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Conversations with Kia Billinger

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kia Billinger.

Kia, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Ever since I was a little girl I would always help my parents around the house, from cooking to cleaning, and folding clothes, without being asked most of the time. Little did I know helping others would become a passion of mine. Whether I am helping improve the lives of others as a Registered Nurse (RN) or helping someone with their self-love journey and their confidence, I know that helping people is my purpose. The woman I am today is who I needed growing up. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be that woman for so many people, inspiring women to tap into their confidence, love themselves, and take their power back. So many people think that being confident or loving themselves should happen instantly, and they often become frustrated when it doesn’t happen right away. Confidence and self-love are both journeys not destinations and will take time, so be kind to yourself.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There has definitely been some bumps in the road. Some of my struggles have been with my appearance, more specifically my face. I am unable to go into details but can speak about how this situation has impacted my life. Last year I suffered a jaw injury from a screw that was left in my food from a restaurant that resulted in fracturing a tooth, having emergency oral surgery, missing days off of work, that ultimately cost me my job. Till this day, my jaw locks up on me, shifts to the right and left, is painful, numb, my bottom lip droops to the right, I have pain that radiates to my head, left side of my face and neck, I am restricted to a soft diet, and the list goes on. This situation has changed my face and has caused me to be insecure about the way I look because I make part of my living as a Plus Size Model, and the one thing required for my job is my face and the ability to make facial expressions.

It has been so difficult creating content because of my jaw injury, and most of the images I take are unusable due to the way my jaw looks. Another bump in the road has been a recent car accident that happened in November of 2020. I was rear-ended twice, yes twice, by the same driver and suffered a concussion, which I’m still dealing with symptoms, herniated discs in my neck, mid-back, and low back. I have numbness and tingling in both arms and hands and worsening of a pre-existing low back injury. Throw in the pandemic and this year has been ROUGH to say the least. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and what I’ve been going through will make me stronger. I’m thankful to be here to be able to tell this story.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a Plus Size Model, Actress, and Registered Nurse. I am known for my campaign shoot and magazine spread with Torrid for their MyStoryMyTorrid Campaign. Refinery 29 also wanted in on this amazing thing Torrid was doing, so they wrote the story on this campaign and put me on the cover of the article. I am known for my magazine feature in JET Magazine as the Beauty of the Week. I’m also known for being seen on the digital pages of Cosmopolitan Style, People Magazine, and Huffington Post for a pool party I attended called “Golden Confidence Pool Party” given by Essie Golden. Furthermore, I am known for a skit that went viral titled “Don’t Make my Girl Laugh, starring comedians Clint Coley and Louis Gee. Additionally, I am known for 2 Buzzed videos that went viral, one was titled “Nurses Review “Nurse” Costumes” and “Plus Size Girls Can’t.” I am known as the creator of the hashtag #BeautyOverStandards on Instagram and TikTok. Lastly, I am known for encouraging others, helping people feel comfortable and confident in their skin, and being an instrument in helping people realize their own beauty and know that they are perfect just the way they are. I am most proud of the positive impact I have made in the lives of others. What sets me apart is my determined spirit. When faced with obstacles, I still succeed because I am driven and I believe in myself, even with the physical limitations I have, I persevere.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
I have learned how selfish people can be when it comes to wearing a mask to protect the health of others. This pandemic has changed the way we do things as a whole, and “normal” is something we will have to create for the future. This pandemic has caused a further divide between people of a different race, and that is sad. I feel this pandemic has forced us all to slow down, sit with ourselves, and learn things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Prior to the pandemic, life was so busy and we put so many things on the back burner. This pandemic has changed lives and has taken the lives of so many people, it’s heartbreaking. I feel as a creator, this pandemic has brought out more creative juices because we literally had to improvise and figure out different ways to do everything. I feel that 2020 has given us an opportunity to be thankful for who and what we have, which allows for us to shift our minds to what really matters.

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Image Credits:

Erica Lauren, Eyeattraction, Jarrelle Lee, Laurent Leger Adame, Claudia Rivas

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