We sat down with Kendra Austin aka Kendramorous for our Talent Spotlight of the month! Although Kendra is new to the VN family, she has many achievements to be proud of including bringing Third Cup to life and getting Skims to sponsor it, along with Milk Makeup, Topicals, Hey Rowan, and Chronicle Books! She has been talking about this event since signing with us – and seeing her bring it to life was truly her main goal for ending 2022!
Kendra is a model, activist, and creator who loves human connection and advocating for topics she cares about. Continue reading to find out how Kendra became an influencer, her career moves, and long term goals for her biggest project – Third Cup.
Who are you? What’s your preferred platform & content vertical?
I’m an Instagram and TikTok influencer who promotes radical self-acceptance, spiritual curiosity, and healing.
How did you get introduced into the content creator space?
I originally came onto the scene as a “body positive” creator in 2017 after graduating college and feeling a bit confused about where to turn next. I hadn’t ever considered myself a particularly creative person, but knew my most authentic path would include creating, writing, and sharing my story. Social media made that simple.
What do you wish you knew when starting as a content creator?
You have to be intentional about generating creative spirit OFF the internet if you want this job and your sanity. You are a person first.
What advice would you give your younger self or someone thinking of becoming a content creator?
Building a community is more important than selling things or making money. You are only as special and important as your community engagement and forgetting that your followers are your blessing is the biggest mistake you can make. They are your source.
What campaigns have you been a part of?
Many SKIMS campaigns, PUMA, Glossier Body Hero, Flamingo body care line, Planned Parenthood, Nike Makers program, Arq, Dame Products, Milk Future Fluid, Milk Rise Mascara, Topicals launch, Zappos, Dolce Vita, THINX, Saie beauty, Nike NYC, Savage x Fenty and many more.
What was your favourite one or most viral piece of content? Why?
My favorite piece of content was a tweet that went insanely viral during the pandemic. This tweet has made it onto the news, articles, facebook pages, and spaces I don’t even know exist and has ultimately defined my impact on social media without trying.
It’s a reminder to me about the purpose of even being a creator at all – to make people feel something and tell our stories. Most of my viral content is just that – unsponsored stories.
The third TikTok I ever posted is still my most popular TikTok – again, because I was honest.
Do you prefer a detailed content brief or full creative freedom?
Full creative freedom. I find content that is overproduced/written by clients performs poorly and reads as fake. My favorite collaboration to date was a long term partnership with Nike because they just let me do my thing and paid me for it – all of that content performed very well because I felt my time, creativity, and talent was respected.
Dream collaborations – what would be your dream brand(s) to work with? Why?
I would love to work with Dove! They have been at the forefront of great storytelling around empowerment and owning who you are, and that’s really commendable. All of their campaigns are stories first and ads second and I respect that.
What do you love the most about what you do?
Creative sovereignty. I love that I get to just hop on my phone and connect with people without middle men and gatekeepers. A lot of what I have to share are things that gatekeepers find disruptive or too much and I’ve never been the kind of person to compromise my values. Doing what I do means I don’t have to.
What content / personal challenges have you come across and how have you overcome them?
I think it’s really hard to grow as a person on social media. Audience becomes attached to one kind of content or a person, and won’t necessarily support the growth right away. Trusting that the right audience will find you and reminding yourself that you can’t stunt your creative transformation for the sake of constantly creating viral content is great. The greatest gift I have given myself is refusing to be nice – it has spared me from the whiplash of being thrust into hypervisibility without a plan and allows room for me to grow and ask my audience to grow with me. It is slow and steady for sure. I know my audience trusts me and knows me.
What inspired you to start the Third Cup?
Everyone is chronically lonely and chronically online. It was true before the pandemic and is even more true after 3 years in the pandemic. I am passionate about helping people remember what investing in in-person connection feels like again. Making friends as an adult is hard – we forget that it’s just like being a toddler in the sandbox; you just need to ask folks to play with you but that’s really vulnerable. I wanted women in my community to feel the healing property of being together again. Playing middle man is the least I can do!
How did you come up with the name?
I was reading The Great Good Place by Ray Oldenburg. He is a sociologist who researched the decline in community spaces – what he called “third places” – throughout modern history. Third places are supposed to be community building spots without pretension or class division where people can dream of a better future. Also, I am very spiritual and read tarot/oracle. I’m actually publishing an oracle deck called The Realest Oracle in July 2023! Anyway, my favorite card in the deck is the 3 of cups. It depicts three women holding up chalices in joy and abundance. It’s about friendship, celebration, community, and connection. So I kind of married these concepts.
How have you seen the mental health space evolve with creators being more vocal and the influx of content creation solely surrounding mental health?
I love it! Mental health has historically been reserved for people who can afford it. Now, that info is accessible and directly from mental health practitioners. I do think there is some context lost on the internet, as always, but it is largely helping people name experiences that have existed in shame and darkness for a long time. We all deserve to name what holds us back and return back to light again. There is a lot of buzz-iness and watering down of concepts that shouldn’t be but we’re all learning together.
Who would your ideal sponsors be for one of your events?
I would love to work with a huge beauty brand. Beauty is kind of having a crisis because they don’t know how to make themselves un-superficial. I think partnering with community organizers who are making women’s lives literally more beautiful is a great start. I would also love to partner with Nike or Beyond Yoga on building out a healing retreat for our attendees. Bumble BFF and Resy would also be PERFECT!
What card in your favourite tarot deck best describes you?
The 3 of cups! It depicts three women holding up chalices in joy and abundance. It’s about friendship, celebration, community, and connection.
Stay tuned for our upcoming monthly Viral Nation Talent Spotlights!