A three-dot tattoo design with the nickname ‘mi vida loca’ is going viral – but what’s the meaning behind the ink?
If you’ve been on TikTok this month, you may have come across a tattoo artist who’s revealing ways to cover up ‘mi vida loca’ tattoos. You will have seen this three-dot design time and again, with some celebrities sporting the designs or featuring heavily in TV and film.
Despite being prominent in popular culture, you might be curious as to the meaning of mi vida loca: both the translation in English and what the tattoo represents.
The Focus takes a deep dive into the trending ink and its history.
TikTok learns of the ‘mi vida loca’ tattoo
A professional tattoo artist who works at Ko Studio Art & Tattoo in Sonoma County, California, has gone viral on TikTok this month. The artist shared a video to their ‘Emergency Tattoo’ series in which they covered up a ‘mi vida loca’ tattoo, which is a three-dot design.
They added the caption: “Three ways I’ve covered ‘mi vida loca’ before court/jail.”
The artist then shows ways they’ve covered up the three-dot design using tiny hearts, a rose or a small butterfly. However, some TikTok users took to the comments as they were curious about the ‘mi vida loca’ design’s meaning, even though they’d encountered people with the tattoo. Perhaps they were too afraid to ask?
What is the meaning of ‘mi vida loca’?
The phrase ‘mi vida loca’ translates to ‘my crazy life’ in English. The Spanish phrase has come to be associated with gang lifestyles, Corrections 1 reports. However, the design isn’t affiliated with any gang in particular.
The design usually features on hands, as seen in the viral TikTok video, or around the eyes. The way the dots are arranged also allows the design to take on different meanings. If the dots are arranged as an ellipsis, they can represent the past, present and future. If arranged vertically, this can represent death, life and reincarnation.
The ‘mi vida loca’ tattoo has been described as a way of acknowledging that “my life is crazy, but I’m thankful for it,” or “life may be crazy, but I’m still here.”
The three-dot design can also take on a religious meaning
It has also been argued the three-dot tattoo can take on a religious meaning. The three dots can reportedly represent Christianity’s holy trinity. This is not far from the interpretation that the three dots represent life, death and reincarnation.
Ultimately, the meaning behind the tattoo is down to the individual. However, in the case of the ‘mi vida loca’ tattoo or any three-dot design, there is a wider context to this ink that ultimately defines it.
Some celebrities have a three-dot tattoo
Despite the affiliation of the three-dot tattoo with gang culture, a number of high-profile celebrities have been seen with this ink design.
Late rapper XXXTentacion is an example, who reportedly said the inked three dots under his eye represented: “The Beginning, The Rise and The Peak.”
Actress Zosia Mamet has three horizontal dots on her hand, while singing superstar Beyonce has three vertical dots on her finger, as does rapper Bhad Bhabie, who got the ink for her late friend XXXTentacion. Model Abbey Lee Kershaw has three vertical dots on her chest, while vocalist Justine Skye has three on her finger, and Skyfall singer Adele has three dots horizontally across her wrist.
Ice Cube famously has three triangular dots beneath one of his eyes. However, the NWA rapper-turned-actor has confirmed they are, in fact, moles.