Name: Kia McIntyreAge: 31 Location: Lexington, KY Occupation: EIC of The Mixx Magazine/ HipHop & Pop Marketing Rep for WBR Kicks Shown: Lebron James X Galaxy Website/Contact: Kia@themixxmagazine.com/Twitter: @kiamixx/www.themixxmagazine.com
What do you imagine when you think of a boss? Power, success, drive, take-charge attitudes, and an unapologetic view of the ladder climb are all things that come to mind when I conjure images of a boss-(wo)man.
However, the "Boss" mentality is one that we've seen splashed, dashed, and damn near dismembered in the mainstream. Everyone from the guy making big decisions in the boardroom to the homie finding success in a small hustle has found strength in a term usually reserved for...well, people who actually employ others. And while becoming a legitimate boss has indeed become a big deal in music lingo, it has not (unlike many things in this male dominated industry) remained a title only associated with the fellas.
Nakia "Kia" McIntyre is one woman who we've come to admire for her boss-like hustle and take-charge attitude. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Kia has managed to turn her fledgling hobby as a writer into a legitimate business with the creation of an online publication by the name of The Mixx Magazine. Music, fashion, and lifestyle commentary are all in the mix (or Mixx) as Kia continues to up her readership, her reach, and her team from hometown stand-out to national scene-stealer. Add Kia's gig as a marketing rep for Warner Brothers and you've got a woman who is well on her way to boss status and even bigger boss business.
We had the chance to talk shop with this Bron-donned beauty as she enlightened us on her journey, her family, and her no-nonsense hustle. Plus, we received great advice and more than a few amazing shots as we traveled to the heart of Kentucky.
CL: The Mixx Magazine is obviously doing quite well with a 30K+ readership count. Talk to us a bit about your journey from KY Standup to, what is now, The Mixx Magazine.
KM: Ky Standup was my hobby and The Mixx is my hustle. The journey was nothing more than a bittersweet struggle. It had its highs and lows, but ultimately everything worked out in my favor. I’m blessed.
CL: You obviously have a passion for music and hip-hop culture in general, but Kentucky isn’t exactly known for its blossoming hip-hop scene. What molds do you feel have been broken due to The Mixx’s presence? Do you see significant growth in the scene since you started?
KM: To be quite honest, the mold hasn’t been broken. There’s a lot of good talent in Kentucky, but not too much consistency. The mistake that I see artists making is that they get a hot song on the radio, get good feedback on a visual or a mixtape and then get that “I made it” attitude and take a break. Instead of taking a break, they should be using the exposure to capitalize on longetivity for their career. Anybody can get a video premiered on MTV Jams, but what are you going to do after it goes off? MTV isn’t going to keep pushing it. It’s the artists’ job to continue to be consistent. Take that leverage and market yourself. Nobody is checking for Kentucky artists, so artists here have to work ten-times harder. I offer my help and resources to people who I see that are serious about their craft, but at the end of the day the artist has to do the work.
CL: I always find it interesting to talk with fellow writers because we seem to have a certain understanding of the trials and triumphs associated with this scribe life. Looking back, or even now, what would you say has been the biggest hurdle you’ve faced in establishing a publication?
KM: The biggest hurdle was awareness in running a business. My hobby turned into a business, so I had to transition from a writer to a business owner and I knew nothing about the business side of trying to start a publication. But now, I’m on top of it. I got this here! LOL.
CL: That being said, what are key differences between Kia “the writer” v. Kia “the editor?” Do you feel you have to wear one hat more than others as your success grows?
KM: Kia “the writer” turns creative expressions into words that nobody may understand but her and the people closest to her. Kia “the editor” makes sure the content presented to The Mixx readers is eye-catching and professional. I definitely wear more than one hat. When people ask me what I do jokingly reply with, “I check emails & shi*t.” There’s no way to describe everything that I do. I’m very hands on when it comes to The Mixx, except for our site. LOL. I should probably learn a little more about site maintenance.
CL: Speaking of hats. You’re actually the first mommy we’ve featured in the series. As a mother and a business woman, it’s got to be difficult to balance your two worlds – but I can’t imagine building something from the ground up and supporting a family. Do you think your kids are your biggest source of motivation? What advice would you give to young women who may be trying to follow their dreams and raise a child?
