The Tattooed Makeup Beauty: 20 Facts About The Iconic Kat Von D

Kat Von D, whose full name (according to The Famous People biography about her) is Katherine Von Drachenberg, took the beauty industry by storm back in the mid-2000s when she first stepped into the public’s field of vision. Scroll through her Instagram and you’ll see her gloriously gothic, beautifully bold looks that are pushing the boundaries of the mainstream makeup world. Her alternative style and stalwart sticking to her beliefs have made her a maven for everyone who considers themselves an outsider; a beautiful, unique person who won’t subscribe to the typical trends.

If you look at her Kat Von D Beauty website you’ll find an ‘About’ section that speaks more to her passion for her community than a promotion of her brand. It reads, “if you want to know who Kat Von D Beauty is, all you gotta do is look in the mirror. We are bold, unapologetic, outspoken and different in our own way. We are artists, poets, and lovers. We are the outsiders and the insiders. We are Kat Von D Beauty.” We might be Kat Von D Beauty, but who is Kat Von D? Read on and find out 20 incredible facts about this makeup maven, the tattooed beauty, Kat Von D.

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20 Sephora Came To Her To Start A Makeup Line


Kat Von D never thought she would own a world famous makeup empire back when she was a kid. On her KVDBeauty website, she mentions how it’s not a dream come true, because it’s such an unforeseen turn of events! Her aspirations were ones of art and tattooing, which she achieved very early on. Eventually, Sephora took notice. According to an interview she did with The Gloss, “[Sephora was] like, ‘Who’s this Kat girl?!’ We set up this creative meeting, they didn’t know that much about me, but wondered if I actually love makeup. Much to their surprise, I was like a beauty insider for years, so I was already on board. And so they were like, ‘let’s do the four most perfect shades of red lipstick.’ And I was like, ‘OMG, four, that’s crazy! I thought I was going to make one!” Fast forward to now… Every day is a gift.” And this was all the way back in her Miami Ink days! The switch from tattooing to beauty seemed to be a natural one for Kat, who’s finding the gifts life throws to her precious and far too important to give up on. If you’re not sure how this beauty empire connects to Kat, read on… We’ve got all of the inside scoops.

19 ...Almost Like How Miami Ink Came Into Her Life


Kat Von D has been working hard at becoming an outstanding tattoo artist since the age of 14. She’s good at what she does, and she knew even back then that no matter what happened she wanted to follow her passion. Prick Magazine did a feature on Kat Von D back in 2006, after she’d been on Miami Ink for a little while and was set to star in her own TV show, LA Ink. The Prick interview gives some good backstory as to how Kat Von D got on to Miami Ink. “At 17, she moved to Los Angeles and she has been living in Hollywood ever since. This is where she eventually found a home at True Tattoo, with the talented Chris Garver… Garver was so sure of Von D's aptitude that when Darren Brass was out for an elbow injury, he recommended her for Miami Ink. TLC had been looking for a female artist, and Garver knew they would find none better.” Kat went on the show and stayed on for a few seasons until differences caused her to move on. This was probably for the best though, as it gave her the opportunity to do her own thing and to star in LA Ink!

18 'LA Ink' Followed, And Kat's Shop Became An Icon


Kat’s fond of saying that she never dreamed she would end up where she is today. While it all started with a stroke of luck caused by a bad elbow, it was Kat’s fiery nature that got her to own her own show. TLC’s Q&A with her (back when the show was just starting out) talks about why Kat was passionate about taking over the tattooing-reality-tv landscape. Kat Von D says, “I never wanted to be on TV, but felt an obligation, not as a someone who was driven by money or status, but as a tattooer who honestly and sincerely loves tattooing. If I didn't take this opportunity, someone else would. For me, the thought of a mediocre female tattooer representing everything I love and worked for since I was 14 years old, was blasphemy, and did not sit well with me. This was my opportunity to show tattooing in a positive light, and give it all I have.” And that she did! LA Ink was a successful show that eventually ended in the very late 2000s. She did keep her shop, though, and will still tattoo people today. That being said, she is a lot more focused on her beauty empire now… And for good reason!

