Dove Cameron Tells Us What Her 8 Tattoos Really Mean

It's no Hollywood secret that transitioning from Disney child star to successful, multi-hyphenate celebrity can be a rocky road. But actress/singer Dove Cameron, who broke into the industry with her roles in Descendents and Liv and Maddy, is here to assure everyone that the textbook transition from good girl to wild child isn't in her cards for her — only because she was never a "good girl" in the first place. 
"When people say I am 'turning bad,' I just remind them I got my first tattoo when I was 14," she tells Refinery29, noting that the ink was done without parental permission in a teen friend's bedroom after he honed his skills on an orange. Cameron says she was left with ink that's "so bad, uneven, and faded," but she'd never dreamt of getting it removed — she chalks it up to part of her journey.
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Since then, Cameron has racked up seven more tats, all with meaningful backstories that follow her career evolution into opera, TV, animated features, and now, ready-to-wear accessories. The star just released an affordable line of sunglasses with Prive Revaux, the first step in what she hopes is an eventual side hustle in clothing design.
To celebrate the launch, we sat down with Cameron in L.A. for an interview that quickly turned into a guided tour of every single one of her tattoos, including the one she’s on the verge of getting. Check out her new sunnies (we’re partial to the Cameron, a set of trendy round frames under $30) then keep scrolling for all the details on her ink.
#1: Capricorn Symbol
“I got my first tattoo when was 14 — illegally and without parental permission. My best friend made friends with this guy who had a tattoo gun. He told us he’d been practicing on oranges and was ready. Keep in mind we’re in 7th grade and I still had braces.

“She decided to do it, but then she called me from his house crying because she was scared, so I walked over. She said she couldn’t do it, so I said, ‘Well, what if I go first?’ I’ve always been a ‘fuck it’ kind of person. I got a Capricorn sign on my bikini line because I wanted something that will always be me, even when I’m 85. 

“The next morning I asked my mom if I could get a tattoo and she said, 'No, you’re 14!’ to which I replied, ‘What if I already got one?’
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#2: Gemini Symbol
“I got my second tattoo on my 18th birthday. It’s my ex Ryan McCartan’s sign, and the exact mirror placement on my other hip from my first tattoo. Years later, after we broke up, I realized that my mom always thought it was because I played twins on Liv and Maddie. So I said, ‘Well, fuck it, now it is!’
#3: Sunshine 
“My next one was this little sunshine with my current boyfriend, Thomas [Doherty]. It’s based on the lyric “I know what the sunlight can be” from The Light in the Piazza, which is the show I just finished at the L.A. Opera.

Thomas and I weren’t even dating yet, so it was very risqué to be getting a matching tattoo with this random guy, so good thing it worked out! We started dating a month later. But he told me he loved me a week before that, so it was a very whirlwind thing… Actors — they’re crazy!”
#4: X 
“After that, I got an X with [actress] Kiersey Clemons. We did our first movie together [Cloud 9], and we fell madly in love. On my 21st birthday, we went to Vegas and we were so drunk and Kiersey was like, ‘Let’s get an X and an O, so we’re X and O and bonded! Pinky swear!’ It was pretty cute. She wanted the O for wholeness and I wanted the X because it was at a crossroads in my life — or whatever figurative shit we came up with that night.”
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#5: À Naître Immortal
“I hired a tattoo artist to come to my 23rd birthday party in New York and 11 people got tattoos at the bar. I got ‘À NAÎTRE’ and ‘IMMORTAL’ on my wrists, which means ‘to be born, to never die’ in French. It’s based on a Buddhist saying that means ‘unborn, undying, eternal’. It’s a reminder that this life is temporary, but you are eternal and this too shall pass."
#6: “Matière D’étoiles”
“Right after that, I got ‘Matière D’étoiles’ on my ankle, which is a French translation of ‘star stuff.’ My mom wrote a book called Star Stuff to explain existentialism to children. It never got published, so it was a bedtime story for me and my sister.

"For my mom’s 50th birthday I was like, ‘We are getting a tattoo!’ She agreed but it took me ages to convince my older sister to get her first tattoo. We all three ended up got matching ones on our ankles.” 
#7: Snake
“There’s been lots of mythology that equates femininity with snake-like behavior in a negative way. I got really pissed about that one day and decided to take back the snake. The snake is sexy and it represents new life — shedding the old image, rebirth, transformation and two worlds — so I put it on my middle finger. Call me a snake? I am a snake!”
#8: Do It For Aphrodite
“This is my last one! If you do research on Aphrodite, you’ll find she is portrayed as a sexual entity not bound by gender — with the body of a woman but often depicted with facial hair — and she became objectified.
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"I always used to say to myself, 'Fuck it, bitch! Get up, do this difficult day, do it for Aphrodite!' Then I had a day off in London and got it on my body, because to do something for the raw, sexual, female natural energy of the world — and do it on behalf of that, instead of doing it from a diminished, demure P.O.V. — is both powerful and what we need right now."
#9: Candy Is Dandy
“My dad passed away when I was 15, and when I was younger he used to always have me say, ‘Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker’. I think it’s from Willy Wonka, but it’s such an inappropriate thing for a child to say. He would always send me up to people and be like, ‘Go tell that person what I said!’ It would piss off my grandparents to no end and it makes me laugh so much and reminds me of the kind of person he was. I don’t have any tattoos for my dad yet, so I am planning to get ‘candy is dandy’ soon.”
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