Demi Lovato added a flock of flying birds on her right forearm surrounding her “faith” tattoo in November 2012. The tattoo takes up the entire length of her forearm and was her first large tattoo. There are twelve black birds with a little swirl behind them. This design later appeared on the cover of Demi’s self-help book Staying Strong: 365 Days a Year.
The birds are a symbol of freedom. She didn’t think much about the number of birds at the time, but she later realized a connection to the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step recovery program, with each bird representing one of the steps towards her freedom from substance abuse. “I love the freedom that birds represent and I didn’t specifically have a huge reason why I got 12 of them,” she told iHeartRadio. “But one day, one of my friends that I was at Sober Living, I was living in her Sober Living house, and they asked, ‘So why’d you get … How many did you get?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve,’ and I was like, ‘Whoa, I didn’t mean to do that.’ But it’s like, it was kind of like a God thing, like I worked the 12 steps, so as I got that while I was in Sober Living, apparently it was really meant to be.”
The tattoo was done by celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D, whom Demi happened to connect with through a friend. “I wanted more tattoos and I’d never done anything big, and it was very impulsive of me, like the night that I got it. Literally, I had a friend who had a friend that worked with Kat Von D. And so, literally at like 4:00 p.m. my friend hits up her friend, and that guy was out of town but Kat was in town. And so I was like, ‘Let’s get a tattoo,’ which by the way, people like book Kat way in advance! But it was so impulsive, so it was meant to be.”