Before super short and platinum blond hair became the “in” thing, Jean Harlow appeared in a major Hollywood hit and bared the new style to all. Mismatched and unkempt accessories with scrunched hair became a HUGE hit after Madonna released her debut album, aptly called “Madonna” and a slew of fans shortly followed her wardrobe and fashion trends verbatim. So it’s no surprise that the influence of celebrity on the trend of body piercings has the same impact.
The ultimate personal choice, there are many reasons one chooses to go for body modification. Body piercings
can be done for cultural reasons, as a way to stand out from the crowd, to enhance pleasure in intimate situations or even just for the simple fact that people like the look. As with anything, celebrities drive our trends and often create a culture based on their choices and personal preferences. Whether it’s Miley Cyrus or Lindsey Lohan reaching younger crowds with their navel piercings, the signature pierced nipple of Janet Jackson or Mary J. Blige’s nose ring influencing the African-American population – celebrities influence trends. Musicians, actors and athletes reaching their fan base are just as prominent public figures and they have the power to persuade the very fashion statements and fads they are into.
With their instant power to influence tens of thousands of people by way of their personal choices, these pop-culture icons steer those trends in a certain direction – and body piercing is no exception.
Synonymous with independence, a symbol of beauty and strength and a testament to the wearer’s uniqueness, body adornments are just about the most inherent and expressive way to articulate one’s personality. And contrary to popular belief, that personality does not always have to be a brash one. Take Keira Knightley; an English actor with a good-girl image. Her navel piercing is a simple and elegant representation of a young, professional woman unafraid to be who she is and do so openly. Hardly the reflection of rebellion as one mightassociate with a piercing; Knightley tastefully adheres to her own choice and isn’t bothered by any negative connotations that inaccurately are associated with body piercings.
On his official website, there is mention of Dennis Rodman addressing his body piercings in an interview with Playboy magazine. He says, “I tried something bold. I created something that everyone has been afraid of – the Dennis Rodman I was born to be.” His penchant for outwardly expressing himself has made him one of the most recognized and iconic bad-boys of his time. The widely-recognized dual nose rings on either side of his nose, loop ring attached to his bottom lip and standard earrings in each lobe, are instantly known and have added to his celebrity, even within the body adornment community.
Hollywood actor Scarlett Johansson chooses to wear her nose ring only during more casual moments. Notably, during formal events like the Academy Awards ceremony, she has removed her nose ring for the occasion. Janet Jackson’s well-known nose ring has been worn in a unique way often – while her pierced nipple remains less public, aside from the wardrobe malfunction episode from a few years ago. No matter what the personality one has, people identify with the trend and make it their own, in different ways.
The presence of body piercing trends extends far and wide. In the Asian celebrity circuit, the practice clearly shows the global nature and overall acceptance of a trend that stems from cultural beginnings from over a thousand years ago. Widely documented as having been a main aspect of Mayan culture, men and women alike were heavily covered with a multitude of body adornments. A couple thousand years later, the phenomenon was commonly used during the Egyptian era. The significant emphasis on piercings in ancient cultures (and some that exist to this day) is linked with status, notoriety and prominence. This extends further on to African, Middle Eastern and Asian cultures as well. So, not surprisingly the trend, having been carried on for so many years, has reached the newest generations of people on these continents. Ayesha Talia, a young Asian actor, sports her naval piercing – an openly rising trend in the Asian film celebrity circuit, which is closely following Hollywood track. Body modification has been around for centuries and is definitely here to stay. In fact, the once negative stigmatism that was openly attributed to people choosing this form of self expression has all but disappeared. Fast becoming mainstream, if things continue on as they always have, soon enough every second person will be sporting some form or the other of piercing on their body.