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TLC Celebrity Tattoo Artist Kat Von D Has a Fast-Paced Life

TLC authorized a spinoff, this time with her as the lead. She sobered up. She buried herself in her work. She set up her shop in Los Angeles as an expression of herself: Candy-apple-red floors, yellow walls, candles, guitars. She describes it as her "church." She hired three veteran tattooers to work alongside her. On the show, she comes across as edgy but feminine. The guests who have come in for tattoos have been the wild, the weird, the wonderful: Rappers Eve and Ja Rule, porn legend Jenna Jameson, Motorhead vocalist Lemmy Kilmister, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Amanda Beard.

Her own body is, of course, a walking advertisement for some of the world's best tattoo artists. She has stars above her left eye (for "Starry Eyes," a fave Crue song), gray and black roses across her throat, "Mi Vida Loca" in elaborate script across her back, "Hollywood" as red-lipstick graffiti across her stomach, her dad's face on her forearm, four of Beethoven, various pin-up queens, skulls, obscenities and Los Angeles symbols.

Her show's ratings soared. Sephora called last year about creating the makeup collection. The company describes the resulting Kat Von D line as "old-Hollywood glamour with an L.A. vibe." (Painted Love Lipstick, $18; Kat Eye Brush Set, $48.) "It sold four times over their projections," Drachenberg says. "It's so gnarly."

She hired her sister as her assistant and her kid brother, Michael, to handle all of her merchandising. And then, suddenly, there was the book and the tour. She's signed a deal for a second book. She says there are tensions with TLC about the direction of the show.

How long can all this last?

"I'm an extremist in almost everything I do," she says.

Kat Von D, American Star.


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