With over 500 million views across media outlets and websites worldwide, and over one and a half million Facebook followers, Kristina already has a voice and personality that has proven to be a hit with a massive audience.
Today’s guest is globally renowned for her parenting humour… The Huffington Post calls it “parenting comedy at its finest”!
Kristina Kuzmic is energetic and funny, and has an in-your-face perspective on parenting and on life in general. You may have seen Kristina on your Facebook feed, or on some internet, radio or TV outlet. She has become a YouTube sensation with her “mom-centric” videos about raising children and juggling all of life’s challenges. With over 500 million views across media outlets and websites worldwide, Kristina has a voice and personality that has proven to be a hit with audiences everywhere.
We talked about parenting, depression, finding your feet, building a brand and remarrying…
A huge thank you to Naseba and the Global WIL Economic Forum 2017 for making this interview possible.
Read the Transcript
Rana Nawas: (00:00)
Ladies and gents, I’m absolutely thrilled to have on today’s show someone who is known globally for her parenting humor. If you’re on facebook, you’ve probably seen he. Kristina Kuzmic is energetic and funny and has an in-your-face perspective on parenting and on life in general. She’s all over the Internet, radio, and TV. She’s become a youtube sensation with her mom centric videos about raising children and juggling all of life’s challenges. The Huffington Post call her videos, parenting comedy at its finest. With over 300 million views, Kristina has a voice and personality that is proven to be a hit with audiences everywhere. We’ll talk about parenting, depression, finding your feet, and building a brand. So let’s get into it. Kristina it is so good to meet you and thanks so much for taking the time to be with us on When Women When.
Kristina Kuzmic: (01:00)
I’m so glad to be here.
Rana Nawas: (01:01)
Great. So this podcast is about sharing stories that enrich lives. It’s about giving professional women everywhere access to awesome role models like yourself so that we can be inspired and also learn practical life tips and you’re the queen of life hacks. So let’s start there. Let’s start with parenting life hacks. Go for it.
Kristina Kuzmic: (01:21)
Oh my gosh, just trying to stay sane. Get rid of all your preconceived ideas of what parenting will be. I think one of the main things we do is we, we get this idea of what it’s going to be like and then we can ever live up to that because our, it’s just unrealistic. Raising humans is really hard and then we end up just beating ourselves up all the time. That we’re not the parent we envisioned we’d be. I feel like with parenting hacks, I mean yes, there are practical things to make the actual like kids’ behavior improve and all that. But so much of it comes down to our own self abuse. I mean I think especially moms are like the most self abusive people ever. You know, we just beat ourselves up over the silliest things. So the more we can get rid of that, I think the more we’re gonna enjoy parenting and the more you enjoy parenting, the better parent you’re going to be because it’s not all just stress and, you know, these kids are killing me.
Rana Nawas: (02:11)
I mean, I’ve seen a lot of your stuff and sometimes it looks like you’re friends with your kids.
Kristina Kuzmic: (02:15)
Rana Nawas: (02:15)
But at sometimes it really looks like you’re not.
Kristina Kuzmic: (02:18)
So my philosophy on parenting is, I call myself a strict fun parent and to me it’s all about finding that balance between being strict, having rules, following through on those rules, which is really annoying at times because, you know, you threatened if you do this again, this is going to happen and then that happening kind of actually confuses into your lives so you are like ah, should I just let it go this time? So following through is huge. My kids are, you know, they have been doing their own laundry since 10 years old, you know, I taught them in at nine years old. I said I’m going to start teaching you. We’re gonna, you know, all the things and by 10 you’re on your own and so there’s, you know, they have to keep their rooms clean, not every day, but you know, we have rules is my point. And I actually have a video where I talk about not being their friend in the sense that, you know, my number one job is not to make them happy all the time, it’s to teach them how to be decent human beings. But then there’s the fun side, right? Where we have really silly family traditions. We celebrate half birthdays and I make half a cake and we sing half of the happy birthday song, every single time and just to complicate things because we like to complicate things, we sing every other syllable of the happy birthday song instead of just half a song. Just make it complicated and we have dance parties, you know, I realized early on when my oldest started school. He’s not a morning person. I’m not a morning person. Mornings were stressful. So, instead of get out of bed, I would just blast eighties music, which is his favorite and we would dance in the morning and it just wakes you up instantly and it was way less stressful. It was a more fun way to start the morning. I didn’t have to drag him out of bed or pour water on him, which I have before. So, you know, there’s that element of fun. I mean, we, you know, we play pranks on each other, although I will stay up late just planning the prank, you know, but here’s the thing, I can do those things with my kids because I am strict. If it was all that 100 percent of the time, my life would be chaos and we wouldn’t have a good relationship and my kids would probably be serious brats, you know, like just the worst kids ever. So I think it’s all about finding the combination. You have to find fun in life and I want to teach my kids life is hard. There are parts of their life, unfortunately, that I can’t protect them from. I’m not going to be able to fix. You know, life is going to suck at times. I always say life it will surprise you in the best of ways and life will surprise you in the worst of ways and so when it surprised in the worst of ways, I want them to find the fun, but at the same time I want them to be responsible, decent human beings.
