My mother once told me that happiness comes from within and doesn’t depend on physical appearances. The person you guys are going to be reading about today is the perfect example. Let me introduce you to REDKb. I’m sure many have heard about her on social media platforms. You can follow her on instagram under the name @red_kb if you’re looking for fitness tips and inspiration.
She was called, Little Red, as a kid. She was shy most of the time, but there was nothing little about the attitude she had when other – usually much bigger kids – bullied her friends or when an adult tried to tell her what to do without taking the time to help her understand why. RedKb had always been talented when it came to academics. After talking back to her preschool teacher one too many times about why she had to keep doing an activity she had learned faster than the other kids, the principal told her mother that they couldn’t handle her and she needed to go to a school with more difficult curriculum to keep her busy. A similar struggle ensued all the way up until high school where she was able to take more advanced classes. She graduated 2nd in her class out of around 700, then went on to pursue an engineering degree with more than 50 college credits already under her belt, starting at calculus 3 and acing it in her first semester freshman year. During her 3rd semester of college when she was 19, she was accepted to the accelerated masters program. She finished her bachelors in 3 years – 2 years less than the national average and a month after turning 21. At 20, she landed a full time job at a well respected firm that is paying for the rest of her masters.
Talk about a highly talented individual? She has inspired me so much! Me and Red chatted a while and I hope you guys love her as much as I do. To all the young girls out there, reading this? Be like her! Put your education first and self esteem high because that is the only path towards success.
I asked RedKb to define herself to which she replied, “I’m an introverted engineer by day and a gym rat the rest of the time. I started an instagram two years ago to track my fitness progress and provide tips/motivation to others on their own journey. Last summer I connected with Nicole Mejia’s brand, Fit & Thick. That’s when my following really jumped and I started reaching my target audience of women.”
There is always something that changes your life forever, for her it was Alopecia Areata. “When I was in 6th grade, I moved to a new middle school. Like all new students, I had to go through the process of meeting new people and slowly making friends. This was made more difficult when I discovered that I had alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes patches of your hair to fall out. My first realization that I was losing hair was at age eleven when a girl stopped class to point out to the room that I was “shedding like a dog”. Instead of defending me, the class laughed and continued to mock me for the rest of middle school and much of high school. Not wanting my tears to draw more attention, I refused to cry or react to peoples’ emotional and sometimes physical attacks. Many of the important years other girls spent developing new friendships and learning how to date I spent in my room by myself as a result of my reduced self esteem.
My hair has come and gone at various times over the years since then, but its importance has diminished. I realized that if I ever wanted to be happy then I had to make a sincere effort to find happiness. If you think happiness depends on your life circumstances changing you are wrong. Happiness is found when you change your outlook on your current situation and accept what is. If I was bitter I could never be happy, and I would have very low self esteem. Instead, I choose to take pride in the fact that I recognized the error of my peers in basing my worth on one flaw instead of on the many things I had to offer.
After realizing this, I no longer based my self-worth on the validation of others and based my own value on my hard work to accomplish my goals and help other people. I pushed myself past the limits of what others around me told me I could accomplish.” To be honest, this touched my heart.
Talking about her passions, she said, “I have two passions – engineering and fitness. Both of these provide me with an avenue to help others. Engineering aims to solve large scale problems that improve the quality of life for everyone. The concept that there will always be new things to learn about and develop that could shape our entire world tomorrow is amazing. I love the challenge of it and the excitement of the potential impact. While engineering tends to impact lives on a large scale, fitness is something that impacts everyone at a more personal level. We all have a body and a relationship with it. Providing people with real information to help them improve that relationship and their health is always fulfilling. There is so much misinformation and image negativity in the fitness industry. I really wanted to get involved with something to counteract it. Having someone trust you with their health, and in some cases self image is a responsibility I take very seriously. I have a little sister who tends to take after me and I am extremely protective of. If she was struggling with her body, I wouldn’t want someone telling her she needs to buy fat burning pills from them, so how could I do that to someone else’s sister, or mother, or daughter? I firmly believe you need to be the change you want to see in the world. Don’t expect others to do what you are not willing to do yourself.”
Obviously, with a big social media fan base I had to ask her about personal style, “Style is a matter of self expression. As an engineer, I see a lot of individuals with incredible minds that don’t dress trendy or put much effort into their appearance. Even this is a matter of expression in its own way. Their focus and priorities are elsewhere, which is refreshing. I like observing others and seeing everyone’s unique style, whether that is creative/unique or plain. It’s all about individuality. I tend to mix my style up, depending on how I feel that day. Some days I go out in something comfortable without makeup on and others I’m dolled up in a dress rocking fake eyelashes.”
RedKb is currently a fan of Ronda Rousey. She considers her an inspiration in her life, “I’m inspired by other women every day. I think it’s important to be able to learn from each other. There is often too much jealousy and not enough mutual respect and support. Currently, my biggest inspiration is Ronda Rousey (OF COURSE). Not only has she accomplished some amazing things in her professional life, but she has also pushed through a lot in her personal life, such as her father’s suicide when she was 8. I recommend anyone looking for a good biography to pick hers up. It discusses all of the influences, both good and bad, that helped build her character. Also, her mom is an engineer and CEO of her own firm – another big plus in my eyes.”
Coming to the end of the small interview, here are certain things that she would like to share with the readers that have shaped her views and success. Hopefully someone else will benefit from them as well.
- Put purpose and meaning behind everything you do and all of your interactions.
So many times I’ve written something on Instagram without much thought and had someone tell me how much it helped them. These encounters always check me and get me refocused on the importance of my posts, as opposed to “likes” and follows. My focus on doing things well and with a purpose instead of for fast success has actually been the backbone for a lot of my success over the years. Purpose and meaning are everything.
- Work hard and always do your best.
It was interesting being in class with very few women and also being the youngest. No one was ever disrespectful or dismissive towards me, but my first year I frequently had guys asking me if I was struggling/needed help. I’m sure this was in part a strategy to get to know me, but I was always quick to respond, “No I don’t need help. Why, do you?” People are often quick to off load work to others or cut corners when possible, something easier to do as a girl in engineering school, so this always surprised them and I earned a lot of respect.
- Wish others well.
Don’t be jealous. If you threw your problems in a pile with everyone else you might be surprised and grab yours back. No one gets everything. I’m sure most of have experienced someone trying to hurt us out of misplaced jealousy. You probably felt that if they had understood you better or known more about your reality they would have acted differently. Don’t be that person for someone else. You don’t know what you don’t know. Having a good attitude helped me turn would be rivals into friends that helped me overcome my biggest obstacles. For those you try to wish well but don’t wish you the same, see 4.
- Let your work speak for itself.
Will it matter in 10 years? No? Time is a limited resource, so only use it on the things that will. If you have done your best work then you won’t have anything else to say in its defense. At the very least, you can have peace of mind that there is nothing else you could have done. This idea has been my stability and prevented me from cracking under pressure.
I hope that ladies you have been inspired by this wonder woman as much as I have. It is such a positive and inspiring story. Love.