Meet our MUSE of the Month for OCTOBER, Kodi Kitchen. This fitness guru is spreading the word that you are a work in progress - be the BEST U that you can be. In this exclusive Q & A she opens up about her big move to hollywood, why getting "fired" was possibly one of the most amazing things to happen to her and the moment she figured out that happiness is a choice that everyone has to make for themselves. #CHECKIT #theMUSEdiaries
HAUTE STREET: We hear your a Rodeo girl. Can you share a little bit about yourself and your upbringing, your family background, and where you grew up?
KODI KITCHEN: I like to joke that I am the product of a cowboy and a hippy. I was born on a ranch in Wyoming, big city living in a town of 100. My dad was a bull rider, my mom a teacher. We grew up playing outdoors at all times (aside from the 20 below when in Wyoming.) We moved to Ojai when I was four, although my dad went back to Wyoming so summers and often winters were spent up there. Both places are beautiful and lent themselves to a completely active upbringing. I was never coordinated, but loved doing sports, particularly soccer. We would spend the days riding horses, rodeos, hiking, camping, anything that involved movement.
HS: How did you end up in Los Angeles?
KK: The usual... a phone book! In truth I had wanted to model since I was in high school, but was extremely active in regards to sports and activities. Long story short, I opened the phone book and set up a meeting, which my mom then caved to the idea. One thing led to another and I began working. I went to college in San Diego but spent half the week up here, staying with friends like Britt a.k.a @Batmansmom and the other amazing girlfriends I had met. I have found that the women in Los Angeles are spectacular and that there is an abundance of simply rad women. Eventually the stars decided to point me towards full time living here and I have never looked back.
HS: What is your current state of mind?
KK: Full and happy! I am running a business, planning a wedding, decorating a little ranch house and selling the first house that I bought myself. Not to mention day-to-day living. I feel grateful every minute and I have learned the art of the to-do list. I like the range of things happening, knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we have. One of my favorite things about best U is the range of information I need to and get to acquire. It has not been an easy task to not get overwhelmed by that, and now that I have figured out a bit more how to manage this it has evolved into something fun. An hour learning the body and workouts one day, an hour learning QuickBooks the next and marketing strategies the following. There is no shortage of information out there that's for sure.
HS: Tell us about Best U. How did you develop the U bar and what are the benefits?
KK: The concept of the U bar is the brainchild of my amazing girlfriend and business partner, Nadine Loren. Much of my business plan revolved being the best version of you. I think one of the most harmful things we do to ourselves is to compare and when we focus in a positive way on becoming our best selves amazing things happen. We are all different. To have the courage to be who we are, the best version of that person is a powerful thing. I also don't think in regards to a workout that everyday should be the same. Some days you push yourself, some days you just want movement. It is important to honor that, which is one of the reasons we created these fun magnetic mantras in a total range to remind you of that. That is a bit of the philosophy behind the studio. When Nadine and I decided to go into business together, she read all of this and purposed the idea of creating "U bars" instead of ballet bars to coincide with the founding beliefs. She is one of those woman that truly believes she can turn the sky purple, so full of love and optimism. When I told her that, she said "well yea, wear purple tinted sunglasses and there you have it." An incredible example of your reality is in the eye of the beholder." So we went to work creating the U bar. It went thru many various evolvements until we created what we have now, which is patent pending! It comes in four different weights, goes on the wall and then it comes off for free weights as well as added core resistance. The distance is wide enough to keep your shoulders wide and force your core to engage as you do various forms of cardio and dance. We are currently working on at home version so stay tuned for that.
HS: What books are on your nightstand at the moment?
KK: The Goldfinch, A fitness book, (my personal training manual, I was doing a refresher) and The Spymistress. The latter I picked up at the airport, it is historical fiction, which I love. The story is a true account of a woman during the civil war who defied the Confederacy and aided in helping the Northerners. I find it so interesting, especially when done by a good author who writes as though it is simply a story you are witnessing. I recommend it.
HS: Who is someone you would consider your mentor?
KK: I am starting to meet more women in the fitness and the small business community. There is so much to learn when starting a business that I find mentors in various ways. I have recently found myself looking for some great networks of women in Los Angeles. I don't know if they are my mentors per say, but I have inspiration in a range of people from my fiancé to my dad, to Britt to my business partner. These people and more help tremendously on the days that are tough, when the world seems too overwhelming instead of too possible.
HS: Do you have any hidden talents?
