Inked Up

Students and faculty share the meanings behind their tattoos

Josh Yi

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, and he restores my soul.” This is the beginning of Psalm 23, a Bible verse that is very close to the heart of senior Joshua Yi, both literally and figuratively. Yi has a small tattoo of ‘Psalm 23’ written in Korean underneath his heart by his ribs.  

Photo credit: Josh Yi

“I have always wanted a tattoo, but I wanted it to have real meaning behind it,” Yi said. “It wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing. I was inspired by my older sister, who has three tattoos herself.”

Yi has always been religious and talked about how he settled on Psalm 23 as the verse he wanted to be inked on his body forever. 

“At church, it is a very well-known verse and one that encompasses life as a man of faith,” Yi said. “I wanted it to reflect my identity, and since it is in Korean, it does just that as a Christian Korean.” 

Yi even went with a specific tattoo artist whose story he believed in. 

“I got it done in LA by a Korean tattoo artist,” Yi said. “He is from Korea, where tattoos are frowned upon, and he advocated for making them more normalized over there, so I was happy to get mine done by him.”

Emily Shorr Lesnick

After growing up in a culture where tattoos were very stigmatized, Director of Social Emotional Learning Emily Shorr Lesnick has a total of four tattoos. 

“I mean, I knew exactly what I wanted for years, but it was kind of impulsive,” Schorr Lesnick said. “I grew up fairly religious, and in Jewish tradition, if you have a tattoo or if your body is modified in any way, you allegedly can’t be buried in a Jewish cemetery. It took a long time to realize that I could connect with Judaism however I wanted.”

Three out of Schorr Lesnick’s four tattoos reference plays or musical theaters. One of her tattoos references the origin of love from “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and is a visualization of Plato’s symposium about love.

Photo credit: Emily Shorr Lesnick

“The premise is that we were all initially twice the people that we were; we had two heads, two arms, and all of that,” Schorr Lesnick said. “The gods decided to split us, so love is about finding that other half. But there is a warning that if we upset the gods, we would be cut in half again, so the image is a face split in two.”

Schorr Lesnick also has a ring of keys on her shoulder, which references a song in the musical “Fun Home,” based on a graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel. 

“To me, it is about visibility and being seen and honoring elders,” Shorr Lesnick said. “Fun fact, the graphic novel cuts out so you can’t see the whole image, so I asked around and was able to get the original artist to create the full ring of keys for me.”


Daniella Meza

After spending a semester in Italy, senior Daniella Meza decided on a tattoo representing her experience.

“The one on my hip is a lily flower, and I got it done because I wanted to commemorate my time there, as the lily is the Italian national flower,” Meza said. 

Meza also has two more tattoos: a star and a die.

“The die has the numbers 1,1, and 6 on it, and I chose those numbers because they are angel numbers and symbolize optimism,” Meza said.

Meza has an inspirational perspective about choosing to get permanent tattoos.

“They are decisions I made at that point in my life, and that is what I thought was right,” Meza said. “I don’t think it is necessary to dwell on any feelings of regret.”