Kat Von D is different. And by her own admission, it started early. “Growing up … I wasn’t unpopular and people liked me, but I was the weird kid who drew and I never felt like I belonged.”

For Katherine von Drachenberg, art was the escape; pencil and paper the means by which this “weird kid” expressed herself. “I’ve been playing music since I was five and drawing since I could hold a pencil,” says the tattoo artist. Makeup was also an expression. “This was another medium for me, and I look at tattoo artistry and makeup and they’re different forms of self-expression … So I never stopped being a tattoo-er and I never stopped being a piano player and I don’t think I’ll ever stop doing my own makeup.”

Makeup, as it were, wasn’t Von D’s craft. “I’m just a huge makeup fan,” she says proudly. And it was this fandom that led to the birth of Kat Von D Beauty, an unorthodox beauty brand that makes no concessions to any kind of idealised notion of beauty. The raven-haired, fair-skinned woman swaddled in tattoos is the antithesis of millennial beauty queens, whose robotic and homogenous images plague our screens, scroll after scroll. “If someone ever told me, ‘Hey, you’re going to grow up and people are going to think you’re pretty or that your style is cool’, I would have laughed at you. I mean, at school I had a mohawk and shaved my head when I was 14 years old, so I was really used to people making fun of me more than anything.”

In evolving the brand from idea to empire, she has been meticulous and, in her own words, “painfully involved”. She is hard-nosed when it comes to almost everything, particularly the things in which she strongly believes. And Kat Von D Beauty, too, is a force with which to be reckoned; a disruptor shaking up the beauty status-quo one Yellow Super Brow, one Tattoo Liner, one Studded Crème Lipstick at a time.

Von D has staked her claim on the market by appealing to a band of outsiders; engaging a collective of girls and boys with a shared experience of exclusion, of difference at a time when the need for a celebration of individualism has never been more pressing. “It’s exciting to see people’s idea of beauty changing and evolving into something that’s way more expressive and exciting,” says Von D. Each product is designed to do exactly that: express, excite, empower. And the messaging is clear: don’t let social structures define you. Be the renegade, the misfit, the beautiful black sheep. A message which may be met with claims of tokenism, but Von D’s nonconformist spirit is genuine and palpable.

At its heart Kat Von D Beauty is an agent of inclusion, a brand that not only breaks free of the normative standard of beauty but embraces diversity, no matter who you are or what you look like. It’s a celebration of the freaks, the geeks and all who dare to be different.

BEAUTY NOTE
Add a little star power to your face. Kat Von D Beauty’s Artistry Collective created this look using Kat Von D Beauty 24-Hour Super Brow Long-Wear Pomade in Walnut and Tattoo Liner, plus a little poof of magic, of course

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