Kierra is a young creative from Chicago who is inspired in every way to empower women. She’s so dedicated to the cause that she’s in the process of writing a book that tells her story in hopes of empowering women like her. Being a college student, author and model is hard to balance, but keep reading to find out more about Kierra and how she does it!

Introduce yourself.
I’m Kierra! I’m 19 and from Chicago. I attend Columbia College Chicago as a Game Programming & Design Major.

What do you do?
I’m currently writing my first book called “Mother Earth” a poetry book that incorporates photography to highlight issues women go through. I’ve collaborated with many of my friends for my book so you’ll see a lot of artwork and photography done by my friends in it. I’m also working on my first video game! Overall, I’m a writer and I do a little modeling here and there.

What was your inspiration for writing your book? 
What inspired me to start writing my book was a conversation I had with my best friend Dakota at 2am at a diner in December of 2016. We were catching up, and I told him about this idea that I had when I wrote this poem called “Mother Earth”. This poem was about me realizing my worth, calling other women to realize theirs and for us as women to stick together. Dakota told me I should go for it and that he supported me. That conversation really motivated me, so I started telling more of my close friends about it and they encouraged me to write the book. January of this year was when I began working on my book and the project.

by K. Wooden

It’s spring again.

My Alyssums, Amaryllis, Freesias, Iris, Sunflowers

And Primroses stand strong again.

And I stand in the center crowned assembled in Gorse Flowers.

My garden is open to the world, like Mother Earth.

And everyone I meet plant a seed in me.

I grow flowers I never knew I could be.

I spread my love to everyone I meet, I’m so full of it.

And they all water me.

I’m red, I’m green, I’m purple, I’m pink, I’m yellow, I’m free.

Free from the shackles because I am loved, loved so dearly

By me and the world.

Alyssums, Amaryllis, Freesias, Iris, Sunflowers and Primroses

Stand strong again.

Because I am Mother Earth, I still grow, I still nourish, I’m

Still colorful, still beautiful no matter how much negativity

People try to plant in me.

I flourish

Are there any people or life experiences that have shaped who you are up until this point?
My mother most importantly if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be at this point in my life. My mom let me mold myself into the person I wanted to become she didn’t dictate the journey I decided to go on in life but just helped guide me along the way. Me overcoming depression, overcoming heartbreak, the people that I have lost, the people I have gained, my family, learning to love myself and accepting all that I am flaws and all has got me to this point.

Have there been any setbacks while writing your book and how did you overcome them?
There were many setbacks while writing my book because life isn’t always great. I lost my inspiration so many times, and I do get discouraged a lot. I’m always thinking about if I’m good enough, or if there is someone else that’s way better than I am. To overcome these obstacles I remind myself that there will be a lot of people that’s better than me and that’s okay but there is so many things about me as an individual that’ll stand out. Steering clear of negative thinking and embracing life for all that it is, the simplest things can give me my inspiration back. Seeing strangers happy, a sound or seeing flowers give me that inspiration back.

Who do you plan to reach with this book?  
I plan to reach women who ever felt like they were alone, felt they were worthless, or not good enough. I was once this girl before. This book in a way can be a support system to other women who are not in a good place. This book is aiming to cover a lot of topics of things women go through that impacted their lives in a negative way and how they overcame it. It’s not just my story that’s being told but it’s other women’s stories as well.

I know you do a little bit of modeling, how did you get involved with that? What are your goals through modeling?
I actually started getting involved with modeling in high school, I thought it would be something fun to do to show of my style as a unique individual. Also, I loved taking pictures and getting my pictures taken. However, starting off wasn’t so easy because I couldn’t get signed to agencies because of my height, also there were and still are a lot of scam agencies in Chicago. That really discouraged me so I kind of gave up the idea of modeling for a bit. However, that didn’t stop me from taking my pictures. I had my 9 year old cousin take my pictures and I started posting them to Instagram. People started to notice me, they loved my style, my look, my personality and people just wanted to work with me from that. Now I’m planning my own shoots on my terms with some photographers, expressing myself through the themes I choose, how I dress, how I pose. My goal through modeling is me being able to express myself, showing my flaws. In my pictures I don’t wear any makeup, I don’t get my eyebrows or nails done. It’s a chance for me to embrace and love all that I am. I want us as women to embrace what it is that we love about ourselves whether we like to put makeup on or not, just expressing who we are. I feel like I’m not type of person to have a straightforward career because I do so much, I program, I write, I love to help people, take pictures etc. so it’s more of wherever life takes me.

How have you been trying to make your mark on the Chicago creative scene?
I’ve been putting myself out there more. A year ago I was very introverted so the Chicago creative scene is fairly new to me in a sense. But, I post my work more, I’ve been collaborating with so many people and networking with a lot of people in the creative scene. Also, seeing my friends conquer the scene and making a name for themselves helps guide me in the right direction for my own path.

If your book is overwhelmingly successful, do you plan on being an author or do you have other plans?
I plan on being a lot of things, but growing up being an author of a bestseller book was a dream of mine since I discovered my love for books in 1st grade. So me just being an author of my first book, I can say I’ve made my 6 year old self proud.

What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?
My advice for other creatives is to not let other people discourage you. If it’s something you’re truly passionate about stick to it! Nothing in life comes easy you’ll get a lot of failures before your successes.  Never give up.

Any last words for your supporters?
I really appreciate everyone who supports me. You all keep me continue on my crazy journey whether it be my poetry, my pictures, or my ideas. And I hope that whatever you are passionate about you continue to stick through it because I support you too!