Hey Talkers! – Brittany here!
I just want to say thank you for all your support thus far with this new platform and movement for the betterment of womanhood in general.
I am so honored to have expanded my team and added a new interviewer to the family! Raven Holloway (Ravey Baby) is a woman of purpose with real life experiences herself, that she understands have the power to change the lives of other women if she gives insight and shares wisdom.
She aligns with our mission and is passionate about shining a light on mental heath awareness. You will see much more of her and we hope get you more in tune with the stability of your mental as well.
We are equally honored to feature the beautiful and amazing Kia Denise of Cooking with Kia! It is truly a blessing to connect women who want to see other women grow into their greatest potential; women who get it. Women who are not afraid to collaborate and open up in order help our sisters, however it shall help.
We appreciate you for your support Kia, and we hope you enjoyed the experience.
Congratulations on your book & your business!
Can you talk to me about how you feel about it?
It is wild! It is very wild to me! Never did I think I would put out a book, but now that it is out, it’s like, okay, this is real, like really happening… So I’m really proud. It’s still like…I don’t know! It still hasn’t really hit me yet. I am extremely proud!
Awesome! So how long have you been cooking?
(laughs) FOREVER! My mom had me the kitchen at like… 9. I was the middle child, so if she had to work late or stay out, I was the one cooking. I always watched the Food Network from a younger age… While the younger kids were outside playing, I was inside watching. I’ve always been fascinated by it.
When you think about your passions for cooking, when did you decide to transition from it being something you liked and was excited about, to “This is something I am going to make a lifestyle out of!” ?
So, I don’t know if you know, but I started out in the fashion industry as a stylist, and I was passionate about that as well, but I always had my cooking in the tuck. I was like “How am I going to transition from this, to this?” So I kinda decided to ease my way to sharing my cooking through social media; through posting videos and everything… and it wasn’t too bad… I still feel like I am still trying to prove that I can cook and I am not just this fashion person.
So lets talk about that some more…
There are people out here like this; they have multiple things that they like to do, but they feel that they have to pick one. How have you been able to so say ‘I can do all of these things’… Yes I am in fashion, but yes I can also cook… How do you find that balance?
It’s tricky… that’s why I think I took the Lifestyle route because there is so much that is under that title. So when I share out my home décor, or when I share my clothes… I am sharing really my life with everyone and so it is easier to put up things in that category.
I was thinking about the fact that you are sharing such intimate parts of your life & your followers are growing; I know when I first heard of you, I saw that a lot of my friends had already been following you…
How do you feel about putting so much of your life on social media, with the world? Dealing with critics? Knowing that when you put your life out there, you will get opinions, whether you want them or not?
(Laughs) I was just about to say that… Well, I like to be very transparent about myself. So, I like to share as much as I am willing to, to show people that I am a real person… So yall can see the glitz & the glamor, but the baby woke me up at 4am & if I don’t get my coffee someone is going to get punched! (laughs) I like to share things like that and when I post it, people will say ‘Oh my God, I had a morning too!” So you know, I like for them to know there are other people out there like you going through some of the same things you are going through. That is why I choose to share so much… but I really don’t share a lot; I share what I want, but it is to show people that I am just like you. We aren’t that much different.
As you probably know, my passions are around mental health & being transparent. One of my goals is to connect with as many women as possible, especially the women who others may feel that they have it all together; there is nothing wrong with them…
Can you talk to me about what role mental health has played for you? For example, how you balance your good days with your not so good days? How do you find that balance being an entrepreneur?
There are so many ups & downs, you know? What I find myself doing a lot now, is really talking to myself. If I am having a hell of a day (because you know I still work full time) if it’s starting out rough, I sit & I tell myself, “Lakia,’ (that’s my real name), ‘We ain’t going to have this kind of day. This is what we are going to do: we are going to focus; we aren’t going to let people or whoever get to you.” You know, the same goes for if I am having a hectic day, I sit in my car and take a deep breath. You just have to talk yourself through it. ‘Kia you got this!’
You know the other day, yesterday actually, I almost cried 3 times… and I sat in my car and said “Nah, we ain’t gonna do this today.” And we knocked it out. You know you have to have the confidence in yourself and it takes a long time to get to that point. I would usually stress, you know, cry and shut down; but I finally got to the point where I can talk myself through it.
You talked a lot about taking deep breaths, positive self talk, etc. Are there other techniques or outlets you like to use?
