I was inspired to interview Keleka, founder of Keleka Designs because of her positivity and Aloha spirit. She embodies BPB’s (Babes Promoting Babes) most important pillar which is to motivate others to follow their dreams. She designs Hawaiian themed flame-less candles and home decor.
My Dad used to live in Hawaii and I used to visit him on my summer vacations. I share Keleka’s love for the islands.
M: What’s your story? Where were you born, where were you raised? What was your childhood, growing up years like?
K: I was born in New Jersey but shortly after I was born my family moved to California. We moved over 3,000 miles away because my father was a professor at Cal Poly University in San Luis Obispo.
I absolutely loved growing up in California. The Central Coast is so beautiful. Rolling hills, vineyards, farm life and the beaches. We were always at the beach: fishing, clamming, boogie boarding, surfing, etc.
I was also very involved in sports since a young age. I started playing basketball on the boys’ teams, as they didn’t have sports for girls yet. Then I progressed into soccer and softball. My father actually helped start girls’ softball in San Luis Obispo. I even became female athlete of sports in my graduating class.
And I won some local awards for art in my high school art classes. School, family, friends, the beach, and art. It was an active and fun life. Oh, and we traveled! I was 4 years old when we first traveled to the Hawaiian Islands.
I fell in love with the islands. The music, the culture, the art, the people. The Aloha spirit. So, we continued to travel to the islands and the Jersey Shore throughout my growing years. The Big Island, Hawaii captured my heart. Hawaii has and still is inspiring my art and my dreams.
M: What did you want to do when you grew up?
K: I always wanted to be a professional softball player or compete in the Olympics. By the time I finished high school and after receiving a full scholarship to Baylor University for softball, I decided I didn’t want to pursue softball full-time.
It was at this point in my life when I really started to get into art. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but I loved to paint and decorate.
So, I traveled to Hawaii and after some time off I decided to go to a community college to figure out what I wanted to do with my future. After returning to California, I knew I wanted to be an art professor or Junior College teacher in the field of Public Art.
M: Did you go to college or university? If so, what did you study?
K: I attended a Junior College for 2 years to fulfill my requirements for a larger University. After I graduated from there, I decided to go to CSUMB (California State University Monterey Bay).
I studied Visual and Public Art. I LOVED IT. I worked with the community, with at risk youth, seniors in nursing homes, all involved with art. I taught mural painting skills, watercolor classes and became involved with the community, which filled my heart and soul. I was very successful and very happy.
M: When did you move to Nevada? Why did you move to Nevada?
K: Life happens, and my family became my priority. My father was ill at the time that I graduated college, so I left some art opportunities in Monterey and Carmel. However, it all turned out great. I went into advertising and marketing after attending college in California for 8 years.
The money was good, so I kept doing it. It wasn’t my passion but was fulfilling for the time. Unfortunately, my Mom and Dad divorced, and I helped my mom and brother move out in Nevada.
I have been doing advertising and marketing here in NV for 12 years. The greatest day was when I met my husband in 2014 and got married in 2016. Still doing my advertising but I decided it was TIME FOR ME TO follow my dreams ...
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If you would like to learn more about Keleka and her Hawaiian flame-less candles and Rastafarian incense holders you can see them on her website: https://www.kelekaart.com/