For today’s installment of Meet the Media, we would like to introduce you to Kamala Kirk, editor-in-chief at Spa & Beauty Today, formerly known as the Spa Insider. As a graduate of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, Kamala is a profound and renowned writer, with the extensive portfolio to prove it. She co-founded The Spa Insider in 2018, and has grown it to become one of the most established and credible sources for all things beauty and spa related. We had the pleasure of talking with Kamala about her background and getting an in-depth look at her world.
Please welcome Kamala!
My name is Kamala and I’m editor-in-chief of Spa & Beauty Today (formerly The Spa Insider), a website that I co-founded with Lizzy Sherman. Lizzy and I met years ago when we were editors at different magazines and connected over our mutual passion for spas, which eventually led to launching our website two years ago.
One of the main things we do on Spa & Beauty Today is publish spa profiles from around the world, which are searchable by destination and feature in-depth interviews with spa directors and owners. We also visit spas and write about them for our Spa Diary series, we profile industry leaders for our #BeautyBoss column, we feature the latest in wellness news, beauty products and trends, and we post about retreats and events on our calendar.
I’m originally from Hermosa Beach but now I live in South Pasadena with my husband Eric and our two pugs, Getty and Wrigley.
How did you get into journalism? Was this always where you saw yourself?
As a kid I loved writing and telling stories, and dreamed of becoming a novelist. But when I started college, I went the pre-med route because I thought it made sense to pursue a high-paying job, although math and science weren’t my strong suits. I was always drawn towards writing, which came to me naturally, so I ended up changing my major to Communication at the University of Southern California. Throughout college I had many different editorial internships for places like TotalBeauty.com and Malibu Times Magazine.
Right out of college, it wasn’t easy to find a full-time writing job, so I found work as a celebrity personal assistant and began contributing to various websites and magazines. Eventually, I landed my first editorial assistant job at a magazine. Over the course of my career I’ve worked as an entertainment writer for E! Online, and had multiple beauty editor roles for different magazines. Now I run my own website and freelance for various publications. It’s been a long journey and I’ve had to continually work hard to pursue my dreams, but the payoff is worth it and I’m grateful for all of my experiences, as they’ve led me to where I am now.
From your experience, what makes a great story?
In my opinion, there are two things that make a good story:
1) There has to be some interesting takeaway or unique element for the reader that adds value. Did they learn or discover something new as a result? I love when people tell me that because of an article I wrote, they’ve booked a trip to visit a new spa or discovered a beauty product that they use all the time.
2) The way you tell a story is also important because you want to keep the reader engaged. If a story is well-written (often in a conversational tone or witty) and even makes a reader laugh or cry, then you know you’ve done your job as a writer.
What’s an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career so far?
Building our website from the ground up and seeing it grow, as well as how others have responded to it, has been the most significant and proudest achievement of my career so far. It has allowed me to learn everything from website design and social media to creative content strategies and more!
What is one thing you wish the public knew about your job?
While people think I’m always relaxing at the spa, I rarely take days off. Running the website is a 24-7 job. I’m always responding to emails, I stay up late, and I get up super early to write every day (weekends too). I’m always on deadline and there is always an article that needs to be written. Thank goodness I love what I do!
First I feed my dogs and do my skincare routine, then I get coffee at Starbucks and answer emails. If I have a full inbox, I can’t properly function. I usually have events, meetings or media visits scheduled, then I spend the rest of the day and evening writing, editing content for our website, and posting on our social media.
What’s one piece of career advice you’d give a young person looking to follow in your footsteps?
Start writing! Create your own blog or find places to freelance for. If you want more experience, look for editorial/writing internships. It’s a great way to network and start building your portfolio. Enjoy the journey, view everything as a learning opportunity, and be open-minded. You never know where your path may lead you. Years ago, I never would have predicted that I’d be doing what I’m doing now, yet I can’t imagine myself doing anything else!
When you’re not writing, what can we find you doing?
Relaxing at a spa or the beach, traveling, and hanging out with my husband and dogs.
Three words that describe you? Cosmopolitan, laidback, pug-obsessed.
#1 place on your travel bucket list? The Maldives.
Go to drink order? Shirley Temple.
Favorite restaurant? The Royce Wood-Fired Steakhouse at The Langham Hotel in Pasadena.
Where can people follow you? They can check out my latest spa adventures on Instagram: @kamalakirk and @spaandbeautytoday