17 She's Releasing Her 10 Year Anniversary Collection SO SOON!


Allure magazine has been giving us all of the inside scoops we could ask for in terms of finding out what’s involved in Kat Von D’s biggest launch probably ever. This 10-year anniversary collection is full of incredible products, and she’s been releasing hints on her Instagram for so long that we can’t wait much more. Allure states that “the collection is set to officially launch on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) — a shoutout to Von D's Latina heritage,” and we’re getting more and more excited as the calendar creeps closer and closer to the launch date. All gold everything is the theme for this launch, and the set “includes a gilded Studded Kiss Lipstick, Everlasting Liquid Lipstick, Tattoo Liner, Metal Crush Extreme Highlighter, Everlasting Glimmer Veil, golden brushes and a rainbow eyeshadow palette with 16 shades (inspired by the women Von D dubs her muses) has been causing near social media meltdowns,” Allure says. We can’t wait to get our hands on these products, which are looking as shimmery and shiny as we would expect from a beauty maven who’s all about standing out. It’s like she says on her website: bold, unapologetic, outspoken, and different… In a brilliantly golden way.

16 Another Important 10 Year Anniversary Was Last Last Year


Kat Von D is no stranger to living fast and free. From a young age (which we’ll talk about more later) she was living how she wanted to live, and when you fall in with kids who like to party, that can lead to some tough situations. Kat Von D had some different experienced that lead up to her decision to get on a healthier track. According to interviews she did with both People and The Fix, she realized that indulging was getting in the way of doing her art and living her best life. She says to The Fix, “looking back at my wild [days], I really never imagined that I would be excited about being [healthy]. When you are on the other side of things, you have such a profoundly different perspective on life. On this side, you realize it’s something to be celebrated. That doesn’t mean that I think I should get a pat on the back when I post on Instagram or Twitter about my [healthy living] anniversary… I am proud, but I don’t want to get extra credit for doing my homework." Focusing on drinking water rather than other liquids is a good path to be on. She might not want to brag about this, but we’re definitely happy to congratulate her on living her best life, and inspiring all of us!

15 Kat's Vegan (And So Is Almost All Of Her Makeup)


Veganism, for those that don’t know, has a couple of different variations. PopSugar says that “Kat herself is an "ethical vegan," which means that in addition to avoiding all foods with animal byproducts, she utilizes that philosophy in all aspects of her life (including clothing and accessories).” This has extended to her makeup line and has become one of the most prolific makeup lines to embrace cruelty-free practices. Kat is an outspoken vegan, supporting animal rights and not letting anyone get away with being unkind to our furry, fluffy, scaly friends. In fact, Kat’s so outspoken about her veganism and compassionate beliefs that she was featured on the cover of LAIKA magazine’s sixth issue. The magazine is a center point for all things vegan, and Kat Von D has an amazing interview in it. She’s really inspiring especially when it comes to her compassion. She’s changing the landscape of the makeup world by acting as an example for everyone who wants to embrace a cruelty-free way of life. It’s important to give those options to people and to make them accessible. All the information about her products can be found on her Kat Von D Beauty website if you’re curious about finding out more.

14 You Might Be Questioning Those Stars On Her Face, But What They Symbolize Is Amazing


Back when LA Ink was still new, Kat Von D was doing interview after interview to promote the shop, show, and her own body of art. An interview she did with TLC regarding all things Kat Von D (known as an artist Q&A) gave us an answer to a question that we didn’t know we were curious about. Kat Von D, when asked which tattoo that she has is her favorite and what does it symbolize, answered “my fave tattoo that I have are the stars on my left temple (that includes the stars on my left eyelid). I've always been a Motley Crue fan. The band's first album, Too Fast For Love was so raw and powerful, that till this day, it's my fave Crue album. The song "Starry Eyes" is the only song on the first album to feature a gong, and the cheesiest lyrics ever. I loved that song enough to get the stars on my face.” WOW! Talk about a devoted fan! Kat Von D is a huge music fan, as she discloses in that same interview, and this might make her the biggest Motley Crue fan out there. After all, the only thing that would make for a bigger show of Crue love would be dating one of them… And who would do that? Well, believe it or not…

13 Kat Von D Is So Much Of A Motley Crue Fan That She Dated One Of Them


It’s true! Maybe it wasn’t the fact that she was a huge fan of the music. Maybe it was more the fact that they did genuinely love each other as people. But we can’t help but think of the connection between this love of Nikki Sixx and Motley Crue’s music. The two might seem like a surprising pair, but according to Blabbermouth it was actually one of the healthiest relationships either of them ever had. They state that Kat spilled these beans to Fox News back in 2009: "I learn so much from him — this is the most fruitful relationship I have ever had. We read a lot together and we are really into self-help books and wisdom books and it's cool — I am constantly learning from him… But (being in the public eye) is difficult — anybody who says it's not is lying. Especially being in a relationship with someone who is also in the limelight makes it hard not to pay attention to some of the public's feedback." It’s a shame that such a good relationship had to end (and it did end, back in 2010). Maybe it was for the best though. After Nikki Sixx came a few other meaningful relationships.

