Artist Health

Nollywood’s Tonto Dikeh Gets Big ‘Ol Fat Tattoo Sets Internet Buzzing- Do Tattoos Limit an Acting Career?

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh is one woman who seems to create controversy wherever she goes. Nigerians don’t know what to do with her because she seems completely out of control. Is she really out of control? The actress recently got a larger than life tattoo on her back (while currently on her US ‘Damage’ tour’) and posted the pictures  on  twitter. The pictures went viral and has generated numerous discussions. A handful of Tonto’s  followers asked why she got such huge tattoo. Her response? Homegirl went “area” on them. She cursed these persons out.

Is Dikeh a train wreck waiting to happen or is Nigerian society just too conservative for her type? I’ve discussed the growing tattoo trends here and on my platform, this is one discussion one of my writers has taken on.

In my opinion, specific to her job as an actress, I think the tattoo is short sighted  and could be quite limiting in terms of future acting roles that Tonto might be able to secure. While makeup could be used to cover the tattoos, there is a higher probability most filmmakers would not necessarily want to go the distance. One of the basic tenets of acting, although I am not an actor, is to keep everything neutral. Limit piercings, body tattoos etc. The same holds with modeling. It is not about you. If you get a tattoo, really make sure it can be hidden.

When was the last time you saw an American lead actress have a huge tattoo on her back, especially where some nude scenes are involved? Tattoos that huge immediately limit employment opportunities and roles, especially as an actress of color. I presume while Nollywood is working for Dikeh, her tattoo could also limit certain roles that she otherwise have been perfect for.

In any event, I have learned overtime to be a lot more open-minded to tattoos thanks mainly to the show LA Ink! I was impressed with the many amazing intentions behind permanent markings on the body, but I don’t think it changes anything on the job front. What are your thoughts on her tattoo? If she is playing the role of a village girl and she ties wrapper around her, the tattoo will show. Will you still watch the film or would you think it tacky and move on to the next?

Do you think Dikeh is brave and bold or quite the opposite?

NOTE: By the way, the US ‘Damage’ tour is all about Uche Jombo and her film and is focused on a very serious issue in Nigeria i.e. domestic violence. Should Dikeh have waited to post the pictures after she is done with the Damage tour? Is this selfish on her part and unprofessional? She came for a film premiere and instead of focusing on that, she just gotta take the attention from the filmmakers. Now all the media and the public wants to know about is her tattoo instead of the film?! As in could you do this personal it’s my life stuff on your own personal tab and time??! That gets a “nonsense and rubbish” from me.

Watch LA INK!

Damage USA Tour

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Credited for several firsts in the fashion and entertainment industry, Uduak Oduok (Ms. Uduak) is a fashion and entertainment lawyer, speaker, visionary, gamechanger, trailblazer, and recognized thought leader, for her work on Africa’s emerging global fashion and entertainment markets, and the niche practice of fashion law in the United States. She is also the founder of ‘Africa Music Law,’ an industry go-to music business and law blog and podcast show empowering African artists. Her work in the creative and legal industries has earned her numerous awards and recognitions, including an award from the American University Washington College of Law for her “legal impact in the field of intellectual property in Africa." She has also taught as an Adjunct Professor at several institutions in the United States. For more information, visit her at

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