Grls I Know - Kim
Describe yourself without mentioning work.
That’s easy. Work is not a big part of my life. I’m an artist, I’m a musician, I’m a yogi. I’m an amateur photographer. I’m a creative. I make jewelry. I make dream-catchers. I like my alone time. I like to hang out with myself and I feel like nobody will ever know me as well as I know myself, which is fun for me. I enjoy alone time more than the average person. I’m adventurous. I’m working on my patience. It’s very difficult. I’m a performer. I love to dance and be silly. When I perform I feel like I’m living through the music. It just carries me. A lot of the time I’m worry-free. When I do worry, it’s extensive. When I do worry I get overwhelmed, and when I get overwhelmed, I get emotional.
Where did you grow up?
Seaford, Long Island. It’s in Nassau County on the south shore about five miles from the beach. My mom and dad bought the house we live in now from my grandparents. It’s the house my mom grew up in. My mom and her sisters all have so many stories about the house. When I moved into the basement my aunt would tell me stories about when she lived down there. One time she asked me, “Can you look in the ceiling board? I think I left a pair of emerald earrings up there.” The ceiling boards are made of Styrofoam and are just tiles that you can easily pop out and hide things in. She was afraid that someone would come and rob the house, so she put her earrings up there. She doesn’t remember which tile they’re under so we still haven't found them.
How long have you lived in New York City?
I’ve lived in my parents' house for 22 years, except the four years I was in college, which is another home away from home. I definitely want to move into the city. I have three friends that are talking about moving in together soon, maybe somewhere in Queens which I might do. A few of us lived together in college so I know it would be good. How often can you find four good friends that do well living together? I have a lot to think about in terms of moving into the city, because I have so many ties to Long Island. I have a car here, my family is here. There would be trade-offs.
Tell me what it's like living in New York.
I never even thought twice about it as a kid. I was here all the time. It was always my favorite place on earth to come. My dad has worked at the Sheraton Manhattan in Times Square for over forty years and my family used to go there every once in awhile for a weekend and stay in the hotel and go to a show or something in the city. When I went away to college in central New York, it was a total culture shock. I met so many people who lived in central New York that had never been to New York City in their entire lives, which was insane to me.
In light of the recent election, how does it feel to be a woman in the United States right now?
I’m upset. I feel hurt. Mostly because of the serious ignorance surrounding social rights. I have lots of family members and loved ones who don’t feel the way I do, which is hard. I don’t even know what to say or how to get through to them. What can I say? It’s so against what I stand for, to think you can’t get through to someone, but this is just beyond my patience level.
[continued] I feel helpless, but I also feel that this is a time for all of us to be fucking strong and show them what we’re capable of. I’m still as happy as ever to be who I am and know the people that I know and have the mindset that I do. This was supposed to be the place where people could come and feel comfortable and happy and unified, but that’s not the case anymore.
DOES ‘BEING A WOMAN’ FEEL LIKE AN ACTIVE, ALWAYS-PRESENT PART OF YOUR LIFE OR IS IT NOT NECESSARILY SOMETHING THAT INFLUENCES YOUR DAY TO DAY?
Totally. 100%. You think about it when you’re on the subway, when you’re walking down the street, when you’re at work, when you’re with your family. There are little, subtle things that you always have to be aware of. I always have to deal with men staring at me or trying to come up and talk to me. You always have to hold on to your Mace, you know?
WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS? I HAVE SOME GIRLFRIENDS WHO COME FROM BIG GIRL GANGS AND OTHERS WHO HAVE SINGLE CLOSE FRIENDS ALL OVER THE PLACE.
In high school I was kind of a floater. I never had one solid group of friends, I would always hop around to different groups. Most of my friends were guys. I wasn’t friends with most of the girls at my school because they were materialistic and mean and cared about stupid shit. I was going to concerts and fan-girling over punk bands, not dressing like a slutty mouse for Halloween. [laughs] It’s still hard for me to make really good friends because I feel it’s either hit or miss. Sometimes it’s in the middle, but if it’s a friend that I’m going to keep and cherish, it’s like we either click right away or we’re always trying a little too hard and something is missing.
Does it feel easier or harder to make female friendships as you get older?
More recently, it’s been easier for me to be friends with girls. I feel like as girls raised in the United States, we’re taught to hate each other and judge each other and judge ourselves. Growing up in Long Island, I was very judgmental. It’s just the way I was programmed by the people I grew up with, by the media, by everything. Going to college in a small town helped me find myself a little bit. I lost that judgmental mindset and became more patient and understanding because I was always so quick-quick-quick to judge or react. It’s that New York mindset. When I lived upstate, it was so slow and different. Since then, it’s been easier for me to make female friends and relate to people. In New York, it’s just harder. You meet so many people, and you don’t necessarily know what they're thinking or what their motives are. I always kind of have my guard up, but I’m getting better with it.