KM: The “politically correct” answer to this question would be “Yes.” But, my kids aren’t my biggest source of motivation. Me wanting to be successful was not driven by my kids. I’m not too proud to work a 9-5, so my motherly obligations will always be taken care of; the success is just extra. I am my motivation! I wanted to live a life that I would be proud of. Kids don’t understand that their needs can’t be met because YOUR dream didn’t come true. I do what I have to do to make sure my kids are taken care of, then I motivate myself to be the successful individual that I want to be. There’s a separation between the two.
My advice to women period who may be trying to follow their dreams and raise a child(ren) is to never give up. Don’t get discouraged when things don’t go right and don’t live your life according to how others think you should be living it. If I would have let others deter me from doing what I felt was right, I would not be in the position that I am in now. People still have their opinions on the way I live my life, but they’re also not the ones cutting me a check every month either.
CL: A number of people might not know that you also do marketing work for one of the biggest labels in the nation. What doors do you think that opportunity has opened for you?
KM: It has opened up a lot of doors for me. The amount of opportunities that have been presented to me have been overwhelming. The list goes from national publication features, event hosting, clothing endorsements, and some things in the works that I can’t talk about yet, but I’ve had to turn down some good ones just because I know I don’t have the time to really dedicate. Moreover, I have been put in a position to where I can be of help to others trying to get their foot in the industry door and my Mixx team gets to reap the benefits of being affiliated.
CL: Chicks N’ Kicks is really all about promoting healthy business relationships amongst young women who are working hard to create a legacy. When all is said and done, what do you want people to remember most about you?
KM: I did it my way! I didn’t change myself to fit into that “typical industry woman” profile. I didn’t sleep with anyone to get “on” and I didn’t kiss anyone’s ass. I worked hard to become the person that I am and when it’s all said and done, can’t nobody take what I built. I don’t owe anybody anything - that’s all me and my mixx team!
CL: What are five things you’d want young women interested in following your footsteps to know about growing their own company?
KM: 1. Success is not an overnight achievement. 2. You have to be passionate about what you’re doing. Remain focused. 3. Know the difference between a hobby and a business. Every great idea you have is not made to be a business move. 4. Have a plan and do your research. 5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 6. Note to self: A woman who knows her worth is a powerful woman. (I know you said 5, but this is a plus #newrules)
CL: Finish this sentence – “My personal style is ______.”
KM: Classically Chic. I’m always brimming with confidence so I just rely on classic, simple items that don’t require a lot of thought. I might throw on a sundress with chucks or cowboy boots, then you may see me in pair of skinny jeans, a cute top and some heels. I like to be comfortable, but I can get dolled up for whatever the occasion may be.
CL: As we head towards the end of the summer and the last half of 2013, What kind of personal and professional growth have you seen this year? What can we expect to see throughout the next five months?
KM: As far as personal growth, I’ve done a huge turnaround. It’s safe to say that I’m not the same person I was a year and a half ago...and that’s a good thing! LOL!
Professionally, I’ve accomplished so much and within the next five months I’ll be damn near unstoppable. I love challenging myself! I have so many major projects that I’m working on right now and can’t wait to share. Happiness is the key factor. Once you find that point of happiness in your life it opens so many doors. If you’re not happy with how your life is going, you’ll be mad at the world and your attitude will reflect it. Find that happiness and you will feel like a brand new person.
CL: Obviously we love sneakers. What are a few of your favorite pairs to rock?
KM: I love chucks, but I wear Lebrons and Airmax as well.
CL: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
KM: I direct videos. The most recent video I directed was Smoke of Fieldmob’s “Make It Rain” video. His camp flew me into Miami Memorial Day weekend and we shot the video.
[There is a] cute little boy that thinks I’m a model on Sundays. So, I guess I can let everyone else know that I’m a model, but only on Sundays. Lol.
Want more from Kia? Read her candid interview with VIBE Vixen after you check out her exclusive Chan-Lo.com spread. PLUS, we went behind the scenes at Kia's Kentucky shoot. Watch the video below and get to know August's Chick N' Kicks.
Additional Thanks: Krista Hayes Hair: Veronica Gentry Make-up: Heather "Pink" Davis Stylist: Heather Leigh Fink's Farm (Shoot Location)