We had the good fortune of connecting with Kirsten Beach and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kirsten, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I am originally from Macon, Georgia, but I currently live in Buford, Georgia! Growing up in Macon was very interesting. I think for me, I always knew I wanted to do big things and escape from the small-town mindset that existed in my hometown, but there were so many hurdles I felt I had to jump over to get to that point. I constantly felt like I was living in other people’s shadows—especially being a Black woman who attended a predominantly white school that wasn’t very open-minded, to say the least. I was constantly dealing with both micro-aggressions and overt racism, and I ultimately felt like I had to work so much harder just to be recognized in the same ways that my white counterparts were. As unfortunate as that was, it’s simply the reality for most Black women and women of color. But if there was anything remotely positive that came out of those experiences, they taught me how to advocate for myself, and it ignited a fire in me to truly stop at nothing to reach my goals.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It has been quite the journey to get to where I am today. I started experimenting creatively at the young age of 5. I remember being in my first-grade art class, and my teacher would be so surprised that I could create what I did so young. I would sing in our elementary recitals and programs, leaving my teachers to make comments like, “Oh, she’s going to be a star one day,” and it made me realize just how much I enjoyed being in the spotlight, immersed in the creative side of things.
My whole life changed when I got to second grade. My best friend, protector, and the man who made me feel so proud to be his daughter passed away. Even being that young, I still felt every emotion stemming from his death. I’ve always been extremely empathetic–even as a child, so one of the many thoughts that ran through my mind after his death was, “Was he in pain?” “Will my mom be okay?” I wanted to grieve my dad, but I knew that life had to go on because that’s what they told me in church. They always used the “God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers” spill, but to be honest, that didn’t make me feel any better.
My mom remarried my step-dad, Charles, a couple of years later, which started a new chapter of our lives. As I continued in school, the unhealed trauma often caught up to me and made me feel angry at the world quite often. I enrolled in AP art, which allowed me to push my limits creatively to create meaningful and beautiful art. For my senior AP art exam, we were told to pick a concentration and create seven pieces of art to fit that concentration. and create seven pieces of art to fit that concentration. I chose to make pieces that combined music and art unique to my life story. Each piece I incorporated categorized the state of my life that I was in at the time. I included pieces that exuded the many feelings of hopelessness I experienced after my dad’s death and the anxiety that came with not knowing what was to come in the future. I got the highest grade you could get on an AP exam for my contributions, which really validated my ability to tell meaningful and inspiring stories. This was just the beginning for me, though, as I soon started my new journey at Temple University for college.
I first started diving into digital content creation before college, but it was more to impress the people around me rather than because I loved what I created. I was constantly grappling with the want to be popular and loved by others that I didn’t really know who I was, or better yet, who I wanted to be. At the time, I knew I wanted more followers because I wanted to be liked and viewed as important, but was there more? I wasn’t creating meaningful content on social media; I just posted to post for the people in my hometown. I knew I loved taking pictures, being in front of a camera, and documenting moments, but my motive was much different back then.
However, when I got to college, that marked a turning point for me. My first year at Temple proved to be one of the most challenging years of my life (and after what I experienced as a child, I was shocked that things could get worse.) In my second semester of college, I suddenly lost my step-father to a heart attack while away at school, and it sent me into a downward spiral with depression running rampant for months. I had to dig deep to hold on to any amount of hope that existed in me because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today.
But, after being at my lowest point, I decided to take command of my life back and use my voice and platform to channel all of my pain, losses, happiness, and triumphs into creative vessels through content creation, art, music, and storytelling. I no longer posted for others’ approval; I posted because it made me happy and gave me my spark back. I began to share the things I experienced with the world—surrendering all of my previous pride and cultivating a brand based on vulnerability and honesty. Soon after, I started to make that change within myself, I began occupying various social media and ambassador positions with companies such as Bumble, Timberland, and Maybelline—where I had the opportunity to attend New York Fashion Week, and be a part of nationwide campaigns with each of the companies and so much more.
As brand deals began to flow in and more opportunities arose, I knew that I was on the right path and was starting to accomplish the very things my younger self dreamed of. And to this day, I still feel that way.
It hasn’t been an easy journey by any means, and I wouldn’t lie to you and say there’s nothing I would change about my journey, but I will say that everything I went through allowed me to grow in ways I never imagined. It pushed me to my limits, but my own strength is what helped me prevail.
Today, I work full-time in the corporate world as a Social Media Community Manager and do digital content creation on the side whenever I get the chance to. I’m starting to lean into modeling more, writing music during my downtime, and ultimately I am prioritizing continuing to heal and give love to my inner child, because not only does she deserve it, but she deserves to see how far we’ve come.
For the first time in a really long time, I feel happy and fulfilled, and although I know that happiness is a spectrum of ebbs and flows—I can confidently say that I know it’s only up from here for me.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I actually have a running list in my notes of places to go with my friends around the city when they visit me, so I would definitely hit up some of the places on there!
For food, we would have to go to Slutty Vegan at least once while they are visiting. I’d make a Saturday or Sunday brunch reservation at one of my favorite places: Breakfast at Barney’s, The Select, Poor Calvins, or Toast on Lenox! For dinner, we could go to Tuk Tuk, The Southern Gentleman, Rocksteady, or 8ight Sushi (one of my personal favorites!) And for dessert, I’d have to take them to Sugar Shanes or Jeni’s ice cream (or both because I have a huge sweet tooth.)
We would definitely have to hang out at Ponce City Market, and we may also check out the Georgia Aquarium (I’ve been a million times, but it really never gets old!) The High Museum is another great spot to hang out—especially if you’re into art.
And for the night, we could check out some of the many bars the city has to offer, like Whiskey Blue, Drawbar, or Copper Cove!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It sounds very cliche, but I wouldn’t be the woman I am today without the help of my family and best friends. They’ve gotten me through the darkest of moments by being patient with me and showing me love and support every step of the way. They hold me accountable and are my biggest supporters. They are my why and the reason I’m still standing, and I couldn’t thank them enough for simply being present in my life for that very reason. No need to say names; y’all know exactly who you are! Thank you for everything.
Other: Tiktok: https://www.tiktok.com/@kirstenbeach
Image Credit: Wildy Civil Image Credit: Emale Visuals