Exploring Rihanna’s tattoos: Symbols and stories behind them

Exploring Rihanna’s tattoos: Symbols and stories behind them

Rihanna is a Barbadian singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. She has won nine Grammy and 12 Billboard Music Awards. In addition, the star ranks as the second-best-selling female music artist of all time, with sales of over 250 million records worldwide. But beyond her illustrious career, the artist is widely recognised for her multiple tattoos. So, what do Rihanna’s tattoos signify, and what is the story behind her body art?

Rihanna's tattoos
Rihanna at her Rated R album release party in 2009 (L). The songwriter at Greystone Manor Supperclub in 2012. Photo: Shareif Ziyadat, Jason LaVeris via GettyImages (modified by author)
Source: UGC


The FourFiveSeconds star had her first body art at 18 and has openly admitted to being addicted to tatts. However, her tattoos represent her life's various chapters and beliefs.

They symbolise the power of body art as a storytelling medium and their ability to convey personal stories. Here is a glimpse of Rihanna’s current inkings.

Rihanna’s profile summary

Full nameRobyn Rihanna Fenty
Famous asRihanna, Bad Girl Riri
Date of birth20 February 1988
Age36 years old (2024)
Zodiac signPisces
BirthplaceSaint Michael, Barbados
Alma mater Charles F. Broome Memorial School and Combermere School
Height173 cm (5’7’’)
Weight64 kg (141 lbs)
Hair colourBlack
Eye colourDark brown
PartnerASAP Rocky
Children 2
ParentsMonica and Ronald Fenty
Siblings 2 (biological), 3 (half-siblings)
ProfessionSinger, songwriter, actress and businesswoman
Years active2003-present
Net worth$1.4 billion
Social mediaInstagramFacebookX (Twitter)TikTok

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How old is Rihanna?

Rihanna (aged 36 as of 2024) was born on 20 February 1988 in Saint Michael, Barbados. The singer’s father, Ronald, was a warehouse supervisor, while her mother, Monica Fenty, was an accountant.

Rihanna’s facts
Rihanna at the Fenty x Puma sneaker launch party at NeueHouse Los Angeles in 2023. Photo: Emma McIntyre
Source: Original

Monica is Afro-Guyanese, while Ronald is a Barbadian of African, English, Irish and Scottish descent. Robyn has two biological brothers, Rajad and Rorrey Fenty, and three half-siblings.

Regarding her education, she attended Charles F. Broome Memorial School and Combermere School. However, Rihanna did not graduate from high school because she chose to pursue her musical career instead.

Rihanna’s tattoos and their meanings

Robyn is among the most heavily tattooed artists worldwide. However, her body art is not just for aesthetics but also reflects her spiritual beliefs. According to The Sun, the songwriter revealed the main reason behind her tattoos, saying:

My tattoos are all spiritual and show how I feel about religion.

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How many tattoos does Rihanna have? The Grammy Award winner has over 20 tatts inked on her body. From her tiny finger body art to her larger inking, here is a complete guide to Fenty’s growing tattoo collection.

1. Star (Ear)

Rihanna’s ear tattoo
Rihanna posing for a photo at The Vineyard in 2014. Photo: Steve Granitz
Source: UGC

One of Rihanna’s oldest tattoos is a star on her left ear. She reportedly got it inked in 2006 when her friend visited her in New York City.

My best friend from Barbados was here so we had to do something crazy. She got one too.

2. A trail of stars on her back

Rihanna's stars body art
Singer Rihanna at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli
Source: UGC

This design is one of Riri’s most visible tattoos, cascading down her neck and back. She initially started with just a few stars on her neck but later added a longer trail of different-sized stars, both filled in and outlined.

3. Cross

Rihanna's cross body art
Rihanna posing for the camera. Photo: @badgalriri on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The Pon de Replay star had this ink done on her collarbone by renowned tattoo artist Keith Scott, alias Bang Bang, in March 2012. It represents the Christian faith instilled in her by her mother as a child.

