If you've seen films like Couples Retreat, Bridesmaids, and Fifty Shades of Black or TV shows like New Girl, the name Kali Hawk might sound familiar. What we didn't know about the starlet is that she has been an avid jewelry collector for many years while also slaying the big screen with some of Hollywood's biggest talents. While on the set of movies and television shows, Kali would often use her own jewelry and accessories. She soon realized that at a certain point, shopping begins to cultivate a certain taste which leads to experimenting with having things custom-made.
That's when the light bulb illuminated and Kali opened the gateway to designing; she went from customer to creator.
At 28, Kali created H.CROWNE, with the 'H' in the name stemming from her last name Hawk and 'CROWNE' from her first creation. It's both reflective of the brand aesthetic and magically mysterious. H.CROWNE began when Kali commissioned a selection of museum-quality crowns for her personal use. Her frequent trips to the Metropolitan Museum in NYC piqued her interest after seeing amazing crowns and ancient jewelry. The womanpreneur even jokes about watching the classic film Coming to America one too many times; but once she began wearing the pieces around, the overwhelming responses proved that she had touched on something that the public wanted. Kali had no choice but to move forward and share her vision.
More than anything, the actress covets the quality of her pieces which speaks volumes. H.CROWNE was a private endeavor she funded on her own as a way for her to share her joy of jewelry with others. Since its inception, H.CROWNE has been rocked by the likes of celebrities like Ariana Grande, Ella Mai, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, and Queen Beyonce herself. "To have had my jewelry worn almost exclusively by superstars over the last four years has been like a dream come true. Now that I've expanded into manufacturing, I can bring the superstar experience to the public, and that's maybe what I'll be the most proud of in the end," she told us.
In an exclusive interview with xoNecole, we catch up with Kali Hawk to talk about life as a multi-hyphenated boss, never taking "no" as an answer, her popping clientele and keeping squares out of your circle.
xoNecole: You told Essence, "I've taken tricks of the trade for the wealthy customer and made it available to everyone." What are some of the tricks of the trade you learned?
Kali Hawk: The main trick is to keep the focus on quality. When you buy a $1M diamond necklace, generally a decoy will be made that you can wear around if you choose to keep the real version in the safe. The decoy has to be made to the exact standard as the original diamond necklace, all while using materials that lessen the value. Now, the decoy of the $1M diamond necklace may cost around $30K, but it has to look like a million, and feel like it at a fraction of the cost.
I've given this same attention to everything H.CROWNE puts out. There is a range of price points on the site, so there are options to suit everyone, but the quality remains the same across the board. You can wear one of my $168 rings alongside any of your most expensive jewelry and it will fit right in. Oftentimes people get more compliments on that one!
xoNecole: Why do you think it's important to make your designs available to everyone?
Kali: Being an actor has given me a window into a world where the Cinderella experience is happening everyday. We all look very basic when we show up in the morning, but when we step onto the set with our perfect hair, perfect makeup and accessories, it really is a magical transformation to behold. I know intimately how wonderful it is to be made to look and feel like a star, and I think everyone can have that experience. With H.CROWNE, I get to share some top-quality sparkle, and also the added star power that comes from knowing you're wearing jewelry made famous by some of your favorite celebrities. It's just way more fun to be inclusive of everyone, and fun is what fashion is all about!
"I know intimately how wonderful it is to be made to look and feel like a star, and I think everyone can have that experience. With H.CROWNE, I get to share some top-quality sparkle, and also the added star power that comes from knowing you're wearing jewelry made famous by some of your favorite celebrities."
xoNecole: As a New York native, you don't believe in taking 'no' for an answer. How has this frame of mind shaped your journey as an entrepreneur?
Kali: To me, a "no" is just a signal to find my "yes" elsewhere. And there is always a "yes" to be found if you've got the energy to keep going. As an entrepreneur, and just as a person, I don't get stuck on the "no". I'm looking for the organic "yes", in the best way I can have it. Just knowing that you can create your dreams and feel good throughout the process is the most wonderful thing. I set that as my intention and just try to keep everything in alignment with that.
"A 'no' is just a signal to find my 'yes' elsewhere. And there is always a 'yes' to be found if you've got the energy to keep going. As an entrepreneur, and just as a person, I don't get stuck on the 'no'. I'm looking for the organic 'yes', in the best way I can have it."
xoNecole: We have seen your designs dripping on celebrities like Beyonce, Janet Jackson, Migos and many more. How did you come to build your star studded clientele?
Kali: Quality, variety, and availability. I pride myself on being able to deliver the very best and I put my whole life force behind that. There was a week where Janet [Jackson] was in NYC doing press, and I had just landed at my hotel after completing a movie I'd gotten injured on. Once her stylist Aquiles told me he needed things for Janet, I turned my hotel suite into a showroom and rushed many new styles through production so she could have them. I was limping around my suite showing him all the new jewelry, and we were just laughing at how crazy the world of celebrity style can be, and how dedicated you have to be to stay in it.