Rana Nawas: (04:42)
Wow, and how does that work with 12 and 13, sorry, 12 and 3. How does that work?
Kristina Kuzmic: (04:49)
It’s, I mean, I wasn’t expecting to have this kind of age range. My 14 and 12 year old are from my first marriage and then I got divorced and then got remarried and had my three year old, the 12 and three year old actually are great because she like takes such good care of him and just loves him and it’s the cutest thing. The 14 year old is a 14 year old, so he’s kind of in his own little world. But I always, you know, again, it’s like what I was saying before, we always beat ourselves up. So instead I like literally will, I bought myself a tiara recently. Because I said I’m raising a teenager, preteen, and a toddler. Like, I am Miss. Something, I don’t know what. I mean, the fact that I can stand up and make a cohesive sentence every once in a while, while raising a teenager, preteen and toddler, like three stages, I deserve a tiara. So I went and bought myself a tiara and when a day gets bad and I’m just like, I’m gonna lose my mind and I smell like motherhood, which is not a great smell, and life is just, you know, I just feel like a loser. I put the tiara on and I’m like, I’m rocking this thing. Like my kids are alive, my house is standing, and I peed in private once. I am amazing.
Rana Nawas: (05:52)
I love it. I am so buying myself a tiara because I have a three year old and a one year old.
Kristina Kuzmic: (05:58)
You need a tiara,
Rana Nawas: (05:58)
I need a tiara and I need a trophy.
Kristina Kuzmic: (05:59)
It needs to be gaudy, like it just needs to be, it needs to be one of those tiaras where you can’t walk through a doorway because it’s tall.
Rana Nawas: (06:07)
And people are gonna say, oh, it’s because it’s Halloween and I’m going to be like, no.
Kristina Kuzmic: (06:09)
No, it’s because I’m a mother.
Rana Nawas: (06:12)
Great, okay. You talked about the bad surprises life could sometimes give you, obviously your divorce was one of those, and what happened after that? Also, can you talk to us a bit about the divorce, how it came about and how, more importantly, your reaction to it?
Kristina Kuzmic: (06:27)
Sure. So I never, and I’m sure if you’ve looked at my stuff you’d notice, I never share why I got divorced and the reason, I know everybody’s nosey and I get questions all the time like, why did you leave your husband? And the main reason for that is because it’s not my part to share something that affects other people. I’m very open when it comes to my own life, but if it’s going to affect other people and especially, I’m not even talking so much about my ex-husband, but even out of respect for him, but also my children, you know, they don’t need to hear all those things. It’s unnecessary. So I don’t share that on purpose and I believe that something that divorced parents in general should, you know, you should, I always say have your village, right? Have your friends that you can lean on because divorce sucks, but your children should never be your village, so you should never go to your children and go, you will not believe what your dad did. It’s not, it’s a low that is too heavy for them to carry. Don’t put that on them. I always say so, but yeah, when I went through my divorce, I was completely broke. I shared a room with my children, couldn’t even afford, you know, my own bedroom. Couldn’t even affort a mattress and slept on the floor. I had to get government help for food. Thought I was gonna be home. I mean thankfully we weren’t homeless, but I had every homeless shelter, you know, in a little piece of paper I kept in my wallet because I’m like, any day now we’re going to end up on the street and I do not want to be on the street with my kids and probably the hardest part wasn’t even just the financial stuff, it was that I sunk into such a deep depression. I just, I just felt worthless. I felt like my kids deserve better. I, you know, I had those nights where I was up all night crying and then the next night up all night, just kind of numb and just thinking, would it be better if I wasn’t here? Like maybe maybe I’m actually making my kids life worse because I’m pretty much useless. I’m worthless. I’m not somebody anybody should look up to. I basically, you know, hit rock bottom. Yeah.
Rana Nawas: (08:17)
Can you tell us the story that I saw that little video that I really loved about turning points.
Kristina Kuzmic: (08:22)
Rana Nawas: (08:22)
Can you share with the listeners your turning point?
