Inking out loud
Tattoo artist Kat Von D and Raw Diva Mickie James both know pain. Covered in ink, Von D has spent hours under an artist's needle. And covered in bruises, Mickie has endured her fair share of bumps as a three-time Women's Champion. It was only fitting that these two resilient beauties got together to dish on Von D's new reality show on TLC, LA Ink, and why Mickie will never get another tattoo:
Mickie James: First off, I just want to say that I love your work. I saw you on the TLC show, Miami Ink, and I saw that you have your own show called LA Ink, which is pretty wicked. So are you excited about it?
Kat Von D: Yeah, we got like the highest ratings TLC has ever had.
Mickie: That's cool. So, how old were you when you got your first tattoo?
Kat: I was 14 years old, about the same time that I started tattooing. So, I've been tattooing for about 11 years now.
Mickie: What was the tattoo?
Kat: I got an Old English style "J". It was the initial for my boyfriend at the time, James. We broke up three years later, but I still have it.
Mickie: Now you do more portrait work, right?
Kat: I do a lot of portraits, yeah. I think a lot of people have the misconception that that's all I do, but it's mainly a lot of black and grey and fine line and realism and things like that.
Mickie: I know it's kind of hard. A lot of artists don't really tattoo themselves that often, but have you ever practiced on yourself?
Kat: I tattooed myself when I was a kid, but not anymore. I mean, it's a lot to try to concentrate when you're in pain, so I choose not to.
Mickie: Can you name a few famous people you've given tattoos?
Kat: Bam Margera, Steve-O, Jared Leto, Sebastian Bach, guys from Green Day and Metallica--the list goes on.
Mickie: Oh, wow. That's a lot. Well, I love wrestling, and I'm sure you're passionate about tattooing, but can you share some of the other things you love to do, besides tattooing?
Kat: Yeah, tattooing is mainly my life, but I've been playing the piano since I was six years old. So, I play classical piano. I also have a hairless cat, so I'm into that breed of cats.
Mickie: Is that a Chinese version, or am I thinking of the dog?
Kat: I think you're thinking of the dog. But I also go to a lot of rock ‘n' roll shows, a lot of metal shows.
Mickie: That's cool. So, how did you find your hairless cat?
Kat: I've always liked them, ever since I was a kid, and I just found a breeder out here. There are not that many in America, like a thousand, so it was pretty hard to get.
Mickie: Tell me about your new tattoo shop, High Voltage.
Kat: It's in Hollywood, and it's basically where they film LA Ink. I have a big crew of like 10 artists here, and they're all sick. I'm pretty proud of my shop.
Mickie: What are your expectations for it?
Kat: I just want to create an environment where everybody's happy to work -- when you come in, it's a good party time. I don't want people to come and get tattooed and feel like it's a doctor's appointment. I have a stripper's pole, a skate ramp and a photo booth, all types of fun stuff. It's a pretty fun place to be, even if you're not getting tattooed.
Mickie: A place for your friends to come down and hang out even if they're not getting tattooed?
Mickie: Oh, that's cool. So, why did you leave Miami Ink?
Kat: There was friction there with some of the other cast members, and it was just time for me to come back home. I never really lived in Miami. I lived in L.A., but they would fly me out to do the show. After a while, I really missed my friends and my family. And then they offered me LA Ink, and it was perfect timing.
Mickie: It's weird how things work out like that, huh?
Kat: I know. It's totally crazy.
Mickie: What do you think our WWE fans will like about LA Ink?
Kat: Even compared to Miami Ink, our show is a lot more rock ‘n' roll. There's more arts, fashion, a lot more interesting people here. Every episode we tattoo a celebrity or musician of some sort. I think it's a good window into their lives, like who doesn't want to see their favorite band get tattooed and understand the meaning behind their tattoo. On top of that, it's an all-female tattoo shop, except for one guy. So, I think it showcases really strong, empowering women.
Mickie: That's cool. Maybe I'll have to come down. I only have one tattoo; I'm kind of a chicken, actually. I really want another tattoo, but I'm really nervous because that first tattoo, on my ankle, really hurt.
Mickie: So, what's next for you?
Kat: I'm really just focusing on the show right now and the new shop. I'm also coming out with my own line of merchandise, trying to brand myself as much as possible. But I just want to tattoo, so [that] when the show comes and goes, I'll still be tattooing.
Mickie: That's awesome. Well, hey, good luck with everything. And thanks for your time.
Kat: No problem. Thank you.