With her performance career on the rise and her new line of Kitty Korvette Purr-fumes increasing rapidly in popularity, I wanted to know more about how this spectacularly spooky vixen got her start and her key to success. And according to Korvette, her love affair with horror and the macabre began with deep familial roots.
“I think my mama is to blame!” Korvette laughed. “My dad has never been one for horror films—well, I am sure he likes the classic Universal Monsters flicks and I know he gets a kick out of the original Night of the Living Dead, but he used to frown upon my mom renting horror films. I am not sure if he ever realized that after he went to bed, my mom would quietly come and wake up my brothers and myself to watch the scary movies with her. I remember being so frightened as I watched images of zombies, monsters, and ghouls, while holding the blanket up to my face. I could never go to sleep easily afterward. We also lived out in the country with a cemetery just up the road, so my imagination always went wild.”
With such a diverse portfolio of business and creative pursuits including dancing, music, modeling and more, it would seem to most a supernatural feat to balance it all so flawlessly. Yet, Kitty Korvette would make the building of a horror entertainment empire appear like child’s play. As with her love of horror, though, the foundation she works upon now began early on in the performance arts.
“I was a dancer first, at the tender kitten age of three. I have loved the stage ever since!” she remarked. “Little did I know that I would become part of a horror-inspired dance troupe here in Austin as an adult. It was a combination of my early exposure to horror films and the years I spent dancing in my youth that made me jump for the chance to perform with Dolls From the Crypt for the first few seasons. Modeling came next in my teenage years, and I am still doing it. I’ve been fortunate to represent some killer companies like Coffin Case, Pro-Tone Pedals, and Peavey, and have been in some cool magazines like Savage, Guitar World, Inked, Magazine X, and Artstrada to name a few. Most recently I’ve been teaming up with the legendary photographer BAD JohnPaul for my 2014 calendar.”
Korvette remains humble no matter the emphatic adoration of her international audience, admitting that she is a private person when not in the spotlight. “I don’t know how I got to be so fortunate, but I really love life and all of the fun opportunities that have fallen into my lap! Balancing all of my passions is definitely the hardest part, as I rarely have time to just sit and relax. I am always working away on more than one project so I cherish any moments of time where I can just have some silence and seclusion to recharge myself.”
Kitty Korvette’s path to horror icon status has been a thrilling one chocked full of brilliant industry stories the most glamorous of ghouls would be envious of. And when one sees the stunning pin-up photos of Korvette, one is not surprised to learn that Elvira herself had a hand in her fate.
“You know, it’s funny because I was always the kooky-spooky goth honors student that was totally misunderstood in school. There weren’t any other goths in my town. But I didn’t care. I frequently got called ‘Elvira’, ‘Morticia’, ‘Beetlejuice’,” Korvette remembered. “I think my first lucky break was when Elvira was doing a look-alike contest at the Spirit Halloween stores, touring across the United States. I was just a kitten back then, and honestly, I just wanted to win that big prize—which was like a $250 credit to the store—so that I could throw a huge Halloween party. I knew I didn’t really look that much like her, but I surely knew a thing or two about make-up, and I already lived the goth lifestyle. I won! It was all so shocking to see how popular she still was (and still IS!) with her fans. We stayed in touch after that, and eventually I moved from where I was living in the SF bay area to Los Angeles.”
Kitty Korvette’s friendship with Elvira began with a look-a-like contest that eventually evolved into Korvette’s participation in the reality TV show The Search For the Next Elvira. Korvette admits that her experience with reality has altered the way she approaches and perceives the world of television and media.
“Cassandra (Elvira) and I stayed in touch throughout the years following the in-store contest,” she said. “In 2007, she contacted me on MySpace, and she mentioned that she was going to have a reality show, and that she really had hoped I would be on it. My response was that I didn’t want to be known for being ‘that girl from the reality show’. I was not down for it. I politely declined. But I was asked again by the casting agent, and then a personal assistant. I really had hoped to ‘die off’ early on! I was honestly shocked to make it to the end. And boy, did I ever learn how they edit clips to make you look like someone that you are not… Cassandra still apologizes about it when I see her. It gives us a good laugh.”
An entrepreneur through and through, Kitty Korvette began to branch out into the development of personalized merchandise and products after the impact of her appearance on Elvira’s reality show cultivated a massive new audience she had not previously had. One such endeavor is the Kitty Korvette Purr-fumes line of custom fragrances. “I learned the art of custom perfuming back when I worked at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, California. I started coming up with blends that were becoming top-sellers, but I never left my recipes written in the store files. That way if someone came to buy one of my blends, I had to be the one to personally make it,” she said with a wink. “A close friend urged me to go into business for myself, and I finally did after I moved to Austin in 2005. I currently have well over 200 fragrances for both men and women, all named after my favorite things. I use only the highest quality oils and bases, and I pour them to order, so they are always fresh. I also never dilute them with alcohol, so they are also very long-lasting.”
