"For me, it's an art, and I'm also an artist. I appreciate that kind of art. I appreciate it as long as it has meaning," said Solenn Heussaff about  her taste for tattoo art.

Photo: Noel B. Orsal

In the past, tattoo art was often associated with prisoners and  gangsters. You'd keep your distance from these "pintados" who were a far cry from our tattoo-loving tribal people.

But thanks to some celebrities who proudly display their "ink," having tatoos is now considered a way of self-expression and a work of art.

Some designs depict one's philosophy; others mark cherished names, flowers or hearts—proving by their permanence that love isn't just skin deep.

Now, did you know that Solenn Heussaff has six tattoos in all?

"Yeah, it's six, but I was tattooed nine times," the 25-year-old model turned TV personality and actress informed PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview.

Solenn explained that some of her tattoos were done a few years back; and some were recently added with new designs.

"Like for example this one," she pointed to the tattoo on the lower part of her leg, near the ankle.

"One, and then, two years later I added this one. So, two, but it's still one," she showed the same spot, which has the tattoo of a rosary with a large cross.

PEP noticed that she and younger brother Erwan have the same cross tattoo (CLICK HERE to watch video, fast-forward to 2:30 to see the cross). Erwan's is on his inner right bicep.

Is the cross a family symbol or crest?

"That's the Southern Cross. It's a constellation of stars."

According to www.windows2universe.org, the Southern Cross or the "Crux" is a constellation of stars that explorers use to guide them when sailing at night. By looking at the Crux, they can figure out in which direction to sail without getting lost.

"That helps the marines navigate south. The longest point sa south. If they get lost, they just follow the south.

"And my dad used to be a marine. And then when he was a marine, the first thing he could afford to buy was this cross that he bought for his little sister, a pendant. And his little sister gave it to my sister when she was born. And my dad had two made for me and my brother which we lost. So, we ended up tattooing it on our body," related the French-Filipina celebrity.

If the cross represents her dad as a former marine, the rosary underneath reminds Solenn of her mother.