Honest question, growing up how often did you see relatable images of yourself on screen? How often did you see toys made with a young, girl of color in mind? How often did you feel represented in the products and tv shows targeted towards girls your age? Your answer was probably not often at all.
It’s a dilemma many young girls of color experience, realizing we are often left out of the story line we aspire to be apart of. With recent films like A Wrinkle in Time, The Princess and The Frog, and television shows like Doc Mcstuffins inclusivity has progressed, yet we still have a long way to go. Former Special Education Teacher and Clinical Therapist Kimberly Jesicka is one woman ready to take on bridging the gap in media representation for children of color everywhere.
Kimberly Jesicka has quite the resume, earning a certificate from Notre Dame University in Non Profit Management and attending Parsons School of Design for Fashion Design. She formerly wrote for VOGUE ITALIA, Glamour Italia, Glamour South Africa, Marie Claire Espana, Huffpost, Elite Daily, Thrive Global and more. She furthermore is an author, writer, and singer, however her passion lies in advocating for young girls of color who’ve experienced a troubled childhood similar to hers.
Growing up in Panama City, Panama Kimberly struggled with a learning disability which made her transition to the United States a difficult one. However, the young businesswoman used her challenges as fuel for her career aspirations, using her story to create her very own multicultural children’s network Kidpire TV. The network showcases kid’s programming in Spanish and English. In addition to her network, she also has her own doll line Kimberliciou Kouture, and a non profit company Girlpire & Co Creating Girl Bosses Across The Globe.
We were lucky to sit down with Kimberly Jesicka to discuss her views on representation, her plans for expansion within her brands, and what her success has taught her a woman of color.
How was it for you growing up with learning disabilities?
It was very difficult. I always got into trouble. No one stopped to say hey maybe something else is going on here. I actually never heard one word the teacher said, cause I was always in another world. Paying attention to something else or simply day dreaming.
Growing up in Panama City and then moving to the US, how did you learn to embrace your culture in this new setting?
It was difficult. I only spoke spanish and I was made fun of for being black, but not speaking english. I would be told to go back to my country on a banana boat, and other things kids say. It made me determined to master the english language. I hated being my culture when I saw everyone else around me American and Speaking their language. I wanted to be like them. It was confusing. I felt different and like an outsider.
Your resume is pretty amazing. How did you motivate yourself to go after such big dreams?
Thank you! I was downed so much and critized abnormally. I felt I had no choice but to go for it in a big big way. The worst I could be is 10 steps ahead of where I was, and the best is at the top. I was scared to fail and scared to be where I was forever. It was no choice.
You’ve worked as a writer and interviewer. How important is representation of women of color in media & entertainment?
Its very needed and I needed to go beyond the norm of it. Women of color are depicted so angry and that is the not the sum total of who we are.
What made you dedicate your life to children’s entertainment?
I was a teacher and a child with learning disabilities. I wanted to see Black Jem and the Holograms, Black Wonder Woman, Black Kick ass Buffy, Black Legally Blonde an so on and so forth, she was not there, so I started creating her.
What do you hope children and young adults take away from your TV Networks, non profit work with Girlpire & Co., and Kimberliciou Kouture?
I want them to take away is that magic is real and you are magic and you can have and be anything or anyone you want to be, that’s a fact!
Looking back If you could tell your young self anything, what would you say?
Don’t believe the evil your abusers tell you about yourself. Its a lie even with their evidence its a lie. The you you want to be is out there. Find her! She is already doing what you want to do in life. She is a mentor, get one!
What can we expect next from you?
You can expect the dolls in Walmart, the Wig Line, the t-shirt line for the dolls and more content on KIDPIRE.