12 ...And She Was Engaged (Through Twitter) To Deadmau5!


While this wasn’t her first engagement, it was arguably her most notable one. According to People, Kat Von D and Sandra Bullock’s ex Jesse James had an on-and-off engagement back in 2011. As People reports, Kat wrote in a Facebook post “I am not in any way moving to Texas… And I am not leaving my shop here in Los Angeles, High Voltage Tattoo… I wish Jesse nothing but the best in life and in love.” This positivity followed her into her next relationship with Joel Zimmerman, the man behind the Deadmau5 persona. They were together and planning marriage in late 2012, according to People, who reported that Joel Zimmerman proposed over Twitter. That’s right, folks... Imagine your surprise if your partner proposed over Twitter. Apparently, according to People, they ended up breaking it off a few months later. While Zimmerman was trying to put out any fires that started because of this announcement of their split, Kat Von D posted on Twitter: “[being unfaithful to] your loved one is the most hurtful thing one could do. I hate to have to admit, that this relationship is indeed over.” It sounds like things weren’t as smooth as they appeared. Or maybe Kat was upset over something that happened in the past. It’s hard for us to tell, as that’s something only the couple knows. It seems like Kat just wasn’t having any luck in the relationship department.

11 There Were Issues In Their Relationship As Well - But This Time, It Might Have Been Kat

dailymail.co.uk / wireimage.com

In Touch Weekly had an exclusive story on this back when it first launched, and we’re happy to share all the details with you now. You might not remember this, but back during Kat Von D’s reality TV days on Miami Ink, she had a husband called Oliver Peck. They were married, according to Huffpost, from 2003 - 2007. He’s the owner of Elm Street Tattoo and had stuck by Kat Von D throughout the beginnings of her rise to fame. While you’d think such a long relationship would have ended on mutual terms, Peck still harbors some negative feelings towards Kat. He tells In Touch Weekly, “she's done nothing but [hurt] every friend she's had. She [was unfaithful] to me, got messed up and left me… I don't think anything with her will last.” While we can’t say whether all those things are true or not, Huffpost reported back in 2010 during an interview they did with Oliver Peck that he was still really hurt by what happened. He opened up a little more about the end of the relationship, and it sounds like it was negative for both of them. Kat seems much happier now, and has gone through all of these love life troubles to finally land with her soulmate!

10 She’s Sure That Rafael Reyes Is The One


Kat Von D and her husband Rafael Reyes were married in February 2018. Daily Mail reports that they were married in Beverly Hills, and it looks like they treated themselves to matching manicures to celebrate the occasion. Kat’s Instagram post that celebrates the occasion calls Rafael Reyes “my soul’s mate, my mind’s twin, my best friend,” and those descriptors couldn’t be more accurate! From where we’re standing, these two look like the absolute perfect couple and are the definition of #couplegoals for all of us mere mortals. Kat Von D looks like a magical, perfect being all the time, and Reyes treats her as such. The Revelist released a comprehensive list of all the times that Rafael Reyes went over and above the basic commitment and responsibilities of the relationship. Not only has he been seen dropping everything and supporting Kat at her business launches, he’s also around to lift her spirit up when it gets knocked down. You might recognize Rafael Reyes from his music. Are you familiar with Leafar Seyer, aka Prayers? He put her in one of his music videos back in 2016, The Revelist reports. If that’s not the sign of true artist love, we don’t know what is.

9 She Has No Problem With People Calling Her A "Nerd"


...If people call me a nerd, I’ll take it as a compliment because I know myself, and I’m totally fine with it. I live a very simple life and that is very appealing to me. My time is spent focused on practicing and mastering the things I am passionate about as an artist and as a person.” Kat Von D said this in an interview she had with The Fix back in 2016. She was being asked about her love life preferences and her ideas of the perfect date. She’s proud to be a nerd because it speaks to a level of respect for the person. The quote continues to talk about the fact that she falls in love with someone’s mind, not how they look. This type of respect is what builds positive, healthy relationships. Not to mention how much respect she has for herself! Knowing herself well is a sign that she loves herself. Being able to know who you are and what you like, and to be able to stand up for those things, is something that we can all appreciate. And sometimes it’s something we could all practice. In her interview with The Fix, she talks about living consciously; not letting your judgment or experiences be clouded. That’s an admirable way to live. If Kat’s a nerd, we’re happy to be ones too!

