Margaret Cho Shows Off Her Ink

This past Saturday night, we had the pleasure of meeting comedian Margaret Cho after her hilarious show at Dodge Theatre. Cho was also meeting with several fans, so we only had a few minutes with her, but it was time well spent because she talked about her numerous tattoos.

Cho, 41, didn't get her first tattoo until she was 35. She'd wanted to get one her whole life, and now she's amassed tattoos all over her body -- on her arms, her legs, her ribs, and her back. To Cho, tattoos are symbols of self-expression and self-love, particularly on women. "It's a celebration of feeling good about your body," she says. "I think women with tattoos are very empowered."

Cho's ink is so important to her that she didn't mind giving us an enthusiastic tour of her tattoos, even though there were 20 people with cameras behind us, waiting to meet her. Read on for a description of Cho's elaborate body art, done by a variety of notable artists.

Both of Margaret Cho's arms are covered in tattoos. Her left arm features a full-color Phoenix bird, done by Nathan Kostechko. Her right arm includes one of her three peony flower tattoos; this one was done by Andrew Moore from Shogun Tattoo in Pasadena. Cho also has a peony tattoo on her back (from Don Ed Hardy) and on her left shoulder (by Mike Davis of Everlasting Tattoo).

The peony flower, Cho explains, is her name in Korean (her Korean name is Moran, which she says means "peony"). The peony tattoo on her right arm is above an ornate tattoo of an eye.

Cho says the tattoo is her "lover's eye," and it's based on a tradition started by Queen Victoria, wherein people would get paintings or photos of their lovers' eyes and be buried with them. Cho decided she wanted her own "lover's eye," and her tattoo is surrounded by images of Victorian-era jewelry to symbolize the tradition.

On her back, Cho has work by both Don Ed Hardy (snakes and flowers) and L.A. Ink star Kat Von D (a big peacock). She has more ink by Hardy on her sides, and prominent tattoos on her legs, as well.

Cho's right leg features a crane, done by artist Chris O'Donnell ("So I can always fly home," she says). She sports a tattoo of a pistol in a garter belt on her left leg, for no particular reason other than "it's very cute."

She was tattooed at a convention once (at the Pomona Fairplex in Southern California in July, 2007). Barnaby from Mom's Tattoos put several cherry blossoms on her leg. Cho loved the tattoos, but said getting inked at a convention felt "kind of sleazy."

Now with more than a dozen tattoos and counting, Cho doesn't plan to stop getting inked anytime soon. If she wasn't still acting on TV and in movies, she says she'd have tats on her hands and face, maybe even a full body suit.

She could be joking, of course, but don't be surprised if Margaret Cho shows up in photos someday sporting face tattoos. We just hope they look better than Mike Tyson's.

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