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Posted on Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 5:56 a.m.

Miley Cyrus gets tattoo in Ypsilanti to symbolize her support for gay rights

By Tom Perkins


Tom Perkins | For

(See related story: It's a party in the AAA (Ann Arbor area, that is) with Miley Cyrus)

When a young, blonde-haired customer walked in and requested a tattoo around 9:30 p.m. July 30 at Ypsilanti's Liquid Swordz shop, manager Alex Frantz and another tattoo artist didn't flinch.

Only when the customer filled out her paperwork and Frantz took her identification did he realize who the customer was: singer and actress Miley Cyrus.

"She was filling out her paperwork and I was looking at her ID and I said ‘'Oh! You are who you look like,'" Frantz recalled.

The former star of the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" series and daughter of country star Billy Ray Cyrus finished an international tour in early July and has been hanging around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti while her boyfriend, Liam Hemsworth, is here filming the movie AWOL.


Miley Cyrus visited the J.Crew shop at Briarwood Mall last week.

Denise Murray | For

Frantz said Cyrus received a tattoo of an "equal sign" on her finger to symbolize her support for gay rights and her belief that all people are created equal.

It was the latest tattoo for Cyrus, who also has a tattoo of a dream catcher and several other small items on her fingers, Frantz said.

She's also been spotted at other spots in the area, including Briarwood Mall and Buffalo Wild Wings in downtown Ann Arbor.

Frantz said Cyrus's visit was brief because the tattoo was so small. She spent more time filling out paperwork than getting the tattoo. He described the young starlet as "super down to earth."

"As far as being a person with that big of a name, being down to earth like that was pretty cool — she just talked to me like a normal person," he said.

Liquid Swordz, which is about to celebrate its 14th anniversary and has been open at its 27 N. Washington Street location for six years, has also seen its share of sports stars come in and return for tattoos.

"When U-M's football’s team was good, a lot of the starters went pro, and a couple of them came in here for a few years," owner Jeff Foust said.

Among the notables and favorites were Larry Foote. Foote, a linebacker at U-M who was drafted in 2002, played for the Detroit Lions and has since won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Foust said the athletes who came in tended to prefer tattoos of words. He described one of Foote's tattoos, which featured a baby with a big gold chain running with a football and the words "Ballin' Since Birth" tattooed below. Foust said Foote also had a tattoo with his uncle's name.

Former U-M standout Cato June was selected for the NFL's Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts. Foust said June's tattoo read "Junimus" — a play on the Latin term "maximus," which means "greatest" or "largest."

June's career ended in 2009 after he broke his arm and was cut by the Houston Texans.

Foust said the store has also seen multiple established hip-hop artists and a former drummer for Marilyn Manson visit the store, though he couldn't clearly recall their tattoos' details.

"We try to be cool with professionals when they come in and treat them like anyone else," Foust said. "I don’t charge them any more than another customer or anything like that."

He said the store has thrived in its location near Eastern Michigan University and, perhaps even more important than the occasional star, he sees second and third generations of siblings come in looking for tattoos at the advice of older siblings.

"Being close to the university has been important to us," Foust said.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for



Fri, Aug 5, 2011 : 4:38 a.m.

Tattoos are ugly and I am tired of seeing!


Fri, Aug 5, 2011 : 3:21 a.m.

I have to admit I did not know what tattoos cost but I had an ulterior motive for asking. I have seen so many people with tattoos that could barely afford to put food on the table for their kids. Some of those people are relatives of mine. I just do not understand why tax payers should be subsidizing tattoos by handing out food stamps and welfare checks to those same people!

Dave Coyle

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

FYI we did NOT take out an add in the paper we were called and asked some questions about her visit. As for the quotes in the article Alex Frantz tattooed her but he was never interviewed to be quoted. The guy from the paper talked to me the manager Dave Coyle, and the owner Jeff Foust.


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 10:32 p.m.

Oh..that's embarrassing, A2 what do you have to say about this?


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 8:46 p.m.

A celebrity got a tattoo in Ypsi...sooo...I need a nap.


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 7:33 p.m.

I am curious . . . can I shop with MY dog at Briarwood?

Macabre Sunset

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

How did this story reach the media? Was that also part of Liquid Swordz treating her "like anyone else?"


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Please don't charge the U of M football players any less than you would the general public.

joe golder

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 6:07 p.m.

Funny! Go Blue!


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

""We try to be cool with professionals when they come in and treat them like anyone else," Foust said. "I don't charge them any more than another customer or anything like that."" We have had some celebrities come into our place of business. One of which is a very big celebrity who has been somewhat of a regular for many years. We also don't charge them any more than anyone else. Also out of respect to their privacy, I don't go around telling everybody (except close personal friends and family) and surely don't take out a full page on

Dave Coyle

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 9:02 p.m.

FYI we did NOT take out an add in the paper or call anyone to say she had came in.


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

I am so underwhelmed...

Debra Hines

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 3:07 p.m.

Got some piercings done at Liquid swordz. Love those guys.

Craig Lounsbury

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

step your game up Miley, go to Zingermans and design a sandwich.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

And who says the state film subsidies aren't worth the tens of millions of dollars they are costing the taxpayers. No price is too small to pay to live in a community where Hanna Montana got a tattoo. Good Night and Good Luck


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Can anyone tell me what an average tattoo might cost? Lets say you want a heart that says mom on your bicep? Just curious.


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

jcj, it depends.... how big is the bicep? Seriously though, it's like any labor you pay for - there is an hourly rate. I have 2 tattoos that I got from 2 different places. 1 tattoo took an hour and a half and cost me $100 with tip. The other tattoo took 3 hours and cost me $150 with tip. The 3 hour tattoo has 2 bulls and a Taurus symbol, about 10x4" in size all together. I have gone to reasonably priced places, though. Some place like Eternal in Livonia would've cost me $300-400 for the same thing.

lindsay erin

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

Tattoos generally start at a minimum price of $50, even if they're teeny. They quickly escalate in price, though. You should generally tip your tattoo artist as well so you should take that into consideration.


Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

Ditto Yawn

Homeland Conspiracy

Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.



Thu, Aug 4, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Jeff Foust is a good man. Glad he is getting some free press.