Kat Von D has come forward with more details about her disturbing experiences at the Provo Canyon School.
During an appearance on the latest episode of Paris Hilton’s Trapped in Treatment podcast, the tattoo artist recalled when she attended the controversial boarding school in Utah at 15 years old.
She said of her time in the institution:
“I didn’t see the sun for six months. I didn’t have a line out. It’s not like you could call your parents or call somebody for help. I mean, even if you’re hurt, you can’t call a doctor or even the police or any kind of protective service. So you truly are trapped. … I just can’t believe this isn’t just a narration of a horror film.”
Kat shared that her love of ink had been very taboo for her parents at the time and ultimately became one of the reasons she was sent there as a teenager, explaining:
“My experience was probably a little different than yours because my parents put me in there because they were terrified of the tattoo world, you know. And I don’t blame them at the time. There was no TV shows. There was, you know… the perspective on tattooing was really just about, like, hoodlums and, you know, you’re either a hooker or in a gang or something terrible. And so they were terrified, and they didn’t realize it was just a form of self-expression. So when I got admitted that was one of the things that they wanted to cure me from.”
How did the establishment go about trying to “cure” her tattoo obsession? According to the now-40-year-old, she was told by a counselor that she had contracted HIV from a tattoo! WTF?!
“I don’t know whose idea it was, but at one point the counselor set me aside and basically told me that I had contracted HIV from a tattoo.”
The LA Ink alum noted that after having to undergo a series of blood and urine tests, plus stool samples, she had been convinced by the person, someone she was led to believe was a “qualified” doctor, about her diagnosis:
“And this was after they take your blood and a stool test and a urine test and all that. And so you’re sitting there with somebody who you think is qualified, who absolutely has zero credentials. And they’re telling you news like this. As a 15-year-old, I mean, I was, you know, I can’t even believe that that happened.”
Obviously the claim turned out to not be true. It was just a torturous scare tactic. Wow.
What’s truly shocking is how long this traumatic lie lasted. When Kat eventually left the school six months later, no one ever told her the truth about the fake diagnosis, so she went through several years believing she was living with HIV:
“When I did get admitted out, I was never told that that was just a joke that that was false. I went through my entire life up until I got tested again, you know, at the age of 17 or 18. And then realized that, ‘Okay, cool. I’m gonna be okay.’”
Just absolutely horrible…
This is not the first time that Kat has spoken out at length about the Provo Canyon School. Following the release of Paris’ documentary, where she detailed the mental and physical abuse she suffered from at the same school, the KVD Beauty creator opened up in a lengthy Instagram video in 2020 about her own horrific allegations against the school, calling it the “most traumatic 6 months” of her life.
Speaking about coming forward with her story then, Kat reflected with the 41-year-old DJ that “there’s a lot of shame around” the topic at times, adding:
“Nobody wants to admit that at one point in their life they were institutionalized or that, you know, your parents would send you away to something like that.”
Even more so, the model noted that “people don’t understand that we’re not the only victims in the equation” and that the parents are the “first victims.” Paris then agreed, saying they are “completely conned” by the school and are often “just as manipulated as the children.” Kat even revealed that her mom and dad had to put their home on loan in order to pay for the school as “they believed this place was going to help in some way because that’s what they were sold on.”
Ultimately, the reality star called for a system change with these types of facilities if they remain around:
“If places like this continue to exist obviously there has to be a lot of change, there has to be regulation, and I think a lot more transparency.”
Mhm, that is for sure…
In the end, Kat expressed to Paris just how fortunate they have “been able to thrive” following their time at the school in comparison to others who may not have been “able to cope” since:
“[There are] so many kids that aren’t able to cope as I guess, as well as we did. I mean, I didn’t cope very well through, you know, the first few years I drank until I was blind. You know, that’s no way to live. We can grow from this and become stronger, but there’s some scarring, and that’s the hand that we’re dealt, you know, and now it’s just our job to try our best to fix all that as best as we can. You know, I don’t want to be a victim. I don’t wanna live traumatized life, and I don’t want you to have insomnia, you know, like you do. And you don’t deserve that. Nobody does.”
Wow. There’s no doubt that Paris and Kat speaking out about their awful experiences at Provo Canyon School that they’ll be helping someone who went through something similar.
Reactions, Perezcious readers? Let us know in the comments.
[Image via WENN/Kat Von D/Instagram]