Kristina Kuzmic: (08:25)
So, I don’t know if other people can relate, when you’re going through a really hard miserable time, you become sort of obsessed with yourself, like with your own misery. I wrote an article, I wrote something like I was breathing, eating, and making out with self pity. I mean, that’s literally felt like. Self pity was it and in one night I thought, I need to get out of this. Like I have to get out of this mindset or I’m gonna lose my mind or I’m going to end up taking my life or I’m going to end up in a mental hospital and then lose my children forever. Like I can’t. I’m going insane and the only thing I’d come up with was, in order to not be obsessed myself, maybe I need to think about others because then it’ll be a distraction from, oh my life is so hard, blah, blah blah. And so I got all excited the next morning I called up places to volunteer. I thought at least for a few hours a week I can get away from myself and called, you know, hospitals and homeless shelters and soup kitchens and got denied by everyone because my kids were like, I don’t know, one and three or two and three at the time and I couldn’t afford a babysitter and nobody wants a two and a three year old running around a children’s hospital like that’s just gonna cause problems. So here I am and I get rejected. I mean, you feel like a loser, then you get rejected from volunteering and you’re like, wow, I need a Tiara but of a different kind, like I want something for like being the biggest loser in the world. And I thought, okay, well if nobody wants me, is there one thing that I’m, even when I feel like, you know, everything’s wrong and I’ve nothing to offer us, in one thing I’m still confident and the only thing I’d come up with is I know how to cook. I mean my grandma taught me how to cook when I was five and I know how to cook a great meal on like no money and so impulsively sent an email to all my friends in the area and I said, if you know anyone who needs a meal, everyone’s in it, I will feed people. You just need to know them personally because the safety of my kids but I don’t care if it’s a homeless person, I don’t care if it’s somebody that’s way richer than me. It can be a millionaire who’s just lonely and needs company. It’s not about money. It’s about, does somebody need company and you know, just a meal with a family and that first Wednesday night, Wednesday night nine cents store, which is like my favorite place in the world. Pasta, didn’t make anything fancy. You know, I didn’t have money to make anything fancy and fed over 30 people.
Rana Nawas: (10:38)
On the first night.
Kristina Kuzmic: (10:39)
On the first night. I mean, I kinda get choked up every time I think about it because, I mean, people were holding their plates and standing outside the apartment, like holding the door open because they couldn’t even, my apartment was so small. But, and in the midst of it I was just sort of, you know, do I need to make more pasta and does everybody have what they need and blah blah blah, you know. Kind of being the hostess and also a little shocked that anybody would bring people to my apartment because I thought I was just like an embarrassing mess that my friends would not want to introduce to anyone and then I’m just so distracted with everything and then I remember the last person leaving and me closing the door and I literally fell to the ground and just lost it. I mean, I was just like massive tears or do you know that crying when you can’t even breathe, you’re like. But it wasn’t the same tears I’d been crying before, you know. Months and months and months before it wasn’t the tears of my life sucks and everything. So it was like, oh my gosh, look what I did. I’m not worthless, I’m not worthless and next day, the next few days, getting emails from a few of the people that were there saying, oh my gosh, I was new to town and you helped me so much and I’m like, wait, I helped, I the loser helped somebody. But it was my turning point because A) there was hope. There was hope that I could, I still had something to offer. My life was not useless. And then B) sorry, I always cry when I talk about this, it just changed everything for me because I thought, oh, I’ve spent all this time just treating myself so horribly, which is one of the reasons I’m so big on helping moms get over guilt and focusing on everything I am. Everything I am not and everything I can’t do and, you know, all I had to do to pull these Wednesday night dinners off is I had to focus on one tiny little thing that seemed completely insignificant. Like who cares that you can cook Kristina, you’re still a loser, right? But focusing on one little thing I can do and I can offer and then just doing something with that and that’s literally how everything now, personally, you know, in my life as a parent, as a wife now again, as, you know, in my business, it’s like, it’s so easy for me to go, you know, when I’m making my videos, I can’t pull that video off because I don’t know this technical thing and I won’t be able to edit it and I just am able to go, stop. What can you do? Focus on what can you do, you know, what you can do and saving my marriage. Like I’m not, this isn’t going to work, but what can I do? What do I have to offer? Same in parenting, you know, like, I can’t fix this problem for my child. I can’t take away their pain that they, you know, a friend just caused. But what can I do? I can sit with them, you know, I can take them out to eat and give them all the love and attention, so it’s just changed completely the way I think.
Rana Nawas: (13:22)
Changing the dialogue in your head from what I don’t have and what I can’t do to what can I do right now.
Kristina Kuzmic: (13:29)
And I’m telling you, that kind of thinking is what led me now to a happy marriage and what led me to a very successful career and a very, I mean.
Rana Nawas: (13:37)
Well, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about this awesome career you filled. I mean, we went from the depths of depression, feeding 30 people in a teeny tiny flat, to you and I sitting here at the Ritz Carlton having a chat. So, in Dubai. So what, how did this come about?
