As actors, the way we look is a big part of our business. Tattoos, piercings and hairstyles can completely change our casting types. This is important because when auditioning for a part, we’re not just being judged on our performance, but whether we actually look like the character. So with that being said, can actors have tattoos and piercings, and how does it affect castability?
If an actor wants to get tattoos or piercings then they can definitely do this. Many famous actors are known for their tattoos. Although the way an actor looks is a big part of their brand and could either increase or limit the number of auditions they get.
If you’re debating getting a tattoo, piercing or bright pink hair, here are some things to think about first.
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Famous Actors Are Already Established
Yes, everyone knows that Johnny Depp and The Rock have a lot of tattoos, but these actors and others like them are already extremely successful and highly sought after. Respectfully, they’ll never have to worry about their next paycheque.
The unfortunate reality is that most actors aren’t extremely successful, and for these actors getting a tattoo is actually a massive business decision. Yes, it is possible for makeup departments to cover up tattoos, but they’re more likely to be willing to do this for already well-established actors, as the process can be tedious.
If the tattoo is important to you, then get it. In my opinion, it’s more important that you be authentic to yourself first, before worrying about the effects it can have on your career. Authenticity is king.
You May Need New Headshots
Every actor knows that good headshots aren’t cheap, but it’s absolutely critical that your headshots represent the way you look on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, if you change your look in a considerable way, whether it be a neck tattoo, a new hairstyle or even a different colour hair, you’ll want to get new headshots.
This can be especially difficult when it comes to hair colour. When your hair dye fades and your hair grows, you’ll resemble your headshots less and less. This may not be a problem if you plan on keeping your hair this new colour, as you can keep the headshots a lot longer.
But if it’s just a short-term thing, you probably won’t want to shell out a few hundred for brand new headshots every few months and you definitely don’t want to give the casting director a nasty surprise when entering the room with a newly-bald head when your headshots show you with shoulder-length hair.
This means that your tattoo sessions or appointments with a hairdresser could cost a few hundred more than just the appointments themselves. This is a dilemma that most actors face at some point, but it’s something you must think about.
In regards to piercings, it’s a bit different. It may be a good idea to have multiple headshot examples with your piercings in and out. This can show you in both ways as a piercing can change your casting type considerably, depending on the style. If done correctly, this can actually be somewhat beneficial and push you towards certain casting types.
Roles May Be Harder To Come By
Sure, people have tattoos in real life, therefore people on stage, in films and on TV will also have tattoos. But the reality is that it’s a lot harder to cast people with tattoos.
Many actors survive by doing commercials in between acting jobs as commercials can pay extremely well. And sure, some brands will be open to working with tattooed actors, but many brands will be hesitant, and this could be the difference between a career and an expensive hobby.
Where Do You Want To Get Your Tattoos?
Consider where you want to get your tattoos. Your hands, forearms and face are pretty much always exposed, these places will be considerably more restrictive when it comes to casting, as they will be seen in every role that you audition for unless you’re planning on making a career as the balaclava-man.
A small tattoo on your bicep, chest, back or any other private area (use your imagination) will be a lot easier to cover up, and won’t be as restrictive for most acting jobs. Although now I’m imagining an actor needing makeup on their behind for an intimate scene… Okay, that’s enough brain power for today!
If having tattoos, piercings, hairstyles, etc is important to you, then get them. Your body is yours to do with as you please. Your happiness and authenticity to who you want to be and how you want to look is the most important thing!
Life is short, live it how you want to. There will always be a role out there for you, no matter who you are or what you look like. Work smart, work hard, and most importantly have fun along the way!