8 She’s Been Tattooing Since She Was A Kid

What were you doing when you were 14 years old? If you were like us, you were probably worried about starting high school and handing in your homework on time. Being 14 probably didn’t involve working with homemade tattoo guns and working on your friends at parties. Kat Von D has always been passionate about tattooing, and starting so young is part of the reason she’s gotten to where she is now. She says in her interview with The Fix, “I am still surprised that I managed to achieve what I did. I first started tattooing when I was 14 years old, and I got into my first shop when I was 16. I really felt like it was a luxury to be able to do something that you love. I promised myself back then that I wouldn’t allow anything to get in the way of my progress, including destructive relationships and drama. I have always put work before my social life.” While her passion and talent might have sparked people to take notice of her, this type of work ethic is what’s continued to push her success. While we’re not suggesting you pick up a homemade tattoo kit and start practicing on your friends, we do recommend that you follow your passion; just like Kat did!

7 And Her Other Love Is Music (Spoiler Alert: She’s A Phenomenal Piano Player)


Pull up any article that talks about Kat Von D’s early life and you’ll find that she was once undergoing training as a classical pianist. Pull up her Instagram and you’ll see video proof! She loves her music and has a long history with the beautiful instrument. Famous People Biographies discusses how “she received classical training in piano when she was six years old, developing a liking for Ludwig van Beethoven’s masterpieces. Her grandmother's love for music and art, along with the Latin culture and punk rock scene prevailing in Los Angeles, helped her realize her artistic interests, which later reflected in her tattoo arts and styles.” While we don’t think she’s taking any piano lessons now, those skills don’t go away. Many of us were put in piano lessons as kids. If it wasn’t piano it was something else; violin, guitar, flute… The list is endless. Learning how to play music is an important skill, and many kids grow up to appreciate the skills they’ve learned (even if they don’t put them into practice). Kat might not be a big performer, focusing instead on her KVDBeauty empire and handful of other artistic ventures, but we love whenever she posts a snippet of a piece on her Instagram account.

6 Kat Is A Self-Professed Workaholic


If you think you work hard, take a look at Kat Von D. While we couldn’t get our hands on her daily schedule or to-do list, we did find this quote from that same interview with The Fix, “I have never had a vacation before. Some people find that very odd. Why wouldn’t you take a vacation? For me, why would I take a vacation from my vacation? I love drawing, I love tattooing, and I love creating. Creativity for me isn’t work. Yes, there’s certainly work to be done like dealing with marketing or dealing with my landlord at the tattoo shop. Sure, that’s work. But from where I come from, I don’t know what it’s like to have things handed to you on a silver platter. Being self-made comes with a lot of hard work, struggle, and sacrifice, but it’s so worth it in the end.” This is great advice to take to heart for all of us artists out there. Kat is inspiring in many ways, but one of the biggest ways is through her unstoppable work ethic. She never gives up and has a great view of what it means to work. She’s been able to build her empire because she doesn’t think of the creative aspect as work. She loves her life, and really, truly loves what she does.

5 Which Is The Only Way She Could Balance All Her Artistic Ventures!


The Fix opens their interview with Kat with a quick snapshot of all of her creative ventures: “She opened the art gallery and boutique Wonderland Gallery in the space next door to her shop, High Voltage Tattoo. Kat has expanded her entrepreneurial ventures to include a cruelty-free cosmetics line that launched in 2008,” and now she’s even starting her own vegan fashion line, not to mention the fact that she’s got a tattoo and music festival out there. Famous People Biographies says that Kat Von D is “credited with the creation of MusInk Tattoo Convention and Music Festival in Southern California, in 2008,” as well as having a few best selling books authored by her. Hello Giggles has also spilled the beans about her new vegan shoe line, which is (in our opinion) the most exciting shoe line to launch since Doc Martins hit the scene. Hello Giggles reported “The entire line is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and made by hand in Florence, Italy. There is a selection of unisex shoes, and none of the styles will be ‘limited edition.’ Folks with harder-to-find sizes will be pleased to know that the line includes sizes five through 12,” which makes us even more excited. Way to build that inclusivity, Kat!