I pray. That’s first. And I have time to myself. My days are nuts. I work 8:30am-5pm, I have 2 little kids, and you know my fiancé is my 3rd child (laughs) as I like to say, so by the time I get to sit down, it’s probably like 11pm at night, and if feel like I need to take time for myself, I’m going to stay up, I am going to read, maybe a motivating book, or maybe an article or something. You really need time for yourself; that ‘Me time.’
I am glad that you said that, because I feel that a lot of women feel that we have to be everything for everybody; and we don’t take time for ourselves. So, I am glad that you mentioned that. I feel that’s something we have to constantly remind ourselves: Take time for yourself; even if its for a few minutes.
I really believe in being a little selfish. Especially having little kids. You have to tend to them so much!
My mom always says, “Selfish is not a bad thing!”
It’s really not; people look at it in such a negative light.
Right, she always says its not a bad thing, so I am really glad you are able to do that.
What does “Mompreneur” mean to you?
BOSS! You are a mom, you’re maintaining your home and you are maintaining your business but you are doing it with such pizzazz. It’s such a beautiful thing having that title. Being a mom is, ha! Nuts! So, running a business while taking care of your kids AND maintaining your home? It’s like, mind-blowing! – And of course at the end of the day we are DEAD tired, but the fact that you can do both is really beautiful.
That’s so awesome!
So, you have mentioned that you still have your full time job, your business, your family, all of these things you’re able to juggle at once. What advice do you have for someone who is reading this? Particularly a person who has an idea who may be nervous?
They need to go for it. If you keep letting this time pass and you are passing up an opportunity… now you’re 40, 50, 60 years old… and you’re like “Damn I should have done that!” Don’t let (your idea) be that “what if?” It’s scary, but so what? Life is scary. Go for it.
Let’s talk about womanhood – Specifically our roles with each other and how we interact with each other. I like to dispel the narrative that women are constantly catty towards each other, and negative towards each other. What would you like to see change in regards to womanhood, knowing that there are some things we need to work on?
There are… I will say however though, I have been in this industry for about 5 years and I have seen us come together like no other. And when we come together it is a beautiful thing. What I would like to see? You know how there are splits? I would like to see EVERYBODY come together. The thing about myself, is that I don’t choose to work with a person like that.
You know I just started following you 2 weeks ago right? I could have been like “I’ve never heard of her. I am not going to interview with her. I’m going to interview with the HuffPost” No! You need to work with everybody. There is an opportunity in everything. So yes that’s what I would like to see change. I want to see everybody working with everybody, not just certain groups.
So let’s continue with that. I like that you mentioned this. This is actually my first interview (laughing).
Yes! I got involved because of Brittany seeing something in me. We have known each other for a long time & our families know each other, but she said to me “I want you to do this.” At first I was like “What?!”
Can you talk to me about a time where either you-yourself have done that (tapped someone’s shoulder) or they have done that for you? And what kind of impact that has had on you?
I am a bully to my friends who have dreams!
I do that all of the time. I have 2 best friends and they started interning with me years ago and we built a friendship. I told them “I don’t want yall working for me anymore because you have so much talent. You need to go ahead and anytime you have any questions, I am there.”
Recently, my sister, she has been doing hair for forever, but she never wanted to work in a hair salon. She would do house calls and I would yell at her. You’re way too talented in this field to not be profiting, REALLY profiting, off of this. So you know, when she saw that I started my cooking classes, she said “You know I gotta get on this.” So now she has started a wig line company and she is so good at it! I am like that with everybody. If I see something in you, I am there 100% of the way.
You can text me at 2am “Kia I think I should do this” and I will be like “Nah I don’t think you should do that, do this.” Yea, that’s me.
Where do you see yourself in, let’s say, the next 10 years?
Whew! Ok, in 10 years I am going to be 40… That’s long. Ohh! Well, wait a minute! (Laughing)
(laughing) Ok let’s say 5 (years).
(laughing) Alright! I’m good. 10 (years)… I’m definitely going to be a full time entrepreneur… I want to have my own restaurant, I want to have multiple spaces where people can cook out of and have events out of; a space around dining – I want to have a few food trucks, I want to take my cooking classes on the road; I just want to be all in you know?
Right now it’s like 80%, 20% is still at my 9-5. I definitely want to be an all-in full time entrepreneur.
That is awesome!
Going back to the mental health aspect, is there anything you do to protect your peace?
Oh I drop bad friends like I drop bad habits hunny!
OH I LOVE THAT!
