Kat Von D

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Katherine Von Drachenberg, known as Kat Von D[2][3] (born March 8, 1982), is a Mexican-American tattoo artist, model, entrepreneur, and television personality. She is best known for her work as a tattoo artist on the TLC reality television show LA Ink, which premiered in the United States on August 7, 2007, and ran for seven seasons. She is also known for being the former head of Kat Von D Beauty (now KVD Vegan Beauty).

Kat Von D
Von D in March 2016
Katherine Von Drachenberg

(1982-03-08) March 8, 1982 (age 38)
OccupationTattoo artist, television personality, cosmetics entrepreneur
  • Oliver Peck
    (m. 2003; div. 2007)
  • (m. 2018)

Early lifeEdit

Von D was born in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico.[2][4] Her Seventh-day Adventist Church missionary parents,[4] father René and mother Sylvia[5] Galeano, were born in Argentina,[6] and are of German, Italian and Spanish descent, respectively. Von D has a sister, Karoline[7] and a brother, Michael.[7] She moved with her family to the Los Angeles area at age four and grew up in Colton, California. Von D was classically trained in piano beginning at age six.[8]

Kat Von D credits her grandmother, Clara von Drachenberg, as an inspiration for her in music and art,[9] and the Latino culture of Los Angeles as a major influence on her tattoo art and style.[10] She began listening to the Ramones, Misfits, and other punk rock bands at the age of 12. She got her first tattoo at 14 and quit school at 16 to become a tattoo artist.[11][12]


Von D at the 2007 Calgary Tattoo & Arts Festival

Von D appeared in two seasons of Miami Ink, the reality TV show taped at 305 Ink in Miami[13] for the cable network TLC. She was offered the position after Darren Brass broke his elbow,[14] preventing him from tattooing. She had a falling out with Ami James, which led to her decision to leave the shop and the show.[15]

She subsequently acquired her own TLC series, LA Ink, which chronicled her work at her tattoo shop, High Voltage Tattoo, in Hollywood, California. On the show, she broke the Guinness World Record of most tattoos given by a single person in 24 hours, with a total of 400.[16] Accomplished in December 2007, it involved a Von D-designed logo for the city of Los Angeles, with proceeds going to the children's-blindness charity Vitamin Angels.[17] LA Ink ran four seasons, ending September 15, 2011; TLC announced the cancellation on August 18, 2011.[18] Von D has publicly said that the cancellation was because she chose not to continue doing the show.[19]

Her first book, High Voltage Tattoo, compiling her artworks and tattoos, with a foreword by Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx, was released in January 2009 and reached #6 on The New York Times Best Seller list.[20] Von D described the book as "not an autobiography, you know, 'cause I'm too young to do that. But this is just kind of like a picture-driven outline of my career as an artist. So, you see everything from my drawings when I was six to tattoos that have never before been seen."[21] Her second book, The Tattoo Chronicles, an illustrated diary following a year in her life, was released October 26, 2010, and reached #3 on The New York Times "Hardcover Advice & Misc." best-seller list.[22]

In 2008, Von D created and launched a make-up line for Sephora.[23] She has released new collections every year and has expanded her line to include fragrances.[24] In 2012, through Sephora, her New American Beauty Art Tour benefitted the Art of Elysium charitable organization.[25] In June 2016, she announced that all products in the line would be reformulated to be vegan.[26] In August 2016, the line released a limited-edition lipstick named Project Chimps, with 20% of sales being donated to Project Chimps, an organization dedicated to providing care for retired research chimpanzees.[27] Her makeup line later became mired in controversy after releasing a lipstick called "Selektion". The word "Selektion" is considered widely controversial and inappropriate in its native Germany where it was the term used by the Nazis to decide who would be chosen to either be put to work or death upon arrival to the concentration camps. The fallout led to the lipstick being renamed "Beloved". This choice is even more controversial with her being implicated in other anti-semitic acts.[28] Von D fell under criticism again when she named a lipstick "Celebutard", Sephora quickly pulled the lipstick from their stores and issued an apology.[29]

Von D is the creator of the MusInk Tattoo Convention and Music Festival,[30][31] which began in 2008.[32] Musink is an all ages Tattoo, Music, and Art festival located in Southern California.