4 She Was Accused Of Romanticizing Personal Struggles


Kat Von D is a big fan of punk music. For someone whose beauty empire is based around having an edgy and more alternative look, the two seem to go together like cookies and punk rock milk. Unfortunately, there’s a little controversy surrounding connections between punk rock motifs, assumptions about the genre, and backlash against Kat Von D’s promotional usage of famous figures. The Revelist, our favorite site for internet backlash stories, points out that the promotional photo she used to launch an eyeliner was very reminiscent, and possibly a recreation, of a Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen photo. The Revelist gives some background to the two of them and mentions how, while they were punk icons, they didn’t have a very healthy relationship. Both of them had personal struggles that shouldn’t be romanticized. The Revelist goes on to mention how the name of the eyeliner in question is a phrase “still used to describe someone who ‘is helpless or incapable of functioning normally, especially due to overwhelming stress, anxiety, or the like.’ While this KVD Beauty liner was named after the Green Day song… it's important to note where that term originally came from — and why it's not necessarily endearing.”

3 She’s Firmly Against Those That Disagree With Her Beliefs…


From veganism to personal empowerment, Kat Von D is an icon for those on the compassionate side. For anyone who wants a role model that’s unfailingly sticking to their beliefs, Kat Von D is one of the best. She’s got a massive following on social media; because all of her posts are public, however, she’s not protected from those that hold different beliefs than her. It doesn’t mean she has to support them though, as a controversial outcome of a contest reminds us. Teen Vogue tells us that the winner of Kat Von D’s Saint and Sinner Perfume contest ended up not getting half of the prize. Kat had seen a post on the winner’s Instagram page that she didn’t agree with. They talked, and Kat told her followers “I personally messaged her sharing MY personal feelings on the subject as to avoid her getting even more criticism than she already was receiving. She decided on her own to not come to my launch. And furthermore, just like everyone has the right to support whomever they choose, I have the right to set my own personal boundaries." Kat won’t back down, even if there’s a contest on the line! We can still find the winner’s pictures up, which Kat then complimented: “I sincerely admire your talent, regardless of your differences."

2 She’s Grateful For Everything She’s Achieved In Life


Kat Von D, whether this surprises you or not, is not a fame-seeker. While she’s one of the most well-known faces out there right now, she’s not running towards the limelight for any reason other than to do the work and follow her passion. She told this story to The Fix during an interview, and we’ve copied it here: “it was really simple. I’m not going to say it was easy because it wasn’t easy, but it was simple. It was like one plus one equals two. If I don’t want to [be unhealthy] anymore, these are the things that I’m going to have to do and these are the people that I can’t hang out with. I knew that there was no way around it. I did those things, and the transition was a little bit tough... Moving forward is a really good thing, but it takes time. You need to respect the process. But I am living proof to anybody out there that you can do it too. I am grateful for having had experienced that struggle because it made me the person that I am today.” Her life might have been full of ups and downs, but her positivity is palpable! Kat Von D inspires us every day with her gratitude, and we hope that she keeps going.

1 And At The End Of The Day, She Loves Relaxing In Her Goth Garden


Teen Vogue finds all the best Kat Von D gossip, and we’re a big fan what they found regarding Kat Von D’s goth garden. Checking out Kat’s Instagram leads you down the rabbit hole into a dark, Alice-in-Wonderland-esque garden that grows exclusively black flowers. She shows them off on her page as they grow as well as she dries them, and it’s no surprise that we’re all head over heels for her green thumb. On her posts, she leaves little snippets of interest about her flowers and explains the background to them. Teen Vogue copied one of her captions that we absolutely love; “Flowers have been associated with meaning for ages [aka pink roses represent admiration, white rose = sincerity, purity and yellow rose = friendship]... In the Victorian era, Black Dahlias [unlike most mourning flowers] represented a good wish for a couple + commitment." This is a piece of history that we’re betting you didn’t know, and we’re happy that Kat is sharing! It seems like it’s not just visual art and makeup that has captured her interests. Cultivating her goth garden shows that Kat Von D really does practice what she preaches: compassion and support for all living things. The fact that it totally matches her personal brand of beauty is amazing, and just makes us love her even more than we already do!

References: inkedmag.com, prickmag.net, tlc.discovery.com, gloss.com, gloss.com, katvondbeauty.com, thefix.com, teenvogue.com, teenvogue.com, revelist.com, teenvogue.com, thefamouspeople.com, hellogiggles.com, revelist.com, dailymail.co.uk, huffingtonpost.com, intouchweekly.com, people.com, people.com, people.com, blabbermouth.com, laikamagazine.com, popsugar.com, people.com, allure.com

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