Is there anything you wish women would talk about more with each other?
I feel like a lot of women have similar mental blockages about certain things like body images issues, anxiety, depression, things that make you self conscious. I wish women would talk more with each other about those things, because it would make them easier to overcome. The more you express that and realize that other people are dealing with the exact same thing, the easier it is to deal with. Being embarrassed gets in the way too often. So many of us are experiencing the same things.
Tell me about your first job.
Every time I tell someone that my first job was at Hooters, I have to immediately follow up with, “But I wasn’t a Hooters girl”. I wasn’t on the books which is why that restaurant went under. I was working in filing in their corporate office. The office was underneath the restaurant. My aunt worked in HR and she got me the job doing filing for $12 an hour off the books. I ate Hooters every day for a whole summer. Their food was so good. The boneless wings are the best. My little cousin would come with me to the office a lot. We’d listen to music, I’d file, and she would just hang out. She actually came up with the idea for the ‘Cake Shake’. Hooters had these slices of cheesecake that were fucking four inches high, and they’d make a milkshake and then dump a piece of cheesecake into the milkshake. We had those all the time. It was amazing.
What is your job now?
I’m freelancing at an experiential marketing agency. I do lots of project management work. I just finished a tour in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, London, and Dusseldorf.
What motivates you to work hard?
I don’t know if it’s motivation, or just the fact that I can’t sit still and I get bored so easily. I have the attention span of a two-year-old. It’s ingrained in me. When I was a kid, I was always a very good student. I’m the only member of my family to complete college. So that’s a motivation for me – not that I grew up so terribly, I grew up in a fantastic home, but my parents were always scrambling with money. Long Island is expensive. I think I’ve always wanted more. My childhood was amazing and I don’t regret a single thing, but if I want to have kids, I want to bring them up in a more secure way. It’s not that I wasn’t secure, but my dad was always talking about money and concerned about money, so I was concerned about money too from a young age. I was always saving. My mom would give me $2 every time I emptied the dishwasher. I babysat whenever I could and just kept saving and saving. I never wanted to feel stressed about it, because I knew it was always a stress for my parents. I don’t want to be motivated by money, but I do want to live comfortably and be able to support myself without having to rely on anyone else. I like to be free and not worry about things like that.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG WOMEN STARTING OUT IN YOUR FIELD (OR ANY FIELD) - OR MAYBE EVEN TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF?
I feel very young-spirited. I connect more with children than I do with adults. It’s easy for me to create a strong and positive relationship with kids. I’ve had countless babysitting jobs. When I was in high school, these girls moved in across the street from me and I started babysitting them when they were really little. I’ve known them for twelve years now and I practically raised them three days a week after school.
[continued] They look up to me and my sister so much. One of the girls texts me a lot and talks to me about singing and jewelry-making and my hobbies, and she looks to me for advice which is so humbling. I really try and think about my responses in a way that’s going to help her. I feel like I’ve had an impact on her already, so I want to do as much as I can to be a positive influence.
Who (or what) is your spirit animal?
You’d think this would be a question that I could answer immediately, but I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like a lion. Other times, I don’t. I’m always better at figuring out other people’s spirit animals.
Dinner with any celebrity (living or dead)?
I don’t care about celebrities. I’d pick Ella Fitzgerald.
What song have you been playing on loop lately?
I've been listening to Alicia Keys’ records a lot lately. 'Girl Can't Be Herself' and 'Pawn It All' are my favorites. They're so soulful and raw.
Backstreet Boys. I was in second grade. My mom woke me up one morning for school and said, “Kimby, wake up! We have to go to school! Also, Maria’s mom is on the phone. They have an extra ticket for the Backstreet Boys concert tonight and they want you to go.” I lost my mind. We went and saw them at Nassau Colosseum.
Most recent concert?
There’s no such thing as a guilty pleasure. If something gives you pleasure, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. That said, I’ve been listening to a lot of JoJo. I’m driving two hours away to Poughkeepsie to see her. [laughs] Her voice is butter.
I LIKE TO THINK OF ALL MY GIRLFRIENDS AS BEING PART OF A MAGICAL COVEN OF STRONG, INDEPENDENT WITCHES. AS A WITCH, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BIGGEST POWER?
I can make a really delicious meal out of random shit in the refrigerator at any point, day or night. I can work with what I've got, and it's always amazing.