The Meaning Behind Camila Mendes' Tattoos

This article contains mention of sexual assault.

There is much to be admired about Camila Mendes. First, her acting prowess, which she has demonstrated since 2017 as the well-loved character Veronica Lodge in The CW's hit teen drama "Riverdale." Of course, her stunning beauty, which has captivated many, even her co-star Charles Melton, whom Mendes dated for more than a year until the end of 2019, per People. Her candidness and vulnerability are also worth mentioning; throughout her career, Mendes has never shied away from speaking out about her experiences and personal struggles, whether that concerns her mental health, body image, or her identity as an American Latina, per Entertainment Weekly

Her tattoos, which are a reflection of those said stories and struggles, are also one thing that fans have come to admire about Mendes. In case you didn't know, the "Coyote Lake" star already has two inks, one being her famous ribcage tattoo, which actually tells a dark experience from the actor's past. 

Camila Mendes' rib tattoo has a heartbreaking story

Whereas many people associate their tattoos with light, happy memories, Camila Mendes' ribcage tatt, which reads "to build a home", tells a powerful yet heart-wrenching story. In her profile for Women's Health in 2019, the "Riverdale" star revealed that she was sexually abused during her freshman year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. "I had a very, very bad experience; I was roofied by someone who sexually assaulted me," she said. 

Mendes added that the tattoo serves as a permanent reminder that she can build a safe and comfortable life for herself despite her traumatic past. "Whenever I feel like I'm going through something difficult, I think about what I can do physically for myself," she said.

Notably, Mendes isn't the only "Riverdale" cast member who has been a victim of sexual harassment in the past. In 2017, actor Lili Reinhart also opened up in a Tumblr post about how "a man in position of power over me" tried to force her into having sex. Though she was able to walk away from the situation "before it could get any worse", Reinhart said that the incident left her feeling violated and miserable. "Thinking back on it now, the situation is hard for me to swallow. I was so young and didn't know how to handle the situation," wrote the "Hustlers" star. "I just knew how wrong it felt and that I had been violated."

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

Camila Mendes' latest tattoo

Earlier in the year, Camila Mendes added a new tattoo to her growing body art collection: an image of a fairy sitting on the back of her left shoulder. She debuted the impressive ink, done by tattoo artist Kaiju, in a social media post on February 7. "there's no shortcut to explaining the significance behind this tattoo, so i'd rather not ruin it by trying to fabricate one for social media," captioned the "Dangerous Lies" star. "all i can say is that this image resonates with me deeply and i'm beyond grateful to for turning my confusing word vomit into something far better than i ever could have imagined."

Afterward, she put her tattoo on full display at the 2022 Vanity Fair Oscars Party and at the Met Gala, where she turned heads in a golden dress with an open back detail, as seen on Instagram. Now, it's worth mentioning that Mendes was not the first celebrity to get inked with a fairy tattoo; the design is, indeed, pretty popular among several female stars. The likes of Britney Spears, Lily Collins, and Jaime King also have similar inks, per Body Art Guru and Steal Her Style. But even so, the illustration and the placing of Mendes' fairy makes it special, and surely its story, too — though she has yet to tell the world that.