KK: I can remember the lyrics to any country song! Any. Lucky are those that get to ride in a car with me, because behind the wheel I will belt out George Straight like nobody's business.
HS: That's AMAZING!!! We can't wait to plan a #ROADTRIP! Can you tell us about pivotal moment in your life?
KK: Being fired from my job was a very difficult time in my life. It happens to many of us, but it is not easy from an ego standpoint nor a financial. I had just gotten my first steady acting job on General Hospital, loved having somewhere to go and something to be inspired by. There was a regime change, and with the new producer came a slate cleanse of many of the newer actors. I had a 4-year contract and ended up doing less than 1. It turned into the biggest blessing of my life. It forced me to look at what I really wanted to do. I was scared of what the future held and I hadn't finished college so I was feeling unsure of myself. I didn’t know that I wanted to pursue acting anymore because it was never the game plan to act forever. I took the opportunity to find what it was I wanted lifelong. I started taking business classes, got certified as a trainer, read business and motivational books like nobody's business and realized it was time to "cowboy up." I made the life I wanted, which was being surrounded by incredible people and helping them to realize they are stronger than they think and that they can do anything that they set their minds to.
HS: Have you ever had an "AH-HA" moment?
KK: There was a time I put it as "I couldn't figure out how to be happy." Happiness is a choice, and sometimes it is difficult to figure out how to actually feel that happiness and contentment within instead of simply aspiring for it. I was not happy and couldn't figure out how to get that way. Once I opened up to friends and trusted myself, the happiness started to come. Amongst starting to do other things, but I think there is a lot of fear associated when we know we SHOULD be happy, yet are not. We can enclose ourselves in our own world for fear of being a burden, when in reality true friends are the ones that are there regardless of your state of being. I realized how blessed I was and how to create the days I wanted, which in turn led to the life I wanted. Everyday I am grateful.
HS: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
KK: I am the messiest human known to man. There...I said it! Basically a walking human explosion, which is something I have had to improve since other people are at my desk too. True-life confession, there you have it.
HS: Tell us about a woman in your life that has inspired you.
KK: My best friend, Britt. She has been my friend since we were four, my first friend when moving from Wyoming. Watching her go through breast cancer is hard, but to see her resilience and the way she lives life is truly inspiring.
HS: Being an entrepreneur is difficult and rewarding. What is some advice you have for someone starting his or her own business?
KK: Fine tune the task at hand. One of the most overwhelming things when I started, was knowing how much I had to learn and how much I WANTED to learn. Don't get too overwhelmed - every step counts towards the big picture. Dream big and take the little steps needed to get there.
HS: What is something you wish you knew when you were 22?
KK: That a healthy diet isn't vodka red bull and patron!!! And that you do deserve to be happy.
HS: Where is your favorite place that you’ve traveled to?
KK: Italy! My fiancé and I went last year; I absolutely fell in love with it. The fact that the people spend their days loving life, enjoying in the beauty and the simplicity was so inspiring. I believe simplicity is often overlooked. This pertains to both the way of life to the culture. The ingredients are simple, yet of an incredible quality. I didn’t eat pasta until later in life, safe to say I love it! It's not a meal you can have often so when I do I make sure to savor every bite. I fell in love with everything about the Italian culture… the history, the architecture, the fact that people spend an afternoon enjoying an espresso and people watching.
HS: For someone who has never been there - what do you suggest they see/do/eat/drink there?
KK: We went to a few parts of Italy: Milan, Lake Como, Verona and Venice. There is SO much to explore, but I only speak for those locations. In Lake Como we took a boat tour across the water, our guide was incredible and so kind and full of facts and history about the Lake. At one point we hit a wave and the small boat got doused. It was amazing. I was wearing a white Dolce & Gabbana mini dress and cute sandals. Within three minutes I was looking more like a little drowned Chihuahua it was hilarious! Love those types of adventures. Another piece of advice - eat EVERYTHING! In Verona we went to a restaurant tucked away on a side street. So much of life is people that you cross paths with, and they were beautiful there. We didn't speak Italian, other than a few inappropriate phrases that didn't do me much good there. So going to this restaurant and their limited English ordering the most delicious meal because we simply put ourselves in their hands. In Venice we stayed at the Hotel Cipriani, which has a claim to fame that the Bellini was invented there. Venice had so much glamour. Not to mention, hundreds of years ago they literally BUILT a city. In the ocean… I mean… I definitely returned home saying, "well if they can build an island I can learn QuickBooks." Yet again, the world is full of possibility. You really can't go wrong anywhere in Italy.
