We’ve been big fan girls of Kare for a long time and have enjoyed collaborating with her for many years. We love how open and vulnerable she is and how she story tells through visual and sensual imagery. She’s a huge proponent of body positivity and loving oneself. We loved collaborating with her and photographer Shane Luna for our new Moonstone Aurora Gold Necklace shot on film, enjoy this Meet the Muse + first look of Kare in our coming soon Moonstone Aurora dropping this Thursday at 7pm EST.
Malabella: What do you love to do for fun?
Karen: My leisure time is a mix between attending dance events, hanging out with my girlfriends over kombucha or a bottle of wine, long strolls at Dog Beach, and creating for my show, The LifeofKare Podcast.
M: What’s your sun sign?
K: I’m a Gemini through and through, meaning I’m a social butterfly, spontaneous, and a bit indecisive. But I like to lean into my Leo Moon and Pisces Ascendant signs for balance.
M: What are your favorite forms of expression?
K: I’m creative at heart, and my emotions are often expressed through both visual artwork and movement– abstract painting, drawing, poetry, dancing, yoga, and running.
M: We love your focus on body expression, especially as an Asian-American woman. Can you tell us more about how you’ve grown into loving your own body, and yourself?
K: To be frank, it’s taken a long time to fully accept and love my body as it is. As an Asian-American woman, I have a naturally slender figure. I was bullied relentlessly by men from middle school until the end of high school for not having a filled out chest like most other young women. I became so accustomed to that narrative that I began to believe something was “wrong” with me, going so far as to consider plastic surgery at such a young age. It wasn’t until college that I began to challenge that fallacy. The more confidently I believed in my ability to empathetically connect with others, that my body could move mountains, that my body was mine and nobody else’s, I became less fixated on what I lacked and more on what I could contribute to the world. There are still days where I think “it would be nice”. But I try to lean into the discomfort when I feel triggered and question where this storyline originated from. It’s so easy to compare ourselves to others with the prevalence and reach of social media. I focus on body expression in my social media posts to promote diversity in body types. Besides, I would have loved to see more empowered Asian-American women who looked like me growing up.
M: What’s one of your favorite books that you’ve ever read? Why?
K: A book that I find myself going back to time and again is “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s been adapted into a movie, with the main character played by Reese Witherspoon. As a woman finding her way, Strayed’s autobiography grips me in the most heart wrenching way. I’ve never hiked the PCT, but I can almost feel the dust in my throat as she writes about her journey.
M: We know that you love second-hand or vintage finds! What are your favorite items to shop for when you’re thrifting?
K: I recently bought a house so I’ve been on an endless hunt for homewares. Right now, I’m seeking the perfect console table– a statement piece. I find that second-hand and vintage finds add character and whim to anything. My most coveted jackets are all thrifted and I love telling friends and strangers the story of how I acquired them.
M: What’s a daily ritual that you practice?
K: My morning ritual has been a sacred part of my day since 2020. It consists of hot lemon water, breathwork, journaling, taking my vitamins, and organizing my day. If I have an early start and can’t get to everything as I rise, I’ll try to sprinkle it in throughout the day to keep me anchored. The long term benefits of self-care and self-reflection are undeniable.
M: What is your favorite mantra or intention?
K: Alignment. To live in alignment with your highest purpose and what catapults you with intention.
M: Where are you originally from and where have you lived/traveled to? Which place is your favorite?
K: I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. I lived in Boston during college, Rome for a study abroad program, Oahu for a short stint, and now reside in San Diego. I was fortunate enough to grow up traveling with my family, and some of my favorite locations are Japan, Taiwan, Kauai, and South Africa.
M: You have an incredible tattoo on your arm. Can you tell us a little bit more about this piece of art, and what it means to you?
K: The moon has always resonated deeply with my heart. She’s a constant in the night sky and has accompanied me during my late night musings. In contrast to the sun, she’s often overlooked as most dreamers are busy resting. We all have our own intimate relationships with the moon. The snake represents rebirth and fertility. I’m a highly spiritual individual and look fondly at the ritual of shedding and growing new layers. This tattoo reminds me of the power of introspection and the constant of change. It’s a symbol for impermanence.
M: Where do you see yourself in five years?
K: I see myself as an empowered, embodied, and passionate woman in all regards. I see myself transforming my career into something purposeful and nourishing, I see myself upholding healthy boundaries with my friends and family while welcoming intimacy, joy, and love, I see myself thriving in my essence and living in alignment with my highest evolvement.
M: Your photos are beautiful, and your copy is always eloquently put. What inspires you to create content? Where do your best ideas stem from?
K: In my most vulnerable moments, I desire connection and shared experiences. Words flow from my heart to my fingers and I can’t help but to paint the poetry and prose onto paper or digital notes. Heartbreak has been a major influencer in my most potent writing, because it’s raw, it’s real, and it’s devastating. But the magic we create after the fire intoxicates me.
M: What’s your current favorite Malabella piece and why?
K: My favorite Malabella piece right now is the gold Moonstone Aurora necklace. I was craving a protective stone to wear around my neck and this beauty called to me, plus she’s gold and a perfect addition to my adornment.
M: Sunrise or Sunset?
K: Sunset! They’re all different and pure magic. I like to howl the moment the sun dips over the horizon. Sunrises are gorgeous when you’re awake for them, but I am unfortunately not an early morning person.
New Moonstone Aurora Necklace drop 4/21 at 7pm EST
Jewels: Malabella Jewels
Photography: Shane Luna