Meet Instafamous grad Kienya Booker
Despite her 92,000 Instagram followers and 600,000 YouTube views, NSCC Akerley Campus grad Kienya Booker says that becoming Instafamous was never her intention.
The Dartmouth native and mom of three says the notoriety generated by her social media side job as a natural hair advocate has her shocked. With posts about Kienya’s hair tutorials and age-defying looks showing up in the social media feeds of celebrities like Tyrese Gibson, Morris Chestnut and Tia Mowry –and news outlets like Huffington Post, Hollywood Life, BET Style and Europa Press covering the story – Kienya says the experience has her overtime on every look she creates.
Here's what Kienya says about the experience:
Q & A with Kienya
How did you get started on Instagram?
I was on Facebook — of course, everyone was — one of my nieces told me that this thing called Instagram was better. I joined to try it out. I saw people posting photos of hairstyles. I thought, “Well I do hair! Let me do my hair and post a picture of my hairstyle.”
Why do you advocate natural hair?
I hear a lot of women say that they can’t manage their natural hair, or that it doesn’t look right on them. They settle on the relaxer to make it more manageable; but, chemical relaxers aren’t good for your hair. They can cause damage to your whole body. We were born with this textured hair and we should learn to manage what we were born with. It’s beautiful. I say, “Learn your hair. Embrace it! Your hair will grow.”
Tell me about “that” post:
I posted a picture of me and my daughters for Throw-Back-Thursday to show how we looked 12 years ago. Someone created a meme with it that said that I didn't age. It went viral. That was a year ago. Yahoo! News just shared it again too.
Have you monetized your social media?
This is a business for me. After my picture when viral the first time, companies started reaching out and sending me products. Today, many of my posts are paid. Each post can generate anywhere from $90 to $250.
At NSCC, you trained to become a computer systems manager, how do you draw on your diploma today?
I draw on the business and management parts of my diploma every day. It taught me a lot of the skills that I’m using today. It’s what allows me to work toward opening a beauty supply business. Even simple things like scheduling, teamwork, professionalism and quality, I learned at NSCC and now I’m using this training to work with clients in Canada and the United States.
Do you get recognized?
I do! People don't come up and say hi to me though. They whisper and smile and say things like "she's taller than she looks on Instagram."
Why do you think your followers are so loyal?
I never just read the comments. I always try to respond to everything. Maybe it's because I'm Scotian? People are taking the time to say something nice and follow me. It's important to be grateful.
How long does it take you to get the right photo?
About an hour for the photo, but two if I include the hairstyling. I spend about six hours a day, six days a week on it.
What's next for you?
I have two goals in mind. I really want to land with one of the big beauty companies, like Dove. I also want to launch my KaeCoe's Beauty Supply storefront and sell the products that I promote.
Why didn’t you take Cosmetology at NSCC?
I still might!