Kristina Kuzmic: (13:52)
So, I’m trying, there’s just a, my stories are so long. Well after I had my third baby, I really started thinking about all the things I’ve been through and everything and I thought, I didn’t really have anyone that I could look up to in the sense of like, oh, they get it or encouragement and so I decided to I, and, and this might sound cheesy, but it’s literally what drives everything I do, I want to be for others what I needed when I was sleeping on that floor and so the first thing I thought of is, yeah, I just want to make Moms laugh, I just want to make Moms laugh. So I was up one night breastfeeding my baby and I thought I’m going to figure out how to make videos. So I googled how to edit videos and taught myself during the night when I was up breastfeeding because, you know, days are crazy when you’re a mom. That was like my time to teach myself how to edit. The first video I made was “4 Reasons Stretchmarks are Sexy” because I thought, and it was literally came from me holding my baby and my shirt is up, I’m breastfeeding and I’m looking down and like my stomach looks like a roadmap and I thought, oh my stomach will never be the same. I thought, you know what? I’m not the only mom thinking this way. Let’s, let’s flip it. You know, let’s make it, let’s do something funny where we make it seem like the most attractive thing ever to have stretch marks and that was the first one and then, I’m also just make comedy and really sort of did it like, I’ll encourage some friends and a few people strangers on facebook, you know. Never thought this will be a successful career someday. Which I think, by the way, is a good approach. Start it because you love it and because, you know, a lot of people will say to their kids, and I didn’t come up with this by the way, I read it somewhere, will ask their kids, what do you want to be when you grow up? And I always ask, what problem do you want to solve? Because it’s a, it’s a way of getting kids to think differently and this was the problem I wanted to solve. I want it to be for others again. I knew that there were other mom’s sleeping on a floor, feeling worthless, and I wanted to give them something and it started just with humor and then as I started getting emails from moms that were like, oh, thank you for making me laugh because my life and then listing all the craziness and horrible things they’re going through, I thought I should share my tough stuff too and then I started sharing my story and it just grew. I mean, it’s crazy. It, I just think it’s, a year ago, a little over a year ago, I had like, I think 30,000 followers and I, it took a while to get there and now I gained at least 100,000 every month and at one point 6 million and I’m telling you, I’m not saying that to brag or anything, I just think for anybody that’s trying to build a brand, just find, again, have a good reason why you’re doing it. Have a good, it’s like with your podcast. You know, you have a reason, you want to help women. Don’t do it for the numbers because I don’t think that’s the way to do it but I think things just grow naturally when you’re authentic and when you’re honest and vulnerable and again, find the problem that you want to solve.
Rana Nawas: (16:49)
Yeah and what mediums do you use? You use mostly youtube?
Kristina Kuzmic: (16:52)
I started with Youtube and then actually I was approached by a company that said, listen, we’ll pay you to make videos, post them on facebook, and you have complete freedom to do whatever you want. We will never edit. We will not, you know, you don’t even have to talk to about parenting like the video. The next video coming out actually is about my chocolate addiction. It has absolutely nothing to do with parenting. It’s just a silly video. So that was nice that they gave me complete freedom and that’s what sort of turned it more into facebook. So I do have youtube. Facebook is where my real sort of following and all the views are.
Rana Nawas: (17:25)
Okay. Now you said this started three years ago, but in 2011, let’s take a step back.
Kristina Kuzmic: (17:31)
Okay. Yeah. That’s the stuff I was like, oh.
Rana Nawas: (17:32)
Yeah, no, we’re going to go into that because you were chosen from 20,000 applicants and crowned the winner of Mark Burnett’s reality TV competition. So Oprah’s search for the next TV star. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?
Kristina Kuzmic: (17:45)
Sure. Okay, so I got married after being one of those people that’s like I’m never getting married again. All men are horrible. I got, I’m married to an amazing man and he was in grad school at the time. I’m still, you know, waitressing and sort of barely making it and we didn’t, couldn’t afford a honeymoon. So the day after the wedding he says, what do you want to do? You’re so passionate. You’re so creative. What do you want to do? I said, I have no idea. I’ve been in survival mode. I was just been trying to survive with these kids and, you know, keep them alive and all that and he said, well, here, take my car keys. Go somewhere and just get away from the stress of motherhood. I’ll feed the kids, put them to bed and think about if life didn’t get so bad, what do you think you’d be doing right now? So I drove around for five hours, came back and I said, you know, I feel like cooking saved my life. Those Wednesday night dinners literally saved my life, so I want to do something with cooking and so we kind of brainstormed and I said, if you want to make some videos, he called up a friend and was like, hey, you know how to edit and film, would you do a favor? We filmed a couple of videos.
