Nicki Minaj Tattoos

Nicki Minaj has at least 2 known tattoos:

  1. chinese on her upper arm
  2. "Barbie" on her wrist

Nicki Minaj’s second tattoo is of the word “Barbie” on the inside of her right wrist. Throughout her career she associated herself with the Barbies as a symbol of female power. To her, the line of dolls represents how perfection can come in so many different forms. She told Wonderland “I feel like Barbie is great because it doesn’t only focus on beauty – you have Barbies that work, they have tons of different jobs now. And they come in different shades, which I love, and different hairstyles. So I think that they’ve gotten to the point where they’re making girls feel like it’s OK not to look like or be like the traditional Barbie.”

She calls her fans Barbz and has called herself a Barbie so many times that her Barbie image has taken on a life of its own. “It’s definitely a movement at this point,” she told MTV. “People really identify with me through that and I definitely don’t think that when we say ‘Barbie,’ we’re thinking of the plastic little doll with the blond hair anymore.”

She got her “Barbie” tattoo in June 2018 during the recording of her album Queen. The tattoo session was filmed for an episode of VH1’s “Black Ink Crew Chicago.” She called up Chicago-based artist Ryan Henry while he happened to be in Los Angeles and he met up with her in the recording studio to do the tattoo. “I have an album called Queen, and I want to always remember this era in my life, it’s like the best era that I’ve ever had making an album. So I want to commemorate that with getting a tatt.”

“I’m scared to do it here [on my wrist] because it everybody says it hurts, but I want to do it here,” she told the artist, who assured her that she could handle it. Having learned her lesson from the tattoo on her arm, which she initially wanted on her neck and has regretted changing her mind on, she was willing to endure the pain in order to get the tattoo on in the spot where she most wanted it.

It hurt a lot though! In a video which she livestreamed on her instagram, she can be heard crying out in pain. It was so bad that she had to stop midway through and numb the area. When it was finally done, she complained to artist Ryan that he hadn’t properly warned her how much it would hurt. But he was looking out for her interests and didn’t want her to back down because he knew that she wanted it to be on the wrist. And in the end she was happy with the results.


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Nicki Minaj has a tattoo of Chinese writing on her left upper arm. The six Chinese characters “上帝與你常在,” pronounced  “shàngdì yŭ nĭ cháng zài,” translate to “God Is With Me Always.

She got it when she was 16 and it was originally supposed to be placed on the back of her neck, but she moved it to her arm instead. In an interview for Billboard, Nicki said that she regrets the tattoo, or rather the placing of it:

“I wish I never got the tattoo, because it’s on my arm. So when I wanna wear a beautiful evening gown and go out with the queen, she doesn’t like my tattoo too much.”

She put it on her arm because she didn’t want to deal with the pain of a neck tattoo, saying:

“I was going to get it on the back of my neck, and I told the guy: ‘Could you empty the ink out? I just wanna see how the needle feels, like if it’s gonna hurt real bad?’ So when he put that needle on that bone, I was like ‘Never…Just do it on my arm…I already paid for the tattoo just do it on my arm.'”

She also talked about her mother’s reaction and her feelings that she was too young for the tattoo:

“I was thinking how I was gonna explain it to my mother. My mother had told me, at that time I had a tongue ring, and she had told me ‘I’m disowning you.’ When she saw the tattoo and the tongue ring, she was like ‘I am disowning you.’ She was like, ‘You need to not have that’ and she was dead serious, and I was like bummed out that I went and got the tattoo. I eventually took the tongue ring out, but I think I was I don’t know, maybe 16? Way too young. You have no idea what you want to put on your body at the age of 16, or 15, or 13. You need to wait until at least 21 and decide and have your brain start to develop.”

When the interviewer asked if she would do it again, she said:

No, I wouldn’t do it again. I would’ve gotten one Chinese character right there, like on my neck. But, no, I wouldn’t do it again.”

This was her only tattoo for the majority of her career, up until she got a second in 2018.


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