You may not realise, but top male model Stephen James actually started out as a professional footballer, playing for small sides Brentford and AFC Wimbledon. In 2012 he was scouted by a model agency whilst in Barcelona and since then you can see him everywhere – from Calvin Klein and Philipp Plein (pardon the rhyme), to Diesel and Spanish footwear brand XTI.

It’s not hard to see why he’s proven so successful. Aside from his chiselled jawline and toned body – one particular feature sticks out.

His tattoos.

We’ve taken on the unenviable task of making an inventory of the vast range of symbols, personalities, patterns, and icons he’s had expertly (and impressively) inked onto his skin. Not that it’s easy to keep up-to-date, just look at his latest Instagram pictures and you’ll see he has no intentions of stopping the tide of ink… His latest designs cover the side of his head!


The Hindu goddess Kali dominates Stephen James torso, although you’d be forgiven for thinking it was the Buddha. The fangs and lolling tongue give it away – and she’s a far darker figure than the Buddha. Consort to Shiva the Destroyer, she is associated with violence, time, and death – making her the Goddess of Change. That said, other factions of Hinduism may see her as a benevolent, maternal Goddess. It’s a striking, imposing tattoo with a dark edge that certainly fits Stephen James’ image.

Proud to be British – Scottish-born Stephen James has tattooed major national symbols onto his arm. A portrait of the Queen with a background of the Union Jack, and an etching of the iconic Big Ben tower in London are two – but we dare say there are more hints to his homeland somewhere!

A lover of art, Stephen has practically dedicated a whole arm to Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí – the artist famous for his melting clocks abstract works, as well as being a bit of an eccentric.


Staying within the Spanish-speaking world, his leg sports a portrait of Frida Kahlo with what looks like a smaller image of Diego Rivera, her husband, in her forehead. She is renowned for her self-portraits (and, let’s be fair, her monobrow).


Whilst some of his tattoos seem to be inspired by Eastern religions and cultures – paisley patterns, the prominent lotus flower on his neck, and Kali on his torso – you may have spotted a few stars of David. This choice isn’t quite as surprising as Stephen James is of mixed Scottish and Israeli heritage, and the symbol recognises this. He’s also got the words ‘ROAD’ and ‘ZION’ tattooed on his fingers – Zion often referring to Jerusalem.