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.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Many have wondered if one time is ever enough to see Queen Bey. Some argue yes. However, many of us on the opposite end of the spectrum, including myself, would disagree. Beyoncé's "Renaissance World Tour" is a universal yet varying experience for everyone who attends. In the words of Oprah Winfrey, the concert is "transcendent." For millennials, we have over two decades of her catalog that has served as the soundtrack for many of our lives and painted a personal portrait of our most coveted thoughts. Her music provides mental clarity and self-expression by serving as a universal language that has united fans from all walks of life through community, fashion, self-acceptance, and healing.
With a multi-layered approach to her artistry, just as she did on that winter day in December 2013 with the infamous digital drop of her self-titled album, she changed the game again on February 1, 2023, when she announced her world tour in support of Renaissance, her seventh studio album. Her cultural impact set the internet ablaze, with everyone trying to gather their coins, barter for presale codes, and figure out which cities to attend. The group chats were lit, and the Beyhive was stressed trying to get their hands on tickets.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
Unfortunately, I was in that number. As the concert dates passed by and the one in my city drawing near all roads led to disappointment. With time ticking on the day of the Miami show and less than two hours to spare, my wallet bit the bullet, and I purchased three last-minute tickets, costing roughly $700.00 a piece (including fees) for me, my 9-year-old and 16-year-old nieces in Section 121 at the Hard Rock Stadium. With 10 minutes before showtime, we eagerly awaited the Queen to take the stage. A sea of metallic fringes, cowboy hats, disco fans, and western boots were in full effect and filled the entire stadium.
As the lights dimmed, a flood of emotions instantly overtook my body. It continued with each note she belted, along with nearly 50,000 roaring fans. The reverberating sound of the music through the stadium transported me from one era of my life to the next. As a teen girl in her bedroom daydreaming about her first love to blossoming into an unapologetic Black woman who is still on a road of self-discovery while learning to lean into the power anthem of "You won't break my soul." For over two hours, and with each set, I felt joy, love, peace, and a commanderie with fellow concertgoers. It was therapeutic as I danced like no one was watching and sang as if I were alone in my bathroom mirror.
There were no bars held, and I realized at that moment, "Nobody can judge me but me." The "Renaissance World Tour" proved to be so vast, and my Black girl joy was re-invigorated. It was magnetic and liberating, and I had to attend again, but this time, I needed to be up close and personal; I needed to be on the floor. In the days that passed, I watched more social media clips in different cities and asked myself if I would really splurge again to attend another Renaissance show.
Photo courtesy of Dontaira Terrell
After all, this would be my thirteenth time (maybe more because I lost count) seeing Beyoncé live, whether she was on tour with Destiny's Child, as a solo artist, or doing a live appearance. I contemplated for a while, but it worked itself out on its own. I was gifted two tickets and the next thing I knew, I was off to LA to attend another Renaissance show with floor seats at SoFi Stadium during Beyonce's 42nd birthday weekend! This time, things were different: no kids were allowed. It was adults only this go round.
Although the energy at the Miami and Los Angeles shows was empowering, infectious, and a celebration of life, happiness, and identity, they each provided their own unique experience. However, both concerts were what I needed for my well-being, leaving me with sore feet from dancing the night away, on vocal rest for the next few days from screaming at the top of my lungs, and on an indefinite high on life.
My introduction and love for Beyoncé began in 1996, while my older sister lived in Houston, TX, right before Bey hit the scene in 1998 with "No, No, No" as a budding R&B member. Her evolution twenty-seven years later as an international superstar and into womanhood has been an incredible journey to witness. As Mrs. Carter reminds each of us in the audience every night before the curtain closes, "I want you to remember this moment, where you're standing, who you came with, and take it with you. I hope you feel inspired."
I truly felt inspired, so thank you, Queen Bey. You awakened my inner child, and I will definitely remember these moments and take them with me.
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Feature image by Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood