See what’s in Kat Von D’s bag

From packaging design to testing prototypes, Kat Von D of Miami Ink fame is totally hands-on

American tattoo artist and television personality Kat Von D, 34, may be known for her goth-rock look, but her make-up line has enough variety to "pleasantly surprise" fans in Singapore, she says.

Speaking to The Straits Times, the Mexican-born bachelorette, whose real name is Katherine von Drachenberg, says: "Even though I dress a certain way and do my make-up a certain way, that is not what my make-up line is intended for. The line gives you the tools to express yourself in whichever way you want."

She was in Singapore last month for the launch of her eponymous beauty brand here. The label, which started in the United States in 2008, began selling at Sephora stores islandwide last month.

With her jet-black hair, fair complexion and bright red lips, the entrepreneur's style is a mix of old-school Hollywood glamour and vampishness.

However, when she comes up with new products for the line, she often keeps her mother in mind.

Kat Von D says she is "110 per cent" involved in her make-up line. PHOTOS: DIOS VINCOY JR FOR THE STRAITS TIMES


  • I don't wear or buy leather any more, so this is probably the last piece of leather that I am okay with carrying because it was my father's medical bag from the 1970s when he was a missionary in Mexico. It has the original tag with his signature. Out of all the purses that I have had, this is the one that gets the most compliments.

  • Things in her bag


    These are my go-to brushes because I can use them for my eyebrows, to put on eyeliner and get an eyeshadow look. I could even use them for contouring in an emergency. The flat blending brush also works as a lip brush.


    These are my default colours: Lolita, which is a neutral dusty rose; and Underage Red, which is my favourite matte red. I cannot live without these shades.


    My hair gets tangled easily, so it is nice to have something to keep it neat.


    This is from my favourite sunglasses company from Australia. I love its aesthetic and that it is handcrafted.


    I never leave home without a pencil. Whenever I get an idea or an inspiration, I would write it down or sketch it. The notebook has things such as song lyrics, names and telephone numbers of people I need to contact, sketches for marketing ideas and clothing that I want to make.


    I'm always testing products that are coming out. This is a final production and I drew the packaging design myself. This is probably coming out only next year.


    This jewellery company based in London made the original skull ring in the 1970s and I collect its stuff. I left the rings in my bag because I took them off when I went through the security checkpoint at the airport. The one with the snake is new - I bought it when I was in London in June. I've had the bigger one for years.

"I always think: 'Can my mum, who looks like a regular lady, wear this?' That is the beauty of make-up - the versatility and the duality."

A cult favourite among beauty junkies, the brand is known for its heavily pigmented Everlasting Liquid Lipstick ($31) and long-lasting Tattoo Liner eyeliner ($32).

The liquid lipstick, which is available in 26 shades, including black and green, and more traditional reds and nudes, is the No. 1 selling lipstick line in Sephora in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia.

None of the products is tested on animals.

Von D, a vegan and a strong advocate against animal-testing, hopes to take it a step further by making the line fully vegan by the end of the year.

The collection is about 98 per cent vegan. The label defines this as products that do not contain any animal products or by-products, and have not been tested on animals.

On her involvement with the brand, the make-up enthusiast says she is "110 per cent involved".

From coming up with themes for the collection and naming products to hand-drawing packaging concepts and testing prototypes, she is totally hands-on.

"I can't think of one process that I am not involved in. It is nice but also scary because if it fails, it comes back to me. But if it succeeds, I think we can all celebrate together and that is good."

Von D first rose to fame as a tattoo artist on reality TV series Miami Ink (2005-2007) and its subsequent spin-off, LA Ink (2007-2011).

The latter focused on artists who worked alongside Von D at her tattoo shop, High Voltage Tattoo, in Los Angeles.

Although her all-black ensemble and killer heels may seem intimidating, she smiles easily and talks about her work openly.

On the future of Kat Von D make-up, she says there is much in store for the brand.

"I do not have a shortage of ideas. My biggest fear is that I will not be able to produce everything that I dream of before I die. But I will die trying."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline 'Tattoo artist with a make-up line'. Print Edition | Subscribe