On September 2, 2010, Von D opened the art gallery and boutique Wonderland Gallery in the space next door to High Voltage Tattoo.[33] She launched the clothing lines KVD Los Angeles and Kat Von D Los Angeles in the US and Canada in fall 2011, with the latter expanding internationally the following year.[34]

Kat Von D provided the female vocals to the song "Rosary Blue" on X, a 2012 studio album by the Finnish gothic rock band The 69 Eyes.[35] In August 2013, she tweeted that Dave Grohl and producer Danny Lohner had finished two tracks of an album she had talked about recording as early as 2011.[36]

In 2016 she recorded vocals for the electronic music duo, Prayers, on the song "Black Leather", and appeared in the band's video for the song.[37][38]

In 2018, she collaborated with Rooney Mara, Sia, Sadie Sink and Joaquin Phoenix to narrate Chris Delforce's animal rights documentary Dominion.[39] For her contribution to the documentary, she was granted the 2018 Award of Excellence for Narration by Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.[40]

Von D makes guest appearance on three songs on the 2018 album Alive in New Light by IAMX.[41] She also appeared on synthwave band Gunship album Dark All Day in the song "Black Blood, Red Kiss".

On January 16 2020, Von D announced she had sold her namesake beauty brand to its parent company, Kendo Brands (a subsidiary of LVMH). The brand will be rebranded as "KVD Vegan Beauty". According to the company the letters KVD now stand for "Kindness, Vegan Beauty, and Discovery (and Doing Good)".[42]

Personal lifeEdit

In July 2007, Von D decided to stop drinking after her usage of alcohol started to threaten her work.[43] Von D recalled that "getting sober was not easy for me....I still clearly remember the physical pain from withdrawals, the profound desire to die, and the overwhelming sense of loneliness I felt that day that I decided to quit."[44]

Von D has tattooed herself with the emblems of the bands HIM, Misfits, Turbonegro, ZZ Top, Guns N' Roses, AC/DC, Kent, Slayer, Mike Got Spiked and "Slutallica", a modified Metallica logo.[8] She appeared in the music video of HIM's "Killing Loneliness", Alkaline Trio's "Help Me", GUNSHIP's "Black Blood Red Kiss"[45], and "Black Leather" by Cholo Goth band Prayers. Other musical artists that Von D lists among her favorites include Lemmy Kilmister, The Mars Volta and Selena.[46]

Kat is vegan and promotes a cruelty-free makeup line.[47] In 2016, she received Farm Sanctuary's "Compassion in Action Award" for her work on behalf of animal rights.[48]

Von D sparked controversy in a June 2018 Instagram post in which she indicated that she would refuse to vaccinate her future child and would also raise her child on a vegan diet.[49][50] Kat later confirmed, via an interview with LA Times, that she was “completely uninformed” about vaccinations and was sorry about going public about it. She confirmed that her son, Leafar, is now vaccinated. [51]


Von D married fellow tattoo artist Oliver Peck in 2003.[52] They separated in August 2007,[53] and finalized their divorce later that year.[54]

Von D then dated Alex "Orbi" Orbison from 2007 to early 2008, as was documented on the first season of LA Ink. Von D and Orbison move in together in the episode "Kat Cleans Up", and in the last episode of the season, titled "Orbi's Secret", Orbison asks Von D's father for permission to marry her. By the first episode of Season 2, their relationship was over.

From February 2008 until January 2010, Von D dated Mötley Crüe bassist Nikki Sixx.[55][56]

She subsequently began dating motorcycle customizer, West Coast Choppers CEO, and reality TV personality Jesse James.[53] On August 19, 2010, Von D confirmed media reports that she and James were dating, tweeting, "I think it's pretty obvious that we're dating."[57] Von D and James became engaged in January 2011.[58] Von D announced that they had split in July 2011.[59][60] However, in August 2011, Von D and James announced that their engagement was back on.[61] In September 2011, Von D announced that she and James had broken up again.[62] During her relationship with James he courted controversy when it became known that he was a collector of Nazi paraphernalia and was pictured in both a Nazi uniform and doing a Nazi salute. Von D was criticized for her continued involvement with James and lack of condemnation after the incident.[63]

