing the importance of moving forward regardless of the discrimination. This simple phrase carries a profound message—that life is too precious and too filled with opportunities to be hindered by opinions or conformity.
Perhaps the most inspiring part of Tito Mikee’s reflection is his personal testimony: ‘I’ve already made more friends and achieved more things being myself than I could ever have achieved trying to be someone else.’ By staying true to who we are, we attract like-minded individuals who genuinely appreciate us, and we unlock our full potential for growth and accomplishment.
Celeste Cortesi, Miss Universe Philippines 2022, has shown strength in response to public criticism of her tattoos. This incident serves as a gentle reminder of the power of self-confidence and self-expression. ‘I may not be liked by everyone, and that’s perfectly okay,’ Celeste asserts.
That said, she leaves an important lesson about kindness. She states, ‘By posting my photos and being a public figure I am not giving you the right to be mean and to judge what you don’t know.’ This short statement is a call for respect and in interactions with public figures and, indeed, all individuals.
Gigi de Lana
After being criticized for getting inked (again), Gigi de Lana reminded followers, ‘Just because I have a lot of tattoos does not mean I’m a bad person,’ the singer states on Facebook. ‘I’m just different now. I’m stronger, bolder, and more confident. As much as I can, I don’t judge, and I grow every day,’ Gigi continued.
Her message is crystal clear: personal transformation should not be equated with moral character, and judgments based on appearances are both unhelpful and unjust.
On Instagram, Maxene Magalona shared her perspective on having tattoos and piercings. To begin with, the actress and mental health advocate believes it is unjust to label those with body art as bad, weird, or irresponsible individuals. Maxene explained that tattoos and piercings are forms of self-expression in a deep and wholehearted way, stating, ‘Your self-expression is a great service to the world.’
Regardless, she cautioned people against getting tattoos or piercings solely to mimic their friends or succumbing to peer pressure. Maxene reiterated that tattoos and piercings should carry meaning and authenticity for the individual getting them.
Billy Crawford has slammed a basher saying his tattoos ‘are for drug addicts.’ In response, the TV host retorted, ‘So you’re trying to say my father and my brother are drug addicts? You have to look deeper than skin, child. Don’t judge a book by its cover!’
At this point, there’s the absurdity of making sweeping assumptions about people based on their tattoos. But Billy Crawford’s reaction to this negative comment about his tattoos highlights a broader issue of prejudice and stereotyping based on inked skin. It demonstrates that while tattoos are “accepted” in some places, they are still synonymous with criminals, drugs, and addicts.