Rana Nawas: (18:48)
Of you cooking?
Kristina Kuzmic: (18:50)
Rana Nawas: (18:51)
Kristina Kuzmic: (18:51)
And kind of silly, like again, even then, even though I didn’t put it into words, I wanted to be what proud that’s I needed. So I wanted to do something that wasn’t intimidating. I wanted to show my messy kitchen. I made sure that my sink was full of dirty dishes in every, you know, video because I’m like, this is what moms need to see. They need to stop feeling guilty and think that everybody else’s house is perfect and this random lady finds my videos on Youtube, never met her, emails me, you need to enter the Oprah competition. I said I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t even have a TV right now, so she sends me the link and I send in a video and within a few weeks I am face to face with Mark Burnett who was the producer of the Voice and Survivor, and within a few months, oprah crowns, I had to go through like a little reality competition, 10 people out of 20,000 got picked to be in this reality competition, and I won. I mean, I put out my first video in April and I won the competition October.
Rana Nawas: (19:46)
Kristina Kuzmic: (19:46)
So, that’s crazy. I call it my cinderella story, but instead of prince, I had oprah and instead of a glass slipper she gave me a car and a job.
Rana Nawas: (19:56)
Yeah and she said some really nice things about you. I mean, she calls you charming, charismatic, connect to the audience, I want to know her, I want to be her. So you guys must be friends.
Kristina Kuzmic: (20:06)
She was very, very sweet to me.
Rana Nawas: (20:08)
That’s amazing. It’s nice to see women supporting women. Women at that level, pulling women up.
Kristina Kuzmic: (20:14)
She is. I always tell people are always like, what is she like? Is she like really mean in person? For some reason, it really makes me sad. People don’t ask that about men, but powerful women, they’ll go, oh, is she a, you know, bi? She is exactly what she is on television. She’s just so sweet and I think a lot of it does come from the fact that her past was difficult, you know? And so she knows what it’s like to struggle.
Rana Nawas: (20:38)
So, Kristina, you write a lot. I mean, you’ve written many blog posts, you’ve created a lot of content videos, post articles, and shared on many websites. Could you please share with our listeners maybe a couple of your more popular posts, like what’s resonated with your audience?
Kristina Kuzmic: (20:51)
Well, so the most recent one, actually I haven’t been writing a lot recently on my blog because I’m working on a book and it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But about a year ago, I wrote a piece called “I Didn’t Tell” and it was about my experience with being sexually harassed by a powerful person in Hollywood and not saying anything and I had no idea that with, I mean, that was like during kind of the Cosby thing when all that’s stuff. I had no idea that a year later all the Harvey Weinstein stuff would come out and so that’s resonated. It resonated then and it’s resonating again now with the whole Me Too movement and I think it’s because, unfortunately, and I hate saying this because I do have a daughter, almost every single woman I’ve met has had some kind of experience, whether it be an, I don’t even, I’m not even gonna say that because I don’t want to put it on levels because sexual harassment is sexual harassment, but every woman has experienced some level of it, let’s put it that way and so that’s really scary as a mother of a daughter, but that’s probably the one that’s really kind of blown up and then I did write a few years ago about meeting my husband and, you know, just that whole year that I think a lot of single moms have of, am I really lovable and does he really want me and the kids? Like this a lot, so.
Rana Nawas: (22:19)
And how did that work between your new husband and the kids? Because I mean, I saw a picture, that book that he wrote them.
Kristina Kuzmic: (22:27)
Yes, he made them a book for our wedding day called one more person to love us.
Rana Nawas: (22:30)
And it was beautiful. I mean, I was crying, right? I was reading it and crying. So maybe you can tell the listeners a little bit about it, if you don’t mind.
Kristina Kuzmic: (22:37)
Sure. So, when we got married he was like, I want to, I want to somehow make them part of the ceremony, you know, and we’ve seen the whole like give them a necklace, give them a ring and then something. They had this special thing where they would do a lot of story time. They loved when he read to them and so he said, what if I wrote them a little book? And he wrote one draft, called “One More Person to Love Us” all about how, you know, I’m here now and I’m just, I’m not trying to replace your dad, I’m just one more person to love you and he wrote one draft and I was like, that’s it. Do not change a word and then I ended up drawing stick figures because we’re really trying to make it like a real book and I’m not an artist and then we took it to just a local printer and he printed it and then during the ceremony, they didn’t know anything about this, during the ceremony we’re doing our vows and all that and then the minister said, okay, it’s story time and the blanket was put out and then the kids came up and he read the story and there wasn’t a dry eye. But this is one thing I want to say about that, for any single moms. Don’t settle. You know, I think we, I think we in general, it doesn’t even matter if you’re a single mom, people just settle because they’re like, well, all my cousins and siblings are married. It’s my turn. I’ll just marry the next guy that gives me any attention and then once you become a single mom it’s worse because you got the stretch marks and I have kids and I’m tired and I had financial issues and I’m just not good enough and so you just sort of overlook any red flags because I can’t believe someone loves me and it’s just not worth it. Once you have kids, especially, you lose the right to settle. But I am so glad I didn’t settle because I have a man that never saw my kids as, well, I really love her, so I guess I’ll put up with the fact that she has kids. He never saw them as baggage or this extra thing he had to put up with. He just really loved the three of us, you know, as a package.