This Kitty finds time to play outside of her hectic work schedule, however, and often indulges her passion for the paranormal whenever the opportunity arises. As with, it seems, all of her connections to the darker sides of life, her enthusiasm for “ghost hunting” also stems from early childhood experiences.
“My grandma’s house was clearly haunted. I am not sure if she realized it or just didn’t ever mention it, but my brothers and I began noticing stuff that wasn’t right. She lived on a 1700-acre ranch in a large two-story house that had six bedrooms, three bathrooms, a creepy basement, and even a fruit cellar (like in the horror flicks). When we were kids, she worked for the county, housing and caring for several mentally-ill people. I don’t know the full history of the house, but I do know it was built back in the 30’s and there have been deaths there.”
When Korvette is not hunting ghosts or brewing up a devious new batch of Purr-fumes, you can often find her playing bass with her band Midwest Monster, a self-proclaimed “Hillbilly Cock-Rock” ensemble with gothic overtones thanks to Kitty’s unmistakable stage presence. The evolution of Midwest Monster’s career has been, at times, a tumultuous one. However, today they are stronger than ever, according to Korvette, and are excited about what the future may hold.
“We are influenced by several different styles of music from The Cramps to Devo to Ronnie Dawson to Dick Curless. Midwest Monster began in 2006, and it was great, though there is almost always drama in any band. You are in a relationship with every single person in the band plus their spouse, so hopefully you can figure out a way to keep the peace. Sadly, after three years of playing, we suddenly reached a moment where we knew we were done. About two and half years later, I contacted the boys and asked if they would be down for a ‘one-off’ reunion show. Everyone agreed, and we opened for The Independents when they came through town. It was surreal to be playing with Midwest Monster again that night. It was a great show and the response we got was amazing!”
As for the future of Midwest Monster, Korvette replied, “We are planning to record soon and do some videos. We have a much more laid-back approach to this band these days, however, which is less stressful for all of us. We all have so much going on in our own lives, so we work with each others’ schedules and find the little pockets of time when we can all get together to rehearse.”
2013 was an exciting year for Kitty Korvette who added an appearance in the upcoming film release Sin City 2 to her roster of cinematic features including Marking Time, Strangetown and Mojo Tango. While still under contract and not at liberty to speak about SC2 at this time, she still has a bevy of interesting tales to share and, as with so many of her experiences, it all leads back to the paranormal.
“I was doing a part for a TV show pilot for the TNT network,” Korvette remembered. “The filming location was here in Austin at an assisted-living facility that was built in the early 1900’s. I knew from the moment I arrived that there was something not right with the building that I was in—it felt haunted. A buddy of mine who was also on the set that day was curious when I told him what I thought. So we started snooping around and asking the staff questions when we weren’t on set. They had many stories for us about the different buildings there on the property. We ended up walking over to the old hospital (which is now boarded up and creepy to boot!) and as we walked around it, we found the old morgue, which sits below the ground.”
Kitty Korvette embraces life to the fullest and refuses to ever live with regrets. To the question of her personal philosophy about life and art she responded that she never wants to “get old one day and say, ‘I wonder what would have happened if I had only tried to…(fill in the blank).’”
“Go for your heart’s desires, but also be wise about who you are collaborating with,” she added. “I have learned that there is always someone trying to cash in on your talents and many who will try to ride your coattails when you have worked so hard to make your mark. Avoid the phonies, but be good to those who sincerely love, encourage, and support you. On that same note, life is too short to stay in bad relationships (romantic or friendly) with jealous people who bring you down. Cut them loose. There is a quote that I have read that I whole-heartedly believe in: ‘Don’t let someone who gave up on their dreams talk you out of yours.’ Words to live by.” Korvette is reluctant to reveal her master plans for the year to come saying, “I wish I could tell you the current projects I am working toward, but I am keeping everything under wraps for now so as to not jinx anything. My apologies, but I keep my projects pretty private until I feel it is time to let everyone know my next big move.”
Whatever her master plan may entail, it will no doubt be a thrilling one to watch unfold. While she may be driving her fans mad by keeping the future excitement a secret she reminds people to always “Come by and say, BOO!” if you see her at one of the many horror conventions she graces.