In September 2012, Von D began dating Canadian music producer Joel Zimmerman, known professionally as Deadmau5,[64] and gave him a star tattoo below his eye to match her own.[65] They broke up in November 2012.[65] However, on December 15, 2012, Zimmerman proposed to Von D over Twitter, and she accepted, becoming engaged to him.[66] In June 2013, Von D announced that she and Zimmerman had ended their engagement. Von D cited Zimmerman's alleged infidelity as the reason, which Zimmerman has denied.[67]

On February 21, 2018, Von D married Rafael Reyes, from the band Prayers.[68] She announced her pregnancy on May 8, 2018. On November 29, Von D gave birth to their son Leafar Von Drachenberg Reyes.[69]


Von D was referred to in the Eagles of Death Metal song "High Voltage", which was named after her shop and is featured on their third album, Heart On. In an interview, Eagles of Death Metal's Jesse Hughes said, "I wrote that for Kat Von D, because that girl's bad ass."[70]

Selected filmographyEdit

In addition to cameo and talk-show appearances, Von D's television, film, and video game appearances include:


  1. ^ "Kat Von D". TVGuide.com. Archived from the original on September 14, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Rojas, Theresa N. (2013). Aldama, Frederick Luis (ed.). Latinos and Narrative Media: Participation and Portrayal. New York, NY, United States: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 119. ISBN 9781137361783. Retrieved September 9, 2014. Katherine Von Drachenberg, who was born in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico, and grew up in Colton, California, began tattooing friends at age 14
  3. ^ Von D, Kat (2009). High Voltage Tattoo - The Autobiography of Kat Von D. HarperCollins. p. 55. ISBN 978-0-06-168438-8. Portrait of my father: Black-and-gray portrait of my father, Rene Von Drachenberg, in a high-school photo taken in Argentina in the 1960s. Note: Kat Von D's official biography gives father's name as simply "René Drachenberg": "Her father René Drachenberg and her mother Silvia Galeano were both born in Argentina, though René's family origins were German and Silvia's Spanish-Italian."
  4. ^ a b Von D, Kat (2009). "One Highway to Hell: The autobiography of Kat Von D". High Voltage Tattoo. United States: HarperCollins. p. 15. ISBN 9780061684388. Retrieved September 9, 2014. The first person who ever held me was my grandfather, Carlos Von Drachenberg. He was the doctor who delivered me in March 1982, in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico. I come from a long line of doctors. When I was born, my grandpa was teaching medicine in Mexico as a missionary for the Seventh-day Adventist Church Church while my father finished his schooling in the medical field. My family came from Argentina, but until I was four, we lived in Mexico.
  5. ^ Von D, High Voltage Tattoo, p. 57
  6. ^ "Facts about Kat : LA Ink". TLC. Archived from the original on November 14, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Von D, Kat (2010). The Tattoo Chronicles. HarperCollins. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-06-195336-1.
  8. ^ a b Geist, Brandon (June 2008). "Region of Blood". Revolver: 83.
  9. ^ Von D, High Voltage Tattoo, p. 15
  10. ^ "Kat Von D Exclusive!". En.Terra.com. Retrieved December 5, 2009.
  11. ^ Cooper, Leonie (July 11, 2008). "Life at the sharp end". The Guardian. London, UK. Archived from the original on April 2, 2009.
  12. ^ Sorlie, Amy (January 2009). "LA Ink". American Way. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Additional, August 14, 2011
  13. ^ Hanks, Douglas "For TV's 'Miami Ink," Same is a Love-Hate Affair" (November 17, 2007) The Miami Herald p. A-1
  14. ^ Sharer, Lisa (October 2006). "Kat Von D: Hot Ink". Prick. Archived from the original on November 28, 2010.
  15. ^ * Nieratko, Chris (January 18, 2008). "Kat Von D interview". Inked. Archived from the original on April 1, 2009.
  16. ^ "More tattoos on LA Ink" (PDF). VitatminAngels.org.
  17. ^ "Tattoo Records are Meant to be Broken". Tattoo.com. Archived from the original on April 18, 2010. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  18. ^ Dyball, Rennie; Herndon, Jessica (August 18, 2011). "Kat Von D's Show, LA Ink, Is Cancelled". People. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  19. ^ Von D, Kat (August 18, 2011). Twitter post