HS: Where is your next travel destination?
KK: I have two answers: one I am getting married, so many of my weekends are spent trying to find a venue that suits us. We are going to Napa soon and I am taking full advantage of this engagement. The second answer is I am heading to Kentucky with a pit stop in Nashville. Another amazing girlfriend Desi just got married there. Louisville is an awesome town! And the antiques... it became a joke that we wouldn't stop talking about the antiques we found. My dad and I are flying into Nashville, renting a U haul and driving the furniture we got back from Kentucky. You just can’t beat the prices! And when you're 200 miles from Nashville and have never been it makes sense to start there. I am from a family of truck drivers and rodeo cowboys so 2000 mile driving across America sounds like a magical way to spend a week.
HS: Finish these sentences:
If I could live anywhere in the world it would be… LA but with the opportunity to get out of town.
Someone I admire most is… my dad.
There’s nothing better than… laughter.
My most embarrassing moment was when… I walked my first red carpet. I had food in my teeth, so after smiling and beaming for pictures, I was informed that I might want to take a look in a mirror.
My guilty pleasure is… having a great glass of wine and watching Nashville.
HS: Who is your style crush?
KK: Sienna Miller
HS: What is your idea of happiness?
KK: Authenticity. Being surrounded by great people. The ability to work hard and enjoy every minute in my life.
HS: What is a quote that best describes you and your outlook on life?
KK: "Never let enough reality in to your life that there is no room to dream." My dad is a big advocate of dreaming, working incredibly hard and that if you struggle with your mindset or a situation in life it is your power to change it. Create the life you want.
HS: Ojai is on of our favorite places on the west coast. It must have been magical growing up there. Can you share some things that make this place so beautiful?
KK: Rumor has it is one of the only valleys in the continental US that runs East to West, making it a spiritual mecca. I believe that it is also special because it has small town qualities. We grew up outside, skateboarding the neighborhood, strolling through orange orchards. I don't think that mentality has left the place and I hope that it never will.
HS: To somebody who has never visited Ojai, what would recommend them see or do while they are in town?
KK: One of my favorite hikes is up the 33. It is about an hour to the top and an hour down. There is an incline so your booty really feels it, especially if you run up hill. When you get to the top you see the entire valley. It’s a great place to sit and do some yoga. The hike is called Cozy Dell. Also, Boccallis restaurant! They have homegrown Ojai produce (TIP - they don't take cards just cash or check!) They have the best strawberry shortcake you will ever have, there’s a great patio and it feels very small town.
HS: Top Instagram accounts that you follow and why?
KK: I tend to follow my friends often.
@Mlle_Clothing - Mlle Mademoiselle. The line is sexy, the pictures gorgeous.
@Hautestreet (it's true) to see what everyone is up to and to keep the inspiration flowing.
@SpiritualGangster, love their clothing and the message behind it.
HS: Best advice someone has given you that has kept you going and growing?
KK: "You get each day once - make the most of it." When we look at a day as though we will never get it back, we treat it with respect. That doesn't mean I work my booty off everyday, it means to committing what you want out of a day: relax, alone time, friendship, a wild one... choose and don't feel bad about it.
HS: What is your favorite item in your closet?
KK: It would have to be a belt that I have. The buckle is my dad's that he won riding bulls and I have it on a belt I love that I got in a small town in Wyoming. I actually brought it with me today!
HS: Who are your top three fashion icons?
KK: Coco Chanel, Kate Moss, Brigitte Bardot
HS: What upcoming projects & involvements can Haute Street viewers look forward to seeing?
KK: Lots with BEST U! Everyday I have the greatest time putting together events. We are doing a workout with "Burn This" and Marie Claire in October. I am also putting together a fun country music workout class, lots of stuff. In regards to my personal life, my wedding!
HS: HAUTE STREET x the MUSE diaries is all about giving back to those that are in need. Tell us about your “Passion Project.” Why did you choose this cause?
KK: I am currently talking to a few people about how to get more involved, but I am passionate about helping young girls build confidence and realize they can do anything. There is a difference between self-confidence and self worth. The more we can help to build self worth in an individual, the more people will realize their own power and potential. More and more women are realizing that, more organizations being formed and the power of women collectively is truly being recognized. If we start with young girls, imagine what the next generation will bring.
HS: Continuing on with our tradition, "What would you like to ask our next muse?"
KK: What is a culture that you respect and admire, either in past or present times?