The first time Beyonce wore an H.CROWNE piece, her stylist Zerina Akers requested a headpiece that was needed in 48 hours. I did not sleep for the entire time just to make sure it got completed on time. Both Beyonce and Blue ended up wearing that piece in the artwork for The Carters album Everything Is Love, and in the On The Run II tour film visuals.
At the end of the day, I love being able to contribute to bringing someone's vision to life. That's true of being an actor, and an entrepreneur. I am endlessly available to contributing the best there is to offer, and I think that's what attracts and maintains strong relationships.
xoNecole: What does it mean to you to be a black female entrepreneur?
Kali: To me, it means I get to experience the excitement that comes with what I represent to others like me. People are always so happy H.CROWNE is my vision and many times people are eager to support any way they can because they know what a male-dominated field I'm in. When I'm walking through the jewelry district, I don't see anyone that looks like me, which adds a unique element to what I'm doing, but it also opens people's minds to the fact that someone like me exists.
xoNecole: You've said, "When you align with people whose abilities you can trust, it takes the guesswork out of creating success." Can you share some experiences you have had that brought you to this conclusion?
Kali: A person's track record and resume really matters if you're looking to launch or build something. Before I showed the collection publicly, my friend got me an appointment to preview the collection at Vogue headquarters. It was like a scene out of The Devil Wears Prada, but it was so important because Vogue has the track record of being at the forefront of fashion and style. I streamlined a lot of my ideas for H.CROWNE after that meeting, and also got confirmation that some of my ideas were right on the money!
"When I'm walking through the jewelry district, I don't see anyone that looks like me, which adds a unique element to what I'm doing, but it also opens people's minds to the fact that someone like me exists."
xoNecole: One of H.CROWNE's offerings is a monthly subscription box. Why do you think this is important for your brand?
Kali: The subscription box is just another fun way to be inclusive, while also presenting a little monthly sample sale experience that comes right to your mailbox. I like the idea of accessible luxury, so the subscription box option is wonderful for fans of the brand that want to experience some of our new styles in an affordable way before they're formally released. There are three price options, and so far, people have been loving the consistency and the quality of it all.
xoNecole: What's your favorite piece and why?
Kali: My ultimate favorite stuff is the 24 karat gold collection. Many people told me I couldn't make jewelry in 24 karat gold because it's "too soft", so I really just did that collection as an act of defiance. It was a great experiment that yielded some lovely pieces I often wear everyday, and the richness of that pure gold color has a real Wow Factor. Most people have never seen pure gold at all, so it sparks a lot of great conversation. I'm also just in love with the African vibes. I feel like Mansa Musa casually walking around with kilograms of gold on.
Featured Image Courtesy of Kali Hawk
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images
“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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Feature image by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
I didn’t think much could get better about the blissful high that comes with oral. That was until I came across the Kivin Method.
As someone who was never a huge fan of oral sex and could largely take it or leave it, I must admit that I have started to come around in recent years. With my head thrown back, hands gripping sheets and hair, and toes curling from the intense sensations of the work my partner is putting in at my center, I now give myself over to the pleasurable act wholly and unapologetically.
When I came across a way to maximize the pleasure I receive from cunnilingus (already), I had no choice but to tap in. Who knew the key to taking oral sex to new heights was giving it a sideways twist? For those of you who might also be interested in ways to spice up the way you do oral, experience faster and stronger orgasms, or simply want to indulge in something new with your partner, the Kivin Method could definitely be the oral sex technique for you, too.
Keep reading to learn about the method that is sure to have you writhing in ecstasy in no time at all.
What Is The Kivin Method?
For the uninitiated, the Kivin Method is an oral sex technique that focuses on stimulating the clitoris from a different angle. Dubbed “sideways oral” by some, this method involves the action of giving head from a side-to-side movement as opposed to the up-and-down motion that people typically perform when giving head. (If you need a visual, this illustration is helpful.)
The difference in approach as you’re receiving head can be a game-changer in how you receive pleasure. Not only does the giving partner have access to the clitoris, but they can also access more easily the vulva and the labia, which are objectively a bigger focus in this version of cunnilingus. More access means wider coverage, and that, plus the new sensation of oral from a different angle, can heighten the way you experience oral sex that much more.
Where more pleasure flows, intense orgasms are sure to follow.
How To Do The Kivin Method
If you want to know how to do the Kivin Method, it’s actually pretty straightforward. The receiver lays on their back while the giver positions themselves perpendicular to the receiver. Their head will be facing the vulva, but instead of vertical, their face will be horizontal to the vulva.
From there, the giver can get to business, ensuring that they keep their head perpendicular to the receiver’s vulva while working on their craft. Because this technique can be more intense for some receivers, start slowly by stroking the vulva and clitoris sideways with the tongue, and allow sensations and communication from the receiver to be a guide of what you need more or less of with the Kivin Method.
Ultimately, the Kivin Method allows experimentation and unlocking what pressure, rhythm, and tricks work best for the giver and the receiver. Try implementing a finger or two, or adding a sex toy to the mix to intensify the act even further.
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Featured image by Delmaine Donson/Getty Images