Rana Nawas: (24:22)
That’s beautiful. You know, I got the same advice, Kristina, I got married really late in life. I think I was around 34 or something. So really late by societal standards and the best advice I got came from a friend’s mom and her eldest had gotten divorced, recently got divorced, and so she looked at me and she said, she doesn’t know me that well, my friend’s mom, she said, Rana, whatever you do, never settle and this is really interesting because it was exactly the opposite of what my family was saying was, c’mon dah, dah, dah, settle down, and I’m really glad I took her advice.
Kristina Kuzmic: (25:04)
Yeah and I think one important thing I want to say about that is, I think sometimes people think not settling means finding someone perfect. Nope. There’s no one perfect. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about finding someone that you love for the correct reasons and they love you for the correct reasons and they’re not out there trying to change you and they’re not putting up with, you know, especially when it comes to kids, but anything and that you can do life with because marriage is not all romance and sex and fancy dinners. Marriage in a lot of ways, and I know it doesn’t sound very romantic to say it, it’s like a business and I always say, don’t marry someone you wouldn’t go into business with if you, you know, because you don’t trust them financially or they’re irresponsible or they’re super immature, but he’s so handsome, but I love him, but you know, he cooks really well. But because so much of marriage, think about it, you know, deal with finances and dealing with, this kid needs this and this needs to happen and I would say 80/90 percent is just trying to do life with somebody and then yes, the romance is important, I think it’s important to nurture that, but who is the best match for you?
Rana Nawas: (26:15)
Also, your best friend. I mean, you’re gonna see this person every day.
Kristina Kuzmic: (26:18)
Rana Nawas: (26:19)
You want it to be someone you enjoy hanging out with.
Kristina Kuzmic: (26:21)
Can you be a roommate with this person forever? Yeah.
Rana Nawas: (26:23)
Yeah, big question.
Kristina Kuzmic: (26:24)
Rana Nawas: (26:25)
Alright, Kristina, let’s talk about success. How has that been? What’s changed for you? I’m not talking about the sort of basic financial roof over my head stuff. I mean, what else has changed, relationships wise or with your kids, with your friends, with your family? How does it work?
Kristina Kuzmic: (26:40)
I think you find out who your real friends are. It was interesting, you said, not really financially, but it’s interesting, I had a couple people call me and go, oh, I’m going through a hard time. I actually had one friend say to me when I said, oh, I’m thinking about you and she said, why don’t you think about me with your checkbook? And I was like, okay, okay, okay, we got, I get it, I know you are now. But it’s just, it’s interesting, you know. But I also really, it brought a whole new appreciation for the people in my life, you know, the real people and I don’t, I mean it’s, it’s weird, I don’t think I even asked my husband, do you think being successful changed me in any way? I don’t feel like it’s changed me, I feel like it definitely makes me feel, I think once you have a. Let’s put it this way, I think once you have a platform, your responsibility grows, right? And so, you know, when I first started it was like, I’ll just put out videos and I’ll just post whatever and now it’s a, there are a lot of people listening to what I say and there’s a responsibility to not just, to think things through and to not just put stuff out there that could in any way be destructive or hurtful or I just, I just feel a different sense of you there, you know, you have an audience and you owe it to them to not mess their lives up.
Rana Nawas: (28:08)
Use it wisely.
Kristina Kuzmic: (28:10)
But it’s funny. People, I get recognized occasionally and people are like, oh, how does that feel? And I’m like, it actually makes me insecure because I’m like, did I just pick my nose? Like, it was funny when my flight to Dubai was 16 hours, which is a long flight, and you know, I’m trying to get comfortable and sleep and then, we’re leaving the airplane and the flight attendant that was in charge of our section go, by the way, I love your videos and I looked at my husband and I said, did I snore? I mean, that was literally my first thought wasn’t like, oh my God. My first thought was like, what did I, you know? So it’s funny. It’s actually in ways made me more like self conscious about like what did I just do? Did I just pick a wedgie right before, before that woman recognized me?
