Lena Dunham’s New Tattoos Have Wild and Wonderful Meanings

Kristine Solomon
Lena Dunham sporting an upper-arm tattoo
Lena Dunham added two funky new tattoos to her collection — and had an old one restored. (Photo: Getty)

When Lena Dunham gets a tattoo, she goes big — well, most of the time. Such is the case with the two new tattoos Dunham debuted on her Instagram on Sunday.

One shows the dynamic form — including trademark flowing hair — of skateboarding legend Laura Thornhill Caswell, who broke ground in the 1970s as one of the first prominent professional skateboarders. One of Thornhill Caswell’s crowning achievements includes having won first place in a major slalom and freestyle event in 1975 — at age 13! — which earned her a sponsorship with prominent skating brand Logan Earth Ski.

In fact, according to the Skateboarding Hall of Fame & Museum, where she’s an inductee, the icon “won or placed in nearly every women’s competition organized and sometimes even competed against and beat the boys.” She became the first female to have a custom skateboard created in her honor.

Dunham captioned the image of her new ink, “@langleyfox illustration of living legend @laurathornhillcaswell. Cuz sometimes I really need a reminder that we came here to rip s*** up…” The tattoo is on Dunham’s abdomen, but it was placed very deliberately. “Plz note she’s riding one of my Endo scars,” the Girls star wrote, referring to the dark scar she sustained from being treated for endometriosis, which is “an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

But Dunham didn’t stop there. She debuted a second tattoo — this one with a different kind of significance attached. In orange ink, “The Odeon” is spelled out across Dunham’s rear end in all caps, in a font similar to the neon signage of the establishment it pays tribute to. “And because I’m an officially deranged daughter of TriBeCa, the Odeon neon sign now lives on my ass for life,” Dunham captioned the photo of the sizable emblem.

For the uninitiated, the Odeon is a landmark in New York City’s downtown TriBeCa neighborhood. If its walls could talk, the legendary restaurant would have quite a few fascinating stories to tell. An article in Vanity Fair recounts some of the 36-year-old haunt’s most iconic moments, calling it “the restaurant that defined New York’s 80s: a retro haven for the likes of Warhol and Basquiat, De Niro and Belushi, with a cocaine-fueled scene captured in Bright Lights, Big City.” 

It’s doubtful these will be Dunham’s last tattoos. She said in another post that these two tats were additions to a larger collection. The assortment includes an illustration from the children’s book The Story of Ferdinand on her upper arm (an older tattoo that she also had touched up on Sunday), the word “Staunch” on her wrist (a tribute to the classic, kooky documentary Grey Gardens), and a portrait of another children’s book character, Eloise, on her lower back.

The one tattoo Dunham will never get, though? An homage to her boyfriend, musician Jack Antonoff.  “You know what, getting a tattoo of a significant other never seems to go well. It never seems to help a relationship,” she told Vanity Fair. “I think we’ve all been tempted, but having a tattoo of their name is almost like daring yourself to break up with them. So, no for me.”

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