How to full-time hustle like Kelly

Who is Kelly?

I dropped out of school, bought a one way ticket to LA when I was 19.  I got into PR and marketing for artists, galleries and exhibits. While I was there, one of my friends reached out asking “Can you carry my piece?” I had no idea what that meant. So, I Googled it and thought this looked easy. 

So I got into curating and as I started doing it a lot more, I got a lot of artists DM-ing me saying “I love your Instagram feed and can you curate my pieces because I love how you curate your work.”  I was like wow this is crazy so I kept at it. Now I'm at a point where I've  done exhibits in Toronto, LA and New York.

What are you working on right now?

I’m doing this exhibit with Jason De León, he’s an artist and an archaeologist. He creates these beautiful, very emotional and captivating installations with backpacks from migrants and refugees. It shows stories about their journey and their struggles. It's so moving to actually be there and stand in front of their backpacks and items they left behind.

And, for your job, you do a lot of traveling right?

Yeah, I love traveling. I always see it as intense because not a lot of people get to be in a tube in the sky. I think my perspective of how I view things in the world is so different than a lot of people. Even when I get 23 hour flights, the whole flight I’m staring out the window because I just can’t even grasp how big the universe is and everything is so different.

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Do you consider yourself a hustler?

100%. I always have like 5 jobs on the go all the time. Because I get bored easily and it stimulates me. I consider myself an artist so I try to interweave my creativity through the bodies of work that I curate, or that I’m doing media press releases for.

You have done all these amazing things and not everything you are going to do is a hit. So when feel like you are not good enough, how do you handle that?

I never felt that way about anything. I don’t know if that is going to come off as conceited. I feel that failure is such a great accomplishment because it allows you to grow. When there’s rejection, I apply it positively because you are not going to get everything you want. We live in a DIY generation. So, if you want something, you have to do everything to attain that. If someone says no, you just have to keep going because somebody, at one point, will say yes. It doesn’t depend on anyone else, it depends on yourself. So, I really don’t maneuver it into a negative outlet, I maneuver it into a positive one.

What are you happy about right now, what are you celebrating?

So, last year was a horrible year for me. This year, I made it a point to really really appreciate myself. I will look at myself in the mirror and be like “Thank you so much and I love you.” This also happened when I was stoned. I was in the shower and washing my arms and I thought, “I’ve never actually paid attention to my body and looked at my skin and actually appreciated myself. Cuz you are a capsule of your being. And why wouldn’t you love yourself and be thankful to your body for getting you out of your bed and getting you to walk outside the door?” So, I hugged myself in the shower and I was like wow this feels so good.

How do you want to be remembered?

I want to show other people happiness and enlightenment. So, I would love to be remembered as a person who did that and showed you that. But, I also have this weird thing, that anytime I’m with somebody, I want them to have the best experience of their life. I want this person, whoever I’m with, to feel like they are the only person in that moment with me, even if we’re doing something mundane.

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How should people handle sadness?

When people are going through tough moments, they box themselves into bad situations like listening to sad music. This actually defeats the purpose of you getting better, it totally reinforces your negative emotions which ends with you being in a schlump.

And so I started listening to really good and positive music and started doing dancing parties in my apartment. So, I randomly had somebody on Instagram message me and ask how I’m so happy all the time.  And, I was like I’m having the worst fucking year of my life, BUT I’ve just been having random dance parties, call me in 15 minutes. So, I had this person I’ve never met before video conference me on Instagram, and we had a dance party to our favourite song. Now I do that often with 10 people on Instagram that I have never met, and it’s just these random dance parties and we are like “Okay have a great day! See ya!”