Kyra Kyles — multi-platform media executive — believes you need to be disciplined and organized, as well as creative.
“You can be so much more effective when you have goals,” she says, “You must have some idea of what you’re trying to achieve so you can actually achieve it. Don’t get immersed in company politics and/or industry gossip. Do your work. That’s your brand. Make sure everything you do is indisputable.”
Although we live in a world where people get concerned with cultivating what they look like on social media platforms rather than who they are, Kyra likes to have concrete proof that she’s doing her job and working toward her goals.
“You can’t do that if you’re up in everyone’s business,” she says. “Focus on what you’re doing so you can be the topic of conversation for what you bring to the table.”
And Kyra’s dedication to her craft is nothing new. Her passion for storytelling and journalism is something that’s been present forever.
“I tell or facilitate the telling of stories over a variety of platforms,” she says. “Whether it’s broadcast, digital, print or podcast, I figure out which is the best way is to tell the story at hand.”
Kyra wanted to be a writer or journalist since she was just 3 or 4 years old. Her mom would take her shopping, and to keep her occupied, she would put Kyra in front of a dressing room mirror. Kyra would just be talking, doing a broadcast.
“I would write stories, and my sister Kozi and I also had a Barbie magazine,” she says. “I knew writing was my passion. Sometimes in life you change paths and find new things you’re interested in, but that’s always been consistent for me.”
Now, Kyra has a company she runs with her marketing and filmmaking-focused sister called Myth Lab Entertainment. They’re sisters, best friends and longtime business partners, and they work on Web series, TV show concepts and write films. They use their combined marketing and journalistic skills to help connect audiences be entertained.
When you’re so passionate about your career, finding balance between work and play can be difficult.
“I don’t plan anything on Sundays,” she says. “I need that to be my freestyle day. I hang out with my mom and sister and go to salt caves, where there’s no talking, no phones and uninterrupted relaxation.”
She also meets up with her friends at least once a month for dinner, to just hang out or to grab a cocktail.
“You schedule activities that are important to you workwise, so why not put that effort into planning on a personal level? It’s part of the work/life balance we’re missing because we get lost in what you do instead of who you are. I try to remember who I am by keeping those touchstones with friends and family.”
Kyra is a huge fan of salt caves, thanks to a tip from her spa-loving sibling. She describes the experience as a mind-numbing yet much-needed experience. In addition to those mini getaways, she makes it a point to go on a fun trip a few times a year. Last year for her birthday she went to Turks and Caicos, where everyone put their phones away for a few hours a day. Also, when she’s watching TV she’ll keep her phone far away on the kitchen counter. At night, she turns off the notifications to ensure a peaceful sleep. These actions make sure she’s not overstimulated. Especially being someone in the news media, you’re always dealing with hard things — people being killed, Black Lives Matter protests, disparities in the criminal justice system, etc. You can become overwhelmed, so it’s important to take that break and create space for sanity.
Then, there’s the importance of not overbooking —
“You have to learn how to say no so you can carve out time for yourself and those who matter to you,” she says, “I make sure to build in time for an actual life.”
She also loves to read, mostly sci-fi and fiction.
“I think because I work in journalism, I like to read things that are completely ridiculous,” she says, adding of her TV tastes: “I love Game of Thrones and Westworld, and I also love plays, theatre and indie films.”
THE DAILY GRIND
Kyra tries to start every morning with a clear head space.
“I don’t read the news immediately because once you start, it’s like going down a wormhole,” she says.
She then hops in the shower, using sweet-smelling Nubian Heritage soaps including Coconut & Papaya with Vanilla Beans, and following it up with Thank God I’m Natural Organic Shea Butter for supple skin. Carol’s Daughter hair products, particularly the Black Vanilla Leave In conditioner, help get her ready for the day.
For makeup, Kyra is a big fan of MAC’s Studio Sculpt foundation.
“I’m not a huge makeup person,” she says, “But I love lipstick.” One of her favorites is MAC Diva.
“My eyes are pretty big, so I don’t do a ton to my eyes, but I use MAC Extended Play Lash mascara and whatever liner is handy.”
“I try to get cute, because when you feel cute, the world is a better place,” she says, “I try to have an outline for what I do for the day and a larger one for the week.”
Much like Mary Jane in Being Mary Jane, she has sticky notes everywhere in pending and done columns, and she loves the feeling of moving notes from one column to the other.
“Being organized makes me more effective,” Kyra says, “I love being creative, but I also love being more disciplined about it so I can get more done without just being trapped in my head. It helps to have a disciplined way of executing things.”
To stay motivated throughout the day, Kyra looks forward to a cup of coffee with a heavy hit of cream, but in general, working with really great people makes her effective.
“One of my skills is finding great people to work with,” she says, “A great example is with my sister. She’s so creative and smart. When I work with her, I’m the happiest I can be.”
At night, Kyra values her chill time.
“I like to just sit in silence and be still for about 30 minutes at night,” she says, “During the day I do a lot of talking, interviewing, etc., so silence and being able to zone out a little is part of my routine. I love watching TV, such as Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Insecure or Chewing Gum. I like to just laugh, especially after a difficult day, so I don’t inundate myself with too much serious TV (other than Underground and Netflix series, including River).”
Then she’ll wrap her hair up in satin scarf, put on soft comfy pjs, climb into her jersey sheets, turn her phone notifications off, and sometimes listen to white noise or rain through an app.
“I don’t have a TV in my room and never have other than when I was a kid,” Kyra says, “I think watching TV in your bed turns the room into a different space and I reserve mine for relaxing and sleeping.”
Some things that are consistent for Kyra every day (outside of her routine) are her loves for her city and for supporting other black people.
“I love where I’m from,” she says, “I’m from Chicago. The people here are grounded, talented and hustlers by nature. Living here gives you a resilience and innovative spirit you might not need in order to succeed in other cities.”
“I also think it’s important that we support each other as black people and black women. I’ve been encouraged by Black Girl Magic. I don’t think it’s just a hashtag; it’s real. I think we should support each other through trying times. I want people to help each other and know there’s space for all of us. I am always endeavoring to help people who are less and, sometimes, even more experienced than me. No matter what your background or career level, we can all use an assist with something. If we all do that, we will collectively do better in a society that, especially under this presidential administration, needs all the help it can get."