As a Haitian-American born in Brooklyn and raised in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Karen Civil’s upbringing was quite “interesting” to say the least.
“Growing up was very interesting for me,” Civil tells Rolling Out Magazine. “If you were Haitian, people just automatically assumed that English was a second language. So they had a special class for my brother and I, but we spoke proper English. The Black kids didn’t really get us, the Haitian kids didn’t really think we were one of them, and White kids didn’t take to us either, so it was weird. But my brother got through it better than I did because he played all the sports and was super intelligent. He eventually went to a different school than me and I just basically had to fend for myself.”
As a teenager, Karen Civil established an interest in the internet and building websites. By 2008, she began to brand herself with the creation of KarenCivil.com.
“When I first started blogging, it was about getting out new music and capturing artists working in the studio,” Civil says. “This was before artists were so social. They weren’t so hands-on then. But now, it’s much more difficult for blogs because you have artists with their own SoundCloud pages and they are dropping music on their own social platforms. For blogs today, it’s really about content creation and partnering with a brand. You can get the news in so many forms and so many places. A tweet now is enough to tell you about a story. People don’t have to click to go to your site. [There are] just so many different places now for people to put out content with certain things and it’s like a gift and a curse. It can definitely be overwhelming for someone who has a website. But I have to remember to keep moving with the times.”
Karen has since evolved from making money solely on her website, to finding ways to make social networking work for her.
“At first, social media was just about networking,” Civil says. “But now that I have to network, I make sure that every platform makes money for me. You can do something on Facebook. You can do something on Twitter. You can do something on Instagram. You can create a piece of content and do product placement on YouTube. So, I like the fact that there are so many different options, especially for social media. In 2015, those platforms made over a half of a million dollars for me. This includes the website and the advertising through Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. And then, you have YouTube. It’s great because you can make money off of it as long as you’re doing it correctly and you market yourself. You can make money on all of your platforms in different ways and you have got to make sure you utilize all of that.”
As far as being a Ballerific Woman and maintaining a relationship, Civil says it’s all in finding a guy who isn’t insecure.
“It’s not easy for every man to be comfortable with his wife or his girlfriend working around men who are rappers and have certain lifestyles,” she says. “Having this type of career, people may see you as aggressive and may not view you the same and I’m OK with that. I know it is very difficult to go out on a date, to do certain things, to tell people what I do. But sometimes I find myself giving guys a very short version of what I do. Other times, I just find myself trying to guess if the person is really for me, or if the person is interested in business. Because you never know what people’s motives are so you just have to be very careful. I recently had my very first public relationship and then it went sour. There are things that I would do different. But, it’s just a situation where it didn’t work out. As much as you love a person, as much as they may love you, if they don’t see the potential for themselves, then they are never going to see it for you.”
And though things look great from the outside, Karen doesn’t mind letting it be known that she’s by no means perfect.
“I want people to know this is someone who isn’t perfect,” Civil emotes. “This is someone who did not limit her potential, who loved her life and lived her life without regrets. Someone who used her platform and her voice to create some sort of change and to help the next person move up. So it’s just about being looked at as someone who is bright, who created some sort of change and who wanted to be that change.”
Read the entire interview HERE.