Women We Watch: Kat Kinsman
Whip it good! We’ve been fans of author, chef and Extra Crispy's senior food and drinks editor, Kat Kinsman for *quite* some time. From flexing our Corn on the Cob Necklace over on CNN, to cooking up a storm in her Instant Pot and Skull and Crossbones Necklace for No Pressure, we can’t get enough of this culinary queen with a taste for fierce fringes, John Fluevog and a strong red lip. (Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Besos, you're welcome...) We had the pleasure of getting together over the whirr of our Purex machine to talk Tatty Devine, “being yourself” and straight up life ‘spo. Are you ready?
HOW DID YOU DISCOVER TATTY DEVINE?
There was that site, XO Jane and they did a story about you and I saw the Aarghhhh Necklace and it just had to be my first piece. At that point, I worked at CNN and wore it on air and so many people commented on it… My MFA is in Metalsmithing, so I have a whole background in jewellery and I had always during that time loved plexiglass and thought, “if I had a jewellery line, i’d want it to be in these materials.” I was in upstate New York and we would come down to NYC all the time and go to Industrial Plastics and Canal Plastics and i’d glue together bits of plexiglass and make things for friends, make things for myself and so, when I saw somebody who was actually doing that kind of thing on this level *gasps* it just spoke to me. I started picking up pieces that spoke to me in a particular way and wore them on air. The Corn on the Cob Necklace was next… I wore that on Thanksgiving one year and people were freaking out! It just started to be a thing and you notice in the States if someone else has Tatty Devine because not that many people have it, so when you see it: it really stands out.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST PERSONALISED PIECE?
It was a Name Necklace that said, “BBQ” because I was going to a barbeque conference(!) and I thought what’s something special that I can have done? I just became obsessed… I was counting how many I have recently… I have an ongoing text chat with Rainbow Rowell and we know that we don’t have to be embarrassed when we’re talking to each other about which pieces we own and have recently acquired. It just makes me happy, i’ve had things made for friends too, including one for my work wife: we call her the ‘Snack Doula’: she likes helping people find their way to their best snack! She is a snack enabler and a total ‘beverage maximalist’, making sure you have all the right beverages, especially with brunch: coffee, the right sized cocktail… she introduced me to the ‘Snackari’ which is a snack-sized Daiquiri!
HOW DID YOU END UP COMBINING FOOD AND PRESENTING?
I just cared about food a lot, my background is in visual arts so I moved to New York with my Metalsmithing degree and I thought, “I don’t want to starve to death!” So, I learned HTML and Photoshop and I always worked for publications where I could also write and they kind of noticed that I liked restaurants. They’d ask me to go write about food shops… here and there, and the balance eventually flipped and at the time I was writing for Maxim and FHM (we were sort of trying to work from the inside and make it more feminist). A friend called me up and said, “hey, we have a position for the summer as AOL’s Barbeque and Grilling Editor.” I started there and just never went back. I didn’t know what I was doing, I faked it ‘til I made it and ended up starting a food blog over at CNN, they had us on air a lot and I just totally lucked out.
I did things until I knew how to do them. No one has any idea what they’re doing and you just try to proceed: i’m really open about the fact that I don’t know what i’m doing and I just lean into being scared. I realised the more ‘myself’ I was, the more I didn’t try to be a glossy presenter… the more people identified with me. I didn’t have to cover up my tattoos or tone myself down, I got really lucky and just had to go through the fear and screw it up a lot and it’s okay. I’m 46 and I only just started learning how to really take care of myself!
HOW DO YOU BALANCE HAVING A SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE WITH ANXIETY?
I’ve learnt to not look at the comments too much! I mean, I do sometimes and if somebody is being a jerk, so what? Usually if I approach them and say, “hey, i’m actually a real person here!” they’re like, “i’m sorry, i’m actually just having a really bad day.” I’m really open about mental health, i’ve struggled with depression and anxiety, i’ve just had a diagnosis of ADHD and I realised that the more I reveal about myself, the kinder people are. They feel less alone and they open up too, a lot of people have in turn revealed they’re dealing with similar circumstances themselves. Once I hit my forties, I realised I am who i’m going to be, i’m not going to change and as for fitting in, i’ve never been good at it and that more people respond to me as ‘me’. I’m incredibly lucky to have the position and platform that I do, especially in the States as a straight, white, cis-gendered, married woman with access to healthcare, which not everybody in the States has and I get mental health care 'cos of the job I have. If I can’t talk about it, who the hell can? I have to! One of my Name Necklaces says, “anxious" and now I have one for my beloved Instant Pot!
Thanks for hanging out with us, Kat! Shop her must have book "Hi, Anxiety" here, lose yourself in Extra Crispy's 'No Pressure' series here (spoiler: it's delicious!) and get your own personalised Name Necklace here!