  20. ^ "Hardcover Advice & Misc". The New York Times Best Seller list. February 22, 2009. This was the book's second week on the chart, and its highest chart position.
  21. ^ "Kat Von D segment". Anytime with Bob Kushell. Season 1. Episode 7. January 29, 2009.
  22. ^ "Hardcover Advice & Misc". The New York Times Best Seller list. November 14, 2010.
  23. ^ Beth Greenfield, "What Kat Von D's All-vegan Pledge Means for the Makeup World," Yahoo! Beauty, July 7, 2016.
  24. ^ Mantor, FashionNetwork.com, Cassidy. "Kat Von D relaunches perfume line". FashionNetwork.com. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  25. ^ "Sephora Presents: Kat Von D's New American Beauty Art Tour". Sephora. Retrieved June 27, 2012.
  26. ^ Orofino, Emily. "Good News, Animal-Lovers: Kat Von D Beauty Plans to Go Vegan". Popsugar.com. Archived from the original on July 8, 2016. Retrieved October 24, 2016. In an interview with Laika, a vegan lifestyle magazine, the tattoo artist and cover star revealed that she plans to reformulate every product to be completely vegan. ...This news comes after the recent release of the Egyptian-themed Serpentina palette, which is 100 percent vegan. It wasn't until last year that I was like, "What the f$%^ I waiting for?",' she told the magazine of her decision to update her line. ... [which] already is firmly against animal testing and is on PETA's list of cruelty-free beauty brands. Source references print-only interview noted at "Kat Von D Is Radiant on the Cover of Laika and Speaks Candidly About Being Vegan in the Revealing Interview". Laika. June 23, 2016. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016. Retrieved December 30, 2016. The force behind Kat Von D Beauty opens up about veganism, how she's turning her makeup line vegan...
  27. ^ Orofino, Emily. "Kat Von D Will Inspire You to Wear Red Lipstick For a Good Cause". POPSUGAR Beauty. Retrieved October 24, 2016.
  28. ^ https://forward.com/schmooze/403064/makeup-mogul-kat-von-d-blasted-for-anti-vaxx-where-was-the-anger-when-she/
  29. ^ https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/sephora-pulls-controversial-lipstick-amid-public-backlash/article15308842/
  30. ^ Jackson, Nate (February 25, 2008). "Live Review: Kat Von D's MusInk Tattoo and Music Festival on 02/23". OC Weekly. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  31. ^ Spelled "MusInk" per "Musink Tattoo Convention & Music festival". Musink.org. Archived from the original on May 11, 2011.
  32. ^ Reitz, Allison (November 4, 2008). "Motörhead, Social Distortion tour with Kat Von D's 2009 Musink Festival". TicketNews.com. Archived from the original on October 20, 2010. Retrieved October 20, 2010.
  33. ^ WonderlandLA.com (official site)
  34. ^ "Kat Von D/KVD Los Angeles :: Kat Von D's Clothing Lines". Katvondlosangeles.com. Retrieved June 28, 2012.
  35. ^ Gehlke, David E. "The 69 Eyes - X (Nuclear Blast Records)". Blistering. Archived from the original on October 16, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2012.
  36. ^ Ladouceur, Liisa (August 16, 2013). "Kat Von D Album to Feature Dave Grohl on Drums". The Huffington Post.
  37. ^ Lutz, Christopher Ian. "The Loneliest God: Lucifer in Leather". Disinformation.com. Disinfomation. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  38. ^ Blue, Jeannie. "Interview--Leafer Seyer of Prayers". Crypticrock.com. Cryptic Rock. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  39. ^ Court, Emily (March 22, 2018). "BREAKING: New Vegan Documentary 'Dominion' To Feature Joaquin Phoenix And Rooney Mara". Plantbasednews.org. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  40. ^ {{cite web |url=https://hiida.com/july-2018-winners.html%7Ctitle=Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards]]
  41. ^ "IAMX – Neues Album "Alive In New Light" featuring Kat Von D. im Februar!" (in German). Dark Music World. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
  42. ^ Krause, Amanda (January 28, 2020). "Here's everything you need to know about KVD Vegan Beauty now that Kat Von D has left the company". Insider. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  43. ^ "Kat Von D Celebrates Six Years Sober - The Fix". Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  44. ^ Birk, Libby (October 11, 2019). "Bam Margera Slammed on Instagram for 'Gay Keanu Reeves' Caption". PopCulture.com. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  45. ^ "GUNSHIP - Black Blood Red Kiss (feat. Kat Von D) [Official Video]".
  46. ^ "Q&A with Kat". TLC. n.d. Archived from the original on September 24, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2010.
  47. ^ "My response to the "Vegan" controversy". YouTube. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  48. ^ "30th Anniversary Gala". Farm Sanctuary. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
  49. ^ Quinn, Dave (June 8, 2018). "Critics Blast Kat Von D as She Reveals She Opposes Vaccinations and Plans to Raise Her Son Vegan". People. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  50. ^ Merlan, Anna (June 8, 2018). "Kat Von D Comes Out as Anti-Vaccine, Which Is Really a Fucking Bummer". Jezebel. Retrieved June 26, 2018.
  51. ^ https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-03-13/kat-von-d-anti-vaxx-post-cosmetics-vegan-shoes%3f_amp=true. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  52. ^ "Kat Von D's shady past". In Touch Weekly. September 24, 2010. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010.
  53. ^ a b "'LA Ink' Star Sets the Record Straight About Her Relationship with Steve-O", BuddyTV.com, August 16, 2007
  54. ^ "Jesse James' Ex: I Don't Want Our Daughter Going to His Las Vegas Wedding". RadarOnline.com. February 4, 2011. ... Von D, who divorced fellow tattoo artist Oliver Peck in 2007.
  55. ^ Herndon, Jessica (October 8, 2008). "Nikki Sixx & Kat Von D 'Keep Getting Closer'". People.
  56. ^ "NIKKI SIXX Confirms Split With KAT VON D". Blabbermouth.net. January 24, 2010.
  57. ^ Grossberg, Josh (July 26, 2011). "Jesse James and Kat Von D: Anatomy of a Split". E! Online. Archived from the original on July 29, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  58. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth; Herndon, Jessica (January 20, 2011). "Jesse James & Kat Von D Are Engaged". People. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved January 20, 2011.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link) Additional .
  59. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth (July 26, 2011), "Jesse James and Kat Von D Split", People, archived from the original on July 29, 2011, retrieved July 26, 2011
  60. ^ "Kat Von D Walks Out on GDLA Interview", MyFoxLA.com (KTTV website), July 27, 2011. WebCitation archive.
  61. ^ Leonard, Elizabeth; Fleeman, Mike (August 18, 2011). "Kat Von D and Jesse James: Their Engagement Is Back On!". People.
  62. ^ "Kat Von D and Jessie James Split, Again". People. Archived from the original on September 9, 2012. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
  63. ^ https://www.grunge.com/129362/the-untold-truth-of-kat-von-d/
  64. ^ "Kat Von D Dating DJ Deadmau5!". Us Weekly. September 19, 2012. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  65. ^ a b "Deadmau5 and Kat von D break up". Toronto Star. November 13, 2012. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  66. ^ Fleeman, Mike (December 16, 2012). "Kat Von D Engaged to Deadmau5 – Who Proposed on Twitter!". People. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
  67. ^ Coughlan, Maggie (June 27, 2013). "Deadmau5 and Kat Von D End Engagement". People. Retrieved July 8, 2013.
  68. ^ Frey, Kaitlyn. "Kat Von D and Her New Husband Got Matching Manicures For Their Surprise Wedding Day". People.com. People Magazine. Retrieved February 22, 2018.
  69. ^ "Kat von D and husband introduce baby". CNN.
  70. ^ Powers, Nicole (November 5, 2008). "Eagles of Death Metal Part 2: Jesse Hughes". SuicideGirls.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
  71. ^ McNary, Dave (March 23, 2008). "Five Cut Teeth on 'Bleeding'". Variety. Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved October 9, 2008.

External linksEdit