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4. Large cross

Rihanna's hand tattoo
Rihanna at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards (L). The artist basking in the sun (R). Photo: JB Lacroix via Getty Images, @badgalriri on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

This large cross design is among Rihanna’s arm tattoos. It was inked in 2014 on the underside of her right wrist. The tatt is surrounded by black ink and mirrors her religion and spiritual beliefs.

5. Tibetan script

Singer Rihanna attending the Ocean's 8 UK Premiere
Singer Rihanna at the Ocean's 8 UK Premiere in 2018. Photo: Tim P. Whitby
Source: UGC

Rihanna’s Tibetan body art is in a secretive spot on her derriere. The phrase roughly translates to lover.

Even though the artist’s fans rarely see the design, she typically showcases the tattoo when posing for her brand line, Savage X Fenty.

6. 1988

Rihanna's 1988 tattoo
Rihanna at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: David Becker
Source: UGC

In August 2015, Fenty decided to commemorate the year she was born by having a 1988 tattoo done on the front side of her right ankle. Like most of her body art, the design was done by Bang Bang.

7. Goddess Isis

Rihanna's Goddess Isis tattoo
Singer Rihanna at the 59th Grammy Awards at Staples Centre in 2017. Photo: Jon Kopaloff
Source: UGC

The Goddess Isis ink on Rihanna’s chest is one of the songwriter’s iconic tattoos. The design is a tribute to her grandmother, Dolly, who passed away in July 2012. The Egyptian Goddess Isis is described as the ideal mother, wife and friend to the oppressed, enslaved people and sinners.

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8. Gun

Rihanna's gun tattoo
Rihanna during a photoshoot. Photo: @badgalriri on Instagram (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Fenty’s tattoo artist selected his tatt design for her. It was inked below her right armpit in March 2009. During a 2015 interview with Elle UK, the singer said the art symbolises strength for her.

9. Maori/henna-inspired body art

Rihanna's henna-inspired tattoo
Actress Rihanna at the 2nd Annual Diamond Ball at The Barker Hanger in 2015. Photo: JB Lacroix
Source: UGC

This ink is among the most visible Rihanna’s hand tattoo. She first got the Maori-inspired art on her right hand during her November 2008 tour in New Zealand.

The design symbolises love and strength. In 2013, Fenty incorporated a henna-inspired ink into a Maori tattoo that had faded over time. It took her artist 11 hours to ink the design.

10. Never a failure, always a lesson

Rihanna's chest body art
Singer Rihanna at the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival in 2017. Photo: Christopher Furlong
Source: UGC

‘’Never a failure, always a lesson’’ represents the star’s motto for life. In a 2010 episode on The Ellen Show, she explained that it is okay to make mistakes as long as they are not repeated.

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This body art, which was inked in 2009, is below Rihanna’s collarbone and written backwards so she can read it in the mirror

11. Shhh

Rihanna’s finger tattoo
Rihanna at the 2021 Met Gala benefit In America: A Lexicon of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: Taylor Hill
Source: UGC

The What Now star got this ink on the index finger of her right hand. The design has inspired celebrities like Lindsay Lohan and Lily Allen to get the same.

12. Rebelle Fleur

Rihanna's neck tattoo
Rihanna at the Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square in 2017. Photo: Samir Hussein
Source: UGC

Does Rihanna have a neck tattoo? The businesswoman caused quite a debate among French grammar enthusiasts with this tattoo.

This neck design was criticised for being grammatically incorrect because, in the French language, nouns come before adjectives. Nonetheless, according to the LA Times, the singer elaborated that the name translates to rebel flower, two nouns, not rebellious flower.

13. Pisces sign

Rihanna's Pisces tattoo
Singer Rihanna at the premiere of Twentieth Century Fox And Dreamworks Animation's Home at Regency Village Theatre in 2015. Photo: Jason Merritt
Source: UGC

What was Rihanna’s first tattoo? A Brazilian artist inked the singer's Pisces symbol in 2006 when she was in Tokyo, Japan. The tatt represents her zodiac sign and is placed behind the right ear.

