Being acknowledged as a Latina is always exciting for Kat Von D on a personal level.
The tattoo artist, author, musician, activist and business woman received the 2018 Latino Spirit Award for Achievement in Business & Entertainment on May 7 at the state Capitol.
“It’s always exiting for me personally to be acknowledged as a Latina, just because I think most people assume that I am a white girl. So it is nice,” said Von D, who was born in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, México.
“I think being a Latina can transcend what skin color your are. And I think a lot of people forget that. They forget the empathy card.”
Every year, the state Latino Legislative Caucus honors Latinos in categories that range from athletics to business to public service to human rights. The annual ceremony serves as a reminder of the rich and diverse talent within the Latino community.
The 17th annual Latino Spirit Award ceremony took place during the Assembly floor session.
Von D, who began tattooing at the age of 14 in Los Ángeles, opened up her own shop, High Voltage Tattoo in West Hollywood, in 2007. She celebrates her heritage in her artwork.
“We treat people differently base on skin tone and a lot of that hasn’t change over the years,” said Von D, who eventually starred in her own television show, ‘LA Ink,’ which was based on her tattoo shop. “I think we pat ourselves in the back by saying ‘We’ve make great strides,’ but still a long way to go.”
“It’s good to live with one foot in both worlds, because I can be representation of humanity, which is one culture.”
Defying expectations, Von D took the world by storm in 2008 with her extreme-performance makeup collection: Kat Von D Beauty, which is sold exclusively and internationally at Sephora.
The 36-year-old has also released three books: ‘High Voltage Tattoo,’ ‘The Tattoo Chronicles,’ and ‘Go Big Or Go Home.’ They all made the New York Times best sellers list.
Her passion for animals, humanity, and the environment has inspired her activism.
“I think being an animal right activist is probably the one title that I would like to adhere to I guess,” said Von D, who has utilized her business to raise funds for a variety of organizations, including Project Chimps Annual Sanctuary, the Farm Sanctuary and the California Wildlife Center.
“Animal rights is my first and foremost, biggest driving force. Animal rights affect human rights as well, so I think it goes hand and hand specially with what we are talking about here.”
Later this year, Van D – who recently announced she and her husband will become parents of a boy – will be also releasing her debut album and her vegan shoe line, Von D Shoes.
“I am always working on projects weather is a make up line or music or shoe line coming up, and stuffs,” she said. “I usually don’t like to promote myself. I think if you like my stuff you would know about it.
About her vegan shoe line, Von D Shoes, she said “I think we explode animals in a lot of different ways including killing them for whether fur or leather.
“Instead of just complaining about the problems I want to do something about it and create, make it easier for people to live a cruelty free life,” she said.