Nicki Minaj is known to have at least two tattoos:
- On her upper arm, she has a chinese tattoo.
- “Barbie” is emblazoned on her wrist.
On her left upper arm, Nicki Minaj has a tattoo of Chinese calligraphy. The six Chinese characters which are pronounced “shàngd y n cháng zài,” mean “God Is Always With Me.”
It was given to her when she was 16 and was meant to be worn on the back of her neck, but she decided to put it on her arm instead. Nicki claimed in an interview with Billboard that she regrets the tattoo, or rather the placement of it:
“Because it’s on my arm, I wish I’d never had the tattoo.” So when I want to go out with the queen in a lovely evening gown, she doesn’t like my tattoo.”
She said she didn’t want to cope with the discomfort of a neck tattoo, so she put it on her arm.
“I was about to get it on the back of my neck when I asked the guy if he could empty the ink out for me.’ I just want to test how the needle feels, and if it’ll hurt a lot.’ So I was like, ‘Never…’ when he inserted that needle in that bone. Do it on my arm… I already paid for the tattoo; all you have to do now is put it on my arm.'”
She also discussed her mother’s response to the tattoo and her views that she was too young for it:
“I was trying to figure out how I was going to explain it to my mother.” My mother had informed me that I had a tongue ring at the time, and that she was disowning me. ‘I am disowning you,’ she said as she saw the tattoo and tongue ring. ‘You should not have that,’ she said, and she was dead serious, and I was mortified that I had gotten the tattoo. I ultimately got rid of the tongue ring, although I was probably around 16 at the time. He’s far too young. At the age of 16, 15, or 13, you have no notion what you want to put on your body. You must wait until you are at least 21 years old to make a decision and for your brain to begin to grow.”
When asked if she would do it again, she said, “Yes.”
“I wouldn’t do that again,” she says. I’d have had a single Chinese character right there on my neck. I wouldn’t do that again, though.”
Until she received a second tattoo in 2018, this was her sole tattoo for the bulk of her career.
Nicki Minaj has a second tattoo on the inside of her right wrist that reads “Barbie.” She identified herself with the Barbies as a symbol of feminine strength throughout her career. To her, the doll collection exemplifies how beauty can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Wonderland was informed by her. “I think Barbie is excellent because it doesn’t only focus on beauty — there are Barbies that work, and they have a variety of vocations now.” They also come in a variety of colors and haircuts, which I like. So I believe they’ve reached a place where they’re teaching girls that it’s OK to not look or act like the classic Barbie.”
She refers to her followers as Barbz, and she has referred to herself as a Barbie so frequently that her Barbie persona has taken on a life of its own. “At this point, it’s clearly a movement,” she told MTV. “People really relate with me because of that, and I don’t believe we think of the plastic little doll with the blond hair anymore when we say ‘Barbie.'”
During the recording of her album Queen in June 2018, she received a “Barbie” tattoo. VH1’s “Black Ink Crew Chicago” taped the tattoo session for an episode. She contacted Chicago-based tattoo artist Ryan Henry, who happened to be in Los Angeles at the time, and he agreed to meet her at the recording studio to complete the tattoo. “I have an album called Queen, and I want to remember this time in my life because it’s the finest time I’ve ever had recording an album.” So I’m going to get a tattoo to memorialize it.”
“I’m afraid to put it here [on my wrist] since everyone claims it hurts, but I really want to do it here,” she said to the artist, who assured her that she would be OK. She was willing to face the discomfort in order to receive the tattoo at the area where she most want it, having learned her lesson from the tattoo on her arm that she had originally wanted on her neck and regretted changing her mind on.
However, it was excruciatingly painful! She can be heard screaming out in pain in a video she livestreamed on Instagram. It was so awful that she had to stop and numb the region halfway through. When it was finished, she complained to artist Ryan that he hadn’t adequately informed her about the extent of the pain. But he was watching out for her best interests and didn’t want her to back down because he knew she preferred the wrist. In the end, she was pleased with the outcome.