Photos are the exclusive property of Kahshanna Evans and cannot be republished without permission.
A lot of people strive for work/life balance but former model Kahshanna Evans brought wellness into her work in a very literal sense. She discusses how she’s helping solopreneurs strengthen their brands, while at the same time building her own.
Name: Kahshanna Evans
Age: Hint, I am a Forty Over 40 honoree!
Location: New York City
Profession: Communications, Public Relations
How did you get started?
After 20 years in the fashion, film/television and entertainment industry, I soul searched for another 10 years by studying wellness. Most would frown if I told them that all of that lead me to founding Kissing Lions Public Relations, but because I continually tried to help small wellness businesses and family-owned brands become visible, and, hence, successful, I fell right into what I do now. I work with niche and emerging lifestyle brands and love having my own brand. My affinity to help the solopreneurs of the lifestyle world drove me to create a PR Bootcamp, as publicity and communications is a luxury that many generations didn’t have access to.
What’s an average day like?
On an average day it’s raining tabs on my laptop… too many open for my own good. I review strategy, continue shaping multiple projects on behalf of my clients. Outreach is ongoing for communications professionals, so vetting the right outlets for clients and also collaborative partnerships that align with client initiatives. Often niche and emerging brands have a lot happening under one roof, so prioritizing and giving structure to concepts and ideas to activate different parts of the brand is important. I love Kissing Lions HQ, which is nicknamed the Kissing Lions Zen Den, because I am allowed to look absolutely ‘tore-up’ while I work feverishly on client accounts. Mud masks, bulky sweat pants, horrid house socks, incense, candles, barking and growling at my computer when it’s not compliant, booty shorts, no bra and breaks to cry because I’m sure I can’t take it anymore: I LOVE MY HQ because, when my intern isn’t here, anything goes. A lot can happen in this type of atmosphere when you’re driven and compulsively strategizing!
Why do you do it?
I grew up understanding the frustration of the era that many, if not most, people of color in the US were influenced by and often held back by. I listened to what was said, and what wasn’t. While I realize we experience through unique social and cultural perception, I felt deeply saddened at the privilege that seemed to dominate opportunities, and limit an entire culture. It is really challenging to keep a brand growing and thriving, but the freedom it affords allows me to create a dynamic, non-traditional approach to growth and invest in new ideas, the same ones that got me here to begin with.
I grew up understanding the frustration of the era that many, if not most, people of color in the US were influenced by and often held back by …I felt deeply saddened at the privilege that seemed to dominate opportunities, and limit an entire culture.
Ups and downs you sometimes face on the job:
The upside of this role is that I can work with brands that have a great story to tell, who may not have the shine time other similar brands have. I am embraced as a partner by my clients — I’m invited in to meetings, given babies to hold and plot and plan success and growth. This is rewarding for me. On the downside I think those courageous enough to create their own brand can be their own worst critic. When something doesn’t go as planned, or seems a disaster, the self-criticism can often make matters worse. With image it’s important to be seamless, but work/life balance can seem unattainable during time-sensitive deadlines, initiatives, and client events. Something an ‘up and a down’ is hitting a glass ceiling because it’s time to grow but the resources according to a unique set of skills may make it difficult to find the right mentor to push you beyond the glass.
Your greatest achievement so far?
In 2013 Kissing Lions Public Relations placed its largest national placement for Built, a design show that started on the Style Network, that has since gone on to air in Europe, Canada, Mexico and Latin America.
What might be next for you?
I am invested in exploring work/life balance and traveling a lot more. I am in the final stages of talks about a wedding project with my client Weddings by MWD Lifestyles that I’m excited about. A family and healthy kiddos could also be awesome one day.
Forgive your hair for making you stand out, whether it’s thin, thick, curly or straight — embrace it for making you unique and demanding an entire culture be respected and appreciated for diversity.
Let’s Talk Hair
What are your top go-to hair tips?
Boy, can I chat hair!
- The number one go-to hair tip is to detangle with 100% natural jojoba oil or coconut oil before shampooing and conditioning.
- Give your hair a break sometimes; find a sexy, sassy hair look for when you don’t need to be totally done and trust your fabulous face is enough.
- Forgive your hair for making you stand out, whether it’s thin, thick, curly or straight — embrace it for making you unique and demanding an entire culture be respected and appreciated for diversity.
- When you can, use products that are healthy, as opposed to aiming for something that smells good; it’s your image and worth investing in.
- The hair rule of 50/50 means if you are growing out your natural hair, that 50% of the time have a stylish, low maintenance, stress-free go-to look that isn’t high maintenance to achieve. Hats, scarves, funky headbands go a long way once you look back and have achieved your healthy hair goals.
Fun Fact: I was a cartoon and TV kid, so I’m an avid fan of Transformers and Thundercats. I love making raw smoothies (the real one’s with flax seeds, ginger, celery and cilantro, raw cocoa, etc). I secretly want to be like the Dos Equis most interesting (WO)man in the world. I learned to curse like a sailor in Catholic school before I went on to study wellness years later, (I can’t make this stuff up)! I once sang The Wiz hit “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News” at a Soul karaoke in Brooklyn — a Kahshanna Evans dream come true! All jokes aside, if you believe in something, invest in yourself, seed your ideas — put aside a little bit of time consistently to see it grow and thrive. You’ll be glad you did. I know I am.