I used to be a people pleaser; so I wanted to make friends. If someone was mad at me, I would be like “Oh my God, what did I do?” Now? I’m like, “Alright, you gotta go.” I don’t need that negative energy. I’ve noticed that my life is so much happier without the Debbie Downers, the people that are always complaining. You can’t have those people around you, because that energy goes right into you. So I feel that removing toxic people out of your life is the best thing you can do for yourself, and not feeling negative about it. Because sometimes it is needed. I think that’s what really helped me. I also struggled with realizing who was my friend and who wasn’t. Especially when you are in this industry, you never know. Removing toxic people out of my life was the BEST decision ever.
When you think about your family and friends, what role have they been playing with helping you with your business and all the other aspects of your life?
My fiancé is my greatest supporter. He is 100%. I have been out of the house today since 10 this morning. I had another interview at 11am, I had to drop stuff off for classes, I had to pick stuff up. Maybe ran home for like 10 minutes. And he has been home with the boys all day. The house is clean, dishes are done, so having him is just amazing.
The parents, they watch the boys if both of us are out. Because he has his own business as well. He is into Real Estate. So family is like everything. I think that now they are seeing how serious I am, and they are seeing that Kia is about to go all the way with this, they have been helping me non-stop.
Is there anything, obviously what you feel comfortable sharing, that people wouldn’t know about you? Or maybe another idea you have that you feel comfortable sharing?
Hmmmm let me see. Not really. I only watch 2 channels on TV. I was going to school to be a psychologist and I dropped out (chuckles). Let me think of something good. Like I said I do share a lot about myself. Hmm I don’t know. If I think of something I’ll text it to you.
Haha Ok deal. Is there anything food wise you don’t like to prepare? Or that you don’t really like?
I’m trying to broaden my horizons. I don’t like liver. I don’t think I ever will. I don’t like creamed corn. I’m sorry. Maybe if it was an authentic one? My mom used to serve us the canned one. I don’t like Salisbury steak – listen… she (my mom) was a frozen dinner Queen! But yea, everything else I am open to.
Is there a particular technique you would like to master? Or something you are learning how to do?
I really want to learn Fine Dining. Now it may not be something I offer to the public, but it’s something I want to know. I want to learn how to do the little drizzles on the plates. You know I definitely want to learn how to do some Fine Dining techniques, to keep it in the tuck.
So about your classes? How did you come up with that particular idea? Can you talk to us about how you got the idea off the ground and where you want to see it in the future?
I would always get messages asking “Can you do a cooking session with me?” “Can you teach me how to cook?” “Can you come to my hometown and show me how to cook?” So my fiancé and I were brainstorming, and he said “Why don’t you do cooking classes?” And I was like “Me?! You think people will come to my cooking classes?” He was like, “Yea, just start out light.” So we started out with like 16 tickets. I used my tax money and I put it into the tables, the pots, and just everything I needed. I had my second son, and after that, that’s when I had the classes.
It started out with 16 people and it sold out in like 2 weeks. I was like “What?” So I went out and bought more stuff and doubled it to 32 tickets. So I have a 32 person class and I try to market it like a big party. We are having a big party and it’s a lot of fun. People are connecting with strangers and meeting new people. So I definitely try to market that. I also do private parties now too.
It’s always such a blast. I love it.
I was looking through pictures of past events and they look like so much fun. I definitely want to go.
They are so much fun. I definitely want to take them on the road. I have people who travel from out of state and they say, “Can you please bring this here? I know a location we can use.” I want to go to New York first and Atlanta & DC. I know Texas is a place to go. I have been jotting places down. So I definitely want to take it on the road.
I am definitely wishing you the best of luck. I cannot wait to see you going and doing different things and places. That’s really really dope.
Thank you! Thank you. I come up with some of the craziest ideas at like 2 in the morning. I’m trying to plot them all out.
As we are wrapping things up, I want to first say thank you. For sitting down with us and being my first interview you are so awesome.
What final piece of advice or words do you have for our readers?
For my potential entrepreneurs who are thinking about doing it: I think you should go for it. My number one rule is: If you are really good at something you should be getting paid for it. That’s just the bottom line. Profit off of your passion. For my folks that are in the industry and they are trying to protect their peace or maybe they are having some days where things are up and down: just take a break, unplug; have some time to yourself so you can reflect on everything.. You will come out thinking “Alright I was bugging, let’s go.” I PROMISE it will be great. I promise.
Images by: NYACC Photos