Kat Von D might be a world famous tattoo artist, but her artistry goes far beyond the tingling needle. In fact, this 26-year-old TV star has launched her own cosmetics line through Sephora. A self-proclaimed makeup junkie since she was a little girl, she remembers filching her mother’s lipstick, studying makeup tips from artists on photo shoots, concocting her own special blends and experimenting on herself.
Born in Mexico to Argentinean parents of Italian and German descent, Kat moved to L.A. at age 4 and grew up in the Inland Empire. Since then, she’s made her name on TLC shows like Miami Ink and her own L.A. Ink.
Beauty Director Angelique Serrano caught up with the lovely needle-wielding, glam rockin’ TV personality and discussed their mutual passion: makeup!
Do you ever go back to Mexico?
Yeah, all the time. My mother, until recently, was living in Tijuana and I just moved her back to America to live with me. But we go there often, and one day I plan on retiring there. I love Mexico so much. It'll be nice to have a getaway house and eventually reside there. But I don’t think I’ll ever leave L.A.
It's a perfect mixture of cultures and subcultures. I think Latin culture is very prominent here, which I get stoked about. It's a major influence in my art and my style and everything.
How would you describe your color collection at Sephora?
The Beethoven palette has the more extreme colors, like purples and blues--something you'd probably wear if you were going out to party. And then the Ludwig palette is like neutral and camouflage colors, like browns and tans, which definitely accentuates Latin skin tones...but it works for everyone too, you know? You can always mix and match to the point where it's not gonna look so extreme. You don't have to dress like me to wear it.
How did you pick the color combinations?
When you have a palette with colors that compliment each other, it's a lot easier to come up with different combinations. So for the more extreme palette, I put the color Rad--which is kind of a deep, bright purple with glitter in it--right next to Sinner, which is more of a mauve, violet shade. And you can blend them together. I love when shadows are so well blended that the eyelid looks airbrushed, smooth and perfect.
When did the Sephora project first come up? How long has it been in the works?
We've been working on it for over six months. Sephora approached me about coming out with a makeup line after watching the show, L.A. Ink. I get a lot of emails asking, 'What color red is that? And how do you do that with your eyes?' Then I saw that there were kids on YouTube emulating 'Kat Von D's purple smoky eye'. People started seeing my style as more of a trademark, rather than as weird, and there was a demand for something different. My makeup is inspired by different elements, with my own touch. I like everything from the chola girl look to Sophia Loren.
I don't endorse anything that I don't rock myself, you know? And I've been shopping at Sephora since I was a kid, since I got into makeup. It's so much fun for me. You go in there looking for one color and you come out spending several hundreds of dollars. When I met with the whole team up in San Francisco, I felt like they really understood my style.
Do you remember the first piece of makeup you ever bought or got your hands on?
Well my mom was a beauty queen. Not literally, but she wouldn't go out without makeup, and she always had her hair dyed and curled and permed or whatever was in fashion at the time. So she was definitely somebody I looked up to as far as beauty goes. I remember she had this red lipstick that looked like a real weak color in the tube, but then you put it on and it was like a lip stain--it gave that ruby finish without being creamy or glossy. It reminded me of Lip Poison by Two Faced, and it came in this cute little genie bottle. I remember when I put it on I remember I totally got caught because I couldn’t take it off--it lasts all day. So my mom was like, 'What are you doing in my makeup drawer?'