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14. Love

Rihanna's finger tattoo
Rihanna at the world premiere of Ocean's 8 at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Centre in 2018. Photo: Taylor Hill
Source: UGC

One of Rihanna’s finger tattoos is the Love design on the middle finger of her left hand. She got it in Los Angeles; it is only visible when she sticks her middle finger or holds a microphone.

15. Crown

Rihanna's previous shark tattoo
Rihanna at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center in 2018. Photo: Taylor Hill
Source: UGC

The crown body art is a cover up of a camo shark tattoo inked in 2016 to match her then-boyfriend Drake. It wraps halfway around her left ankle. Fans first spotted the design in 2021 when the star was with her boyfriend, ASAP Rocky.

16. Skull and crossbones

Rihanna's skull and crossbones tattoo
Rihanna at the Paris Womenswear Fashion Week in 2009 (L). The singer at the 2008 American Music Awards. Photo: Toni Anne Barson, Frederick M. Brown via Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC

Bad Girl Riri had this tatt done on her right ankle in 2008 while living in Miami, USA. Although crossbones and skulls are associated with danger, she gave it a distinctive touch with a red bow to give it an adorable feminine twist.

17. Falcon

Rihanna's falcon body art
Songwriter Rihanna walking back to her hotel after dining out at Hakkasan in 2014. Photo: Ricky Vigil
Source: UGC

Tattooed in June 2012, this body art is a cover-up for one of Riri’s earliest tattoos on her left ankle. The Umbrella star disclosed that this ink represents God while speaking to Oprah.

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18. Sanskrit prayer

Rihanna posing for the camera at Cineworld Leicester Square
Rihanna at Cineworld Leicester Square in 2018. Photo: Tim P. Whitby
Source: UGC

This tattoo is inked vertically down Fenty’s right hip. This was Bang Bang’s first body art on the singer.

Even though it was meant to read "forgiveness, honesty, suppression, and control, it was misspelt and incorrectly translated to "long-suffering, truthfulness, self-restraint, fear, calmness, and fearlessness."

19. Egyptian Queen Nefertiti

Rihanna's tattoos
Rihanna at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards in 2013 (L). The singer at The Metropolitan Museum in 2023 (R). Photo: Jason Merritt, Raymond Hall via Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: UGC

One of Robyn’s most creative tattoos is the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti on her left ribcage. She flaunted it during a photoshoot with Terry Richardson in January 2012. Nefertiti, the Great Royal wife of the Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten, represents femininity and fertility.

20. Arabic script

Rihanna's Arabic script tattoo
Songwriter Rihanna at NBC's Today Show 2011 summer concert series at Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo
Source: UGC

Below the portrait of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti on the left side of her rib cage, the American singer has an Arabic phrase tattoo that means Freedom in God. She has repeatedly shown this art when performing or modelling products from her Savage X Fenty business.

21. Roman numerals

Rihanna's shoulder tattoo
Singer Rihanna posing for a photo at Best Buy in 2009. Photo: Ray Tamarra
Source: UGC

Roman numerals are among the famous Rihanna's shoulder tattoos on her left shoulder. The XI IV LXXXVI, which stands for 11 April 1986, represents her best friend Melissa Forde's birthday. Forde also got Rihanna's birthday tattoo in numerals.

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Rihanna’s tattoos are iconic and meaningful. They symbolise various aspects of her life, including family, faith and relationships. Due to the singer's popularity in the entertainment industry, it is no surprise that fans are interested in her body art. As of this writing, she has over 20 known tattoos.

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In the latest news, Briefly published an article about Eve's tattoos. Eve Jihan Jeffers is an American rapper, singer, actress and television personality widely recognized for the hit singles Satisfaction and Love Is Blind.

Jihan has at least eight known tattoos. Discover interesting facts about the hip-hop star’s body art, some of which will crack your ribs.

Source: Briefly News

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