Rana Nawas: (28:54)
So you live in California?
Kristina Kuzmic: (28:55)
Rana Nawas: (28:55)
Yeah and how do you, how are you finding, well, first of all, how do you find the 16 hour flight? My husband has to do that for work, quite often, like often, several times a year and his company doesn’t pay for business class. So he’s in coach for 16 hours several times a year.
Kristina Kuzmic: (29:11)
Yes. We were in coach and I wouldn’t want to do it several times a year, but it was the best airline I have ever flown, by far.
Rana Nawas: (29:19)
Rana Nawas: (29:19)
Yes. My husband said later, he’s like, maybe it was a great flight because she you knew your videos because she was like bringing us chocolates. I’m like, did everybody chocolates? So, but no, it was a great flight.
Rana Nawas: (29:30)
Good stuff and what do you think of Dubai your first visit?
Kristina Kuzmic: (29:32)
I love it.
Rana Nawas: (29:33)
Kristina Kuzmic: (29:34)
I love it. Well A) I’m always fascinated with how other people live but it’s just so interesting to me. Like there’s just two completely different sides to Dubai and it’s just beautiful. I mean, the main people, honestly the way, I dont want to say judge but whatever, place is the people and everyone’s so friendly and oh my gosh, the customer service here is above and beyond. I feel like US always prides themselves on customer service, Dubai kind of puts US to shame when it comes to customer service and food is really big for me and I’ve had the best food so.
Rana Nawas: (30:08)
And I mean over here it’s 90 percent immigrant.
Kristina Kuzmic: (30:10)
Yeah, well I heard that yesterday and I think that’s probably another reason, I’m actually an immigrant to the US because I’m from Croatia originally, but I love a place with diversity, you know, it’s just, it’s so much more interesting when you have different races and different cultures and all come together and live together.
Rana Nawas: (30:30)
And how old were you when you moved to the US?
Kristina Kuzmic: (30:32)
I was 14.
Rana Nawas: (30:34)
So you speak Croatian?
Kristina Kuzmic: (30:36)
Oh yeah, my whole family is still in Croatia.
Rana Nawas: (30:36)
Oh wow. Because I’ve been to Dubrovnik and it’s one of my favorite spots on Earth.
Kristina Kuzmic: (30:41)
Oh my gosh. Dubrovnik is stunning.
Rana Nawas: (30:46)
Oh, look how you said that. Alright, okay, say split. Yeah, that’s really nice. No, we did a sailing holiday around Croatian islands.
Kristina Kuzmic: (30:53)
Oh my God.
Rana Nawas: (30:54)
And It was just magnificent. I really had a good time. Great, okay. Kristina, you are quite active on social media. Can you give our listeners some advice on how to use social media to build a brand?
Kristina Kuzmic: (31:04)
Sure. I mean, to be honest, it sort of happened unexpectedly for me but two things are most important. One, you have to be authentic. People are too smart. They’re going to figure it out. Pretending you have it all together, whatever, whatever it is, there’s something about authenticity that people crave and they attach themselves to so quickly. I cannot tell you, most people who write me somewhere in there, they’ll say, you just make me feel normal because you’re so real. I don’t care what. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, what your business is, you are going to grow your business more. You are going to have better, you know, more committed clients if they feel like they can relate to you, if they feel like they can trust you, and the only way to do that is to be really authentic and really honest and not, again, no matter what you are selling and what you’re building, no one’s going to believe that your whole life is perfect. All it’s gonna do is intimidate. I always tell my kids being perfect is not what’s gonna make you lovable. Being real is what’s gonna make you lovable. No one loves someone because they’re so perfect. So just getting rid of all of that, taking that pressure off and just being authentic and then the second thing is consistency. I noticed a huge growth in my following when I decided I’m going to post a new video every week. I’m going to go live once a week. Before there would be weeks that go by and I was one of those people and I was one of those people that were like I don’t want to over post, people are gonna get sick of me, you know, do what works for you, but have a consistency so that people can expect it. They know when it’s coming.
Rana Nawas: (32:35)
Whatever the rhythm is, just have a consistency.
Kristina Kuzmic: (32:37)
You create your own rhythm that works for you. I don’t think there’s one right formula but be consistent.
Rana Nawas: (32:42)
So let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about you personally. I’d like to know what, who are the people that inspire you everyday?
