Ariana Grande‘s tattoos are just another sign of how much she’s radically changed her image from her Disney days. She’s gone from quirky Victorious side character Cat Valentine to the most dominant force in music today. Her current hair and fashion choices have become iconic, and she’s been thrown into countless “feud” stories with other top-tier stars. However, it’s her choice of permanent ink that definitively separates her image from her child star past.
While Grande is obviously proud of her extensive collection of tattoos, they’re not nearly as visible as some other musicians’ ink. It may even come as a surprise to the casual fan that the thank u, next mastermind’s neck, hands and fingers are inked up. In fact, Grande’s most talked-about tattoo is — or was — located directly on her left palm.
Grande got the ink this past January to celebrate the success of her “7 rings” single from thank u, next. The tattoo was supposed to be the song’s title written in Japanese kanji. Unfortunately, the first attempt wasn’t quite an accurate translation between the two languages.
The tattoo read “Qi Lun ,” which doesn’t quite translate to the name of the song. As fans pointed out on social media, it more closely translated to “small barbecue grill.” Grande admitted to the mistake in a now-deleted exchange with fans. “Indeed, I left out ‘tsunoZhi ‘ which should have gone in between,” the singer noted. “But this spot also peels a ton and won’t last so if I miss it enough I’ll suffer thru the whole thing next time.”
A few days later, the singer posted an updated picture of the tattoo with a note thanking her tattoo artist and Japanese tutor for helping her correct the error. “Slightly better,” she wrote. “Thanks to my tutor for helping me fix and to [tattoo artist Kane Navasard] for being a legend. And to my doctor for the lidocaine shots (no joke). Rip tiny charcoal grill. Miss you man. I actually really liked u.”
Unfortunately, it would be strike two for Grande’s tattoo translation. Eimi Yamamitsu, a Buzzfeed News reporter, pointed out that Grande’s fix wasn’t exactly perfect. “Why… how…” she wrote on Twitter, “now Ariana’s tattoo reads ‘Japanese BBQ finger.'”
Grande consulted with her tutor in a conversation that she posted on social media. Her tutor had told her that the best way to fix the phrase was to add another character in between and above the previous two for it to effectively read “seven rings.” However, the placement of the original tattoo made it almost impossible to fit the extra kanji above the pre-existing ones.
The singer and her artist decided that adding the character below the older ink and adding a heart for symmetry was the best option. While not necessarily readable for someone fluent in Japanese, the tattoo was at least complete. More importantly, the message was there for Grande. The success of her music, however, will far outlast the ink on her palm.
Gossip Cop has determined this story is accurate to the best of our ability.