If there’s one gal who has stayed true to herself, it’s Kat Von D. The popular reality series star, musician and world-famous tattoo artist was a keynote speaker at the Los Angeles Makeup Show and gave us insight into the world of beauty. Kat inspired the crowd with stories detailing the success of her makeup brand, Kat Von D Beauty. What really stands out about the beauty line? The names of her products, which are inspired by everything from her cats and best friends to song lyrics and bands. As we have seen from Kat’s Instagram, she is friends with a co-owner of Too Faced Cosmetics, Jerrod Blandino, and she can’t help but tease us on their intriguing collab. Here’s what Kat had to say.
What inspired you to create the beauty line?
Kat Von D: A part of it was luck; at the time, Sephora was on Miami Ink (one of her former television shows.) They were getting so many requests from viewers who were like “There’s that tattoo girl, what color red [lipstick] is she wearing?!” Because I would wear red every day of the week, I didn’t care what season it was or if it was 5am or whatever. They were 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. A lot of people are like, ‘Is this a dream come true?!’ But to be honest, if you would have asked me this when I was a kid, running around barefoot in Mexico, I would have never imagined I would be sitting here talking to you. It’s not a dream come true, it’s beyond that! I have a sense of gratitude more than anything.
What do you love most about this beauty line?
KVD: There are so many things I love about it. Any kind of creative process is amazing to me. I love learning how things work. I remember when I first starting tattooing, when I was 14 years old; I got into my first professional shop when I was 16. This biker who hired me said, ‘Kat, you have to build a machine. The more you understand your tools, the better your tattooing will be. I just remember going, Fuck, I don’t want to weld! But he was so right! The more I understood the dynamic of my tattoo machine, the more it became an extension of me. With makeup and fragrance, all that stuff, it’s been so amazing to understand the creative process and what goes into it. With the gondola (my first display when we first launched the line), if you look at my eyebrows back then compared to now, I was like, Oh my god, what the fuck was I doing?! I can’t believe Sephora would give that girl a makeup deal! But you know, you live and learn and that is what is exciting. My favorite part of anything creative is having an idea and then having the follow through to execute it. Because I think there are tons of people who have ideas and then they don’t do shit about it. And it’s like, man, what good is that idea if you are not going to do anything with it?! That’s a missed opportunity.
How do you come up with some of your ideas for makeup?
KVD: I’m fucking bored of the regurgitated, same shit over and over again. But that’s what is so exciting about makeup nowadays; there are all these small independent companies that are self created, they are not controlled by big corporations that hinder them from thinking outside the box and staying safe with color selections. This is really exciting. I remember when I first launched my line, I was too afraid to launch a black and blue lipstick. And now, there are so many great shades of blue out there and I think that is fucking awesome. So I have my ideas, like I want to put glitter in it! And we just figure out how to make that formulation work; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes a collection can be inspired by architecture and patterns of nature to getting my heart broken or whatever. Inspiration is something I definitely don’t run short on.
What can you tell us about your upcoming collab with Too Faced?
KVD: When we sat down and talked about it, I was just like, Man, this is exciting, because this is a message that is bigger than lipstick and eyeshadow; it’s creating something with a brand that has that same mentality. I think it’s rare to find, to be honest. Nobody has ever done it before which is kinda a shame, like dude c’mon, we are all in the same boat! That is more inspiring to me than saying, hey, insert famous person here and let’s see how many units we can sell. I would rather make something cool that has an emotional connection to it.
How do you find the time to balance it all?
KVD: I haven’t owned a television in almost two decades, 19 years or so. I watch movies and stuff. I am so neurotic about stuff; if you come to my house, you would probably have a better understanding of how my process is. To be honest, I feel like most people maybe would be like, ‘Wow, this house is so cool; it’s so neat looking’ but after a while, they would get bored, since I don’t have much technology. My living room has pianos and stuff, ghetto ones and all fancy ones…I have instruments…my art room has a bunch of paper and pencils and I am just constantly creating. I garden a lot. I am completely imbalanced, which makes for a good artist I guess. I don’t have much of a social life, everything is really structured, and I work really well with that….for me, I live and breathe creating. That’s what I am madly in love with and I have always have been. That’s how I do it.
Who are some of the people you looked up to that helped you find your signature style?
KVD: I don’t have any heroes. That’s like one of my weaknesses. I have people that I admire…growing up it was more based on emotion. Like listening to Siouxsie and The Banshees or different punk rock music, it evoked a certain feeling of being an outsider. I think makeup is truly a reflection of what’s inside, like how we dress or do our hair or whatever, says a lot about what you are feeling inside. Or how you see the world. So, that was kinda my inspiration. I just remember, I didn’t wear cat eye because I knew how to, it just felt right. It was almost instinctual, when I got my hands on my first eyeliner, I just dragged that shit out, I haven’t look back since.
How did you make the transition from tattooing to beauty?
KVD: A lot of people ask me that, I didn’t really make a transition, I just want to do everything. I look at Salvador Dali and he is a perfect example of that. If people tell you you need to be a one trick pony, tell them to fuck off. Dali did literature, poetry, paintings, he created makeup, designed furniture, he even had a cookbook…these are all things one man did. There’s no excuse for not being able to do that. I am not a makeup artist by any means, but I am a really huge fan of makeup and creating it. I am not a tattooer either, but I just do tattoos sometimes. I am not a fashion designer but I know how to make clothes and use sewing machines. It was just what I was meant to do, I am totally down. I don’t want to settle for only doing that, I want to do everything.