Kristina Kuzmic: (32:52)
Well, A) my children because I, I mean my whole job is based on motherhood so all my material comes from my real life, but also I don’t have, you know, people ask me who’s your role model? Who are the celebrities you look up to? And I don’t have celebrities that I, you know, that are my go to role model. For me, it’s the moms that write me, it’s the mom that writes me and tells me, you know, my kid has autism and my husband just left and I just found out I have cancer and you know, it’s tough. Somehow I’m getting through it and I just read that and sob and go, you are my, I could cry right now, you are my hero. You are my hero. You know, you have every reason to want to just stay in bed under the covers and you choose to get up every single day and love your family and that is the number one thing, by the way. It doesn’t matter if the kids are dressed perfectly every day. Doesn’t matter if the house is clean, you are choosing to love your family. That is your number one most important job is to love your family and you are doing that daily. No matter how much you’re struggling, like those are the people that I’m like, I want to be more like you. You are, you are amazing.
Rana Nawas: (33:54)
I feel exactly the same way. I mean my heroe is the everyday working mom.
Kristina Kuzmic: (33:57)
Rana Nawas: (33:58)
The everyday working mom.
Kristina Kuzmic: (34:00)
And so under appreciated and overlooked, you know?
Rana Nawas: (34:03)
Yep. That’s great. So people write to you all the time and you read everything? Do you reply yourself?
Kristina Kuzmic: (34:10)
This is one of the biggest guilt things I have is that I have so many messages that I can’t reply to. I mean, I literally would never see my kids and my fingers would fall off if I replied to every and it’s one of the things that really I feel horrible about because people pour their hearts out and there’s just not enough hours in a day. I just can’t. I mean, I literally get hundreds of emails or messages a day, I cannot, you know, and I also never want to just reply in general. Thanks so much for sharing that terrible story, I wish you all the best and so I have a rule where I try to answer five a day, which is nothing. It’s nothing, but again, you know, it goes back to that whole like, you gotta do what you can do and try not to beat yourself up over it. So I have to take care of my family.
Rana Nawas: (34:51)
No, that’s right. And do you have time to read given everything that you’re doing?
Kristina Kuzmic: (34:55)
Not so much anymore. I mean, less but I don’t know that I have a favorite book, but one of the books that had a big influence on me when I was going through my divorce was Eat, Pray, Love.
Rana Nawas: (35:07)
Oh, I’ve seen that movie. I’ve read that book. Which did you prefer?
Kristina Kuzmic: (35:09)
I liked the book. I love Julia Roberts but I liked the book better. I found myself, you know what, I will read a book and not really, I’m not an underliner, highlighter. I found myself, you know, struggling through my divorce and her book starts with her struggling through a breakup and all that and I found myself like underlining, which is, I’m not an underliner, but there were just lines and I was like, she gets me and again, it’s like I hope that I’m giving some of that through my videos to other moms. I just felt like she understood and then I didn’t have the means to travel the world, to heal myself from a divorce but I found my own way to do it, you know? But the underlining message that I found in the book was, she needed hope and I found myself in a place when I needed hope and then I realized, you know what? It’s not just me. It’s not just people who are going through divorce, every single. I mean, I believe that every single human struggles and I don’t like to compare pain and compare struggles because it’s just like, can we not undermine other people’s pain because it might look like less than ours? Every person struggles and so, which means that if you’re struggling you need hope. So it’s like a such a general thing, right? And it just made me realize how universal it is, we’re all craving hope. So it just, it was a book that, I don’t know if I would have loved as much at a different time, I think it’s a great book, but it had such meaning at that time in my life. Yeah.
Rana Nawas: (36:29)
Got it, I understand. Well Kristina, that’s everything that I had. Thank you so much for your time.
Kristina Kuzmic: (36:35)
Thank you for having me.
Rana Nawas: (36:35)
It’s been such a pleasure and for our listeners, where can they find you?
Kristina Kuzmic: (36:39)
So Facebook, instagram, and twitter is all I can handle, I’m not in any other social media.
Rana Nawas: (36:43)
Kristina Kuzmic: (36:43)
Oh my God.
Rana Nawas: (36:43)
Facebook, instagram, and twitter, Kristina.
Kristina Kuzmic: (36:48)
I’m a super strict parent about social media. So my kids are not on any social media, including my teenager, but my kids friends keep telling me I need to get a snapchat and I’m like, listen Kiddo, I will hire you someday and you can run my snapchat. I don’t have the time. I gotta go do my laundry and take care of life, but I’m on all three accounts. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, it’s @KristinaKuzmic, and it’s Kristina with a K, last name the same.
Rana Nawas: (37:13)
Thank you. Lovely. Thank you so much.
Kristina Kuzmic: (37:15)
Thank you so much.
Rana Nawas: (37:17)
I hope you enjoyed today’s episode. You can check out show notes and more episodes at rananawas.com/win or search When Women Win on Itunes, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. I’d also love to hear your feedback and ideas for who I should bring on the show. You can find me on instagram @RanaNawas. Thanks and have a great day.