“I hope that after this all passes, people will try to make positive changes in the way they live their lives and do business, and be more conscious about how our actions affect the planet and others. We need more kindness and love in this world.”
Kamala Kirk is the Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of Spa & Beauty Today, a wellness and beauty publication which traditionally provides in-depth spa profiles, beauty and wellness news, product reviews, and up-to-date conversations on happenings within the spa industry–but when COVID-19 began to spread, many spas had to begin temporarily closing their doors, and Spa & Beauty Today pivoted its strategy to begin to publish content focusing more on “self-care tips, DIY articles and recipes.”
Kirk is originally from Hermosa Beach, California and a graduate of the University of Southern California where she attended the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. She has worked as a magazine editor, newspaper reporter and copy editor for the past decade and has written for outlets including E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and more. Kirk shares the details of how she’s been facing the challenges quarantine and her advice on how to make the most of this destructive pandemic experience, below.
Some content may have been minorly edited for clarity or punctuation.
What’s the biggest challenge you think you’ve faced during this quarantine situation?
Lizzy [my business partner] and I had to quickly adapt and change the content that we created for our website audience in order to be mindful and sensitive of our audience’s feelings and situations. A big portion of our content centers on profiling spas around the world, and when COVID-19 initially happened, we didn’t want to be tone-deaf by posting about destinations that people couldn’t visit at present. While we do plan on resuming our regular spa coverage in the near future when the timing is right, we’ve been focusing more on self-care tips, DIY articles and recipes. We also had to delay our website rebrand by a few months, but we look forward to sharing an update soon!
I was working from home before all of this happened, so my daily life hasn’t changed too much. There were a few outlets I was supposed to start writing for but things were put on hold due to the crisis. Other outlets I wrote for had reduced budgets and as a result, payment for work I’ve done has been delayed. I’ve also started working for other outlets that are giving me more steady work, so it’s definitely a mixed bag.
What have you been doing to keep your spirits up on a day-to-day basis?
I try to do something every day that I enjoy, whether it’s taking a bath, watching a funny movie, engaging in some online retail therapy or making a root beer float! I’m also taking advantage of this time to tackle various home projects that I didn’t have time for before, such as organizing my closet and redecorating the house.
Prior to all of this, I lived a very busy and nonstop life filled with events that required me to constantly be on the road. It has been nice to slow down, clear my schedule and be more present. I’m a homebody at heart, so I’ve been enjoying relaxing at home, not wearing makeup, lounging in comfy slippers, and doing things I wouldn’t normally do, like have an early afternoon glass of wine or stay up extra late watching a movie. My dogs are wonderful companions that never cease to make me smile, and I’m very fortunate to have an amazing husband who is also my best friend–quarantine has been so much better with him!
Is there anything you feel that this experience has taught you that you’d like to share as inspiration?
As scary and unsettling as this pandemic has been for all of us, there have been some positive effects on the environment such as less traffic and pollution. We are also fortunate to have technology and social media at our fingertips, which enable us to stay connected with friends and family during these times of physical separation. I hope that after this all passes, people will try to make positive changes in the way they live their lives and do business, and be more conscious about how our actions affect the planet and others. We need more kindness and love in this world.
What has been your daily routine?
After I wake up and squeeze fresh orange juice from the tree in our yard, I spend the day working in my home office, which I’ve transformed into a relaxing space. My dogs nap on the guest bed next to me while a soothing ocean soundtrack plays on our Apple HomePod. I spend the day publishing and editing content for the website that I run with my partner Lizzy, and I also have other writing assignments for various outlets that I contribute to. My husband is now working from home full-time, so we take a midday break to have lunch together. Later in the day when the temperature cools off, we take our dogs for a walk around the neighborhood, make dinner, and either watch television, do a puzzle or play a game (Uno and Scrabble are our favorites!).
Where exactly are you living right now, and is this where you permanently reside or is it a temporary living situation due to the pandemic?
We live in South Pasadena, California, in the house that we have lived in for years. We are very grateful to have a nice backyard with fruit trees where we can enjoy outdoor time and our dogs can run and play. I’m quarantined with my husband and our two dogs. My mom lives around the corner from us and I consider her to be part of our quarantine group as well, as we see each other weekly.
What has your community been doing to fight the rate of transmission? Is this how you think the situation is best handled?
Overall, they’ve done a good job by closing non-essential businesses and schools, restaurants are currently only offering take-out and delivery, face masks are now required to be worn in public places, and essential businesses have been implementing additional measures such as protective glass at check-out stands and tape markers that show people where to stand in order to ensure proper social distancing. Some people are definitely taking social distancing more seriously than others, which is unfortunate.
My brother-in-law is an ER doctor in Atlanta and his wife is an epidemiologist, and their lives have been majorly impacted due to the coronavirus. At the moment, he has quarantined himself from the rest of the family and is living in their guest apartment above the garage as a safety precaution. They have been featured on numerous outlets such as CNN where they discuss the importance of social distancing to reduce the burden on our healthcare system. I have tremendous respect and admiration for them and the sacrifices they’ve made, as well as all other healthcare workers. I do my part by staying home–it’s a collective effort and if we want to beat this virus, we all have to pitch in.
Has this travel ban/quarantine situation impacted any important plans you had laid out for the near future?
Back in mid-March, we were supposed to visit family in Atlanta to meet our newborn niece. We canceled the trip due to the current circumstances as we didn’t want to jeopardize our health or put our loved ones at risk. As of now, we have a family trip scheduled to Hawaii at the end of July, but we don’t know yet if that trip will be postponed.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Try not to read the news every single minute, reach out to friends and family members you haven’t spoken to in a while, offer assistance to elderly neighbors who might need some help during these times, and take advantage of this rare opportunity to slow down and reassess your life. While we can’t control what happened, we can control how we react and treat others. We can learn and grow from this experience, and try to become better people as a result.
Kamala’s main focus at the moment is growing Spa & Beauty Today with the goal of selling it to a media company one day. She would like to eventually return to USC to earn an MFA from their Cinematic Arts School, and pursue her other passion of writing for film and television.
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