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Chat With Kat: Tattoo Queen & Makeup Mogul Kat Von D

Chat With Kat: Tattoo Queen & Makeup Mogul Kat Von D

Kat Von D is one of the most respected and sought-after tattoo artists in the world an international star from TV’s hit series Miami Ink and L.A. Ink and business woman extraordinaire. 

Her eponymous beauty brand is created in partnership with KENDO (part of the LVMH group who own Sephora). Kat’s cult brand is known for its long-wear, high pigment, and bold colour cosmetics that fuse old Hollywood glamour with a rock n’ roll artistic edge. Her products have been recognized with multiple editorial beauty awards in the categories of colour and complexion, and her studded Kiss Lipstick is one of the top selling lipstick lines in Sephora US.

Kat Von D
“People have always asked me what I would be doing if I wasn’t a tattooer, and the only thing I could imagine being as fulfilling as tattooing would be doing makeup,” says Kat Von D. “To me, makeup is one of the most artistic outlets of self-expression, and this collection – a mix of old Hollywood glamour with an L.A. vibe – personifies that.”


We sat down with Kat Von D to learn a thing or two about her world…

Tell us about how you first got into the world of tattoo?

I started tattooing at the age of 14.  At that time, within the circle of friends I ran with, was a fellow who had rigged up a crude, homemade tattoo machine, and having already gotten the reputation for being my little town’s artist, my friends began asking me to design their tattoos, and then later apply them.  But it wasn’t until I was 16 years old that I got into my first professional tattoo shop, where I ended up having to unlearn a majority of the tattoo process that I had been using.

What are your inspirations for tattooing?  Tattooing is different than drawing or painting, since of course, the act of tattooing requires two parties – the client and artist.  Thus making it more of a collaborative experience.  As a tattooer, I see my job as the vessel to carry out the clients vision, so it would be hard to say what inspires my tattooing.

Your favourite tattoo you’ve ever done?  I don’t have a particular favourite to be honest.  But if you had asked me what the best tattoo I have ever done was, I would easily answer that question by saying, the last tattoo I did.  To me, it is important to constantly improve and get better.  When I sit down in front of the most current tattoo, my main objective is to make it the best one I have ever done.

Favourite celebrity you’ve ever tattooed?  I live in Hollywood, so I don’t get starstruck.  Everyone is a celebrity in my books.

Tell us about Kat Von D Beauty? What’s the inspiration behind the brand?  To me, my makeup line is simply the tools to allow people to express themselves through makeup – whether its bold and bizarre, or sweet and feminine.

What makes Kat Von D different from other beauty brands?  I’m proud to say my makeup line is creative in the most unapologetic way.   The colour spectrums are bold, bright, and the formulas are bulletproof – perfect for the person who doesn’t fancy touch ups!

What’s your can’t live-without product/s from the Kat Von D range?  All of it.  There is not one product I don’t personally use.  But if I was stranded on a desert island, I’d say give me my Tattoo Liner and a red lipstick, and I’ll create 100 different approaches to makeup!

How do you get your look to stay-put or last throughout the day?  My formulas are made to be waterproof, longer, transfer resistant, and bold.  So I don’t need to do anything to make it last all day, other than apply it.

Tell us about your health/fitness routine… I dislike working out in general – but I do so, because I was not blessed with the metabolism of a 12 year old.  So, usually my workout regiments consist of pilates and yoga, with the occasional runs.



Five Minutes With Kat Von D

My personal style is: Probably considered bizarre to a lot of people.

My style icon is: Mother Nature.

My favourite designers are: Independent underdogs who make things with their hands.

Key pieces every woman should own: Deodorant and a toothbrush.

Sexiest thing a woman can wear is: Confidence.

My fave place in the world is: home with my cats.

My travel skin trick is: drink water.

In my handbag right now is: My journal, a lighter, my wallet, and a room key.

The perfume I keep going back to is: Miss Dior Cherie

My best beauty advice is: You are what you eat.

My food philosophy is: You are what you eat.

My biggest indulgence: All things from the Victorian era.

My favourite recipe: A good (restaurant) reservation.


Written by Yvette Le Grew

Yvette Le Grew is the former Online Editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, former Head of Digital Content at Westfield & freelance fashion, travel, health & lifestyle writer for titles across the UK, Asia and Australia. Yvette now contributes 'at large' for

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