Kat Von D swears she isn’t the tough biker chick she’s often made out to be. For one thing, the ardent animal-rights advocate doesn’t wear leather, so that leaves the prerequisite chopper-rider uniform off the table. She also maintains that the simplest things, such as a beautiful chord progression, often move her to tears. “I’m a supersensitive empath, but I like that about myself,” says Von D, at the launch of her new brow collection at L.A.’s famed Chateau Marmont.
What role has makeup played in your life?
“It wasn’t until I discovered punk rock music that I really got into makeup. I started wearing it more as a form of self-expression versus having anything to do with beauty. I was wearing black eyeliner for lipstick and it was a reflection of how I was feeling on the inside. At the time, it wasn’t very accepted — it wasn’t like it is now.”
You launched your beauty brand 10 years ago. What was your original goal?
“Sephora approached me and was like, ‘Hey, you wear red lipstick all the time so we want to create the four most perfect shades of red,’ and I thought, ‘Oh my God, that’s so many lipsticks!’ (Today, Kat Von D sells more than 40 shades of lipstick.) I knew I didn’t want to contribute to what most people’s conventional idea of beauty is. My biggest nightmare would be if people thought, ‘I need to own these products to look better.’ I want them to look at the products and think, ‘I’m so inspired to create!’ ”
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Your line has become entirely vegan and has launched several products that raise profits for charity. Why is this important?
“I wasn’t a vegan when I first started the line but we were always cruelty-free because I always knew there was no reason to f—ing inject bunnies’ eyeballs with chemicals for the sake of vanity. Thankfully, the tide is turning. There are so many brands opening their eyes and realizing it’s not even that hard to change, but there are still the asshole brands that just want to collect a paycheque. Hopefully, they’ll have a change of heart, too.”
You’re now launching a brow range. How did that come about?
“I like to take my time and do things right. For brows, I thought it would be silly to just launch one formula because there are so many different forms of brows. I tend to do my eyebrows really extreme and I know that most people don’t. I didn’t want to just selfishly make myself an eyebrow product, so I made something for everybody.”
You have a badass image. Is there anything surprisingly un-badass about you?
“Oh my God, I’m the biggest nerd on the planet! I’m quite sensitive, I’m a bookworm and I love gardening. I tend to isolate a lot, but now that I’m married, I’m alone with my husband, which is nice because he’s a hermit as well!”
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