HOME-GROWN WON­DER WOMAN – KIA JOHN­SON

In Flight Magazine - - IN THIS ISSUE - { TEXT: JULIE GRAHAM | IMAGES © SUP­PLIED }

KIA JOHN­SON IS A WOMAN ON A MIS­SION. AS WELL AS BE­ING A WIFE AND MOTHER OF TWO, THIS AM­BI­TIOUS AND VI­VA­CIOUS WON­DER WOMAN IS ALSO A RENOWNED RA­DIO AND TV PER­SON­AL­ITY, AND IS US­ING HER IN­CRED­I­BLE SUC­CESS IN THE ME­DIA AND EN­TER­TAIN­MENT IN­DUS­TRY TO MAKE A DIF­FER­ENCE WHER­EVER SHE CAN.

Born and raised in Cape Town to lib­eral par­ents who in­spired her love of mu­sic and per­for­mance, John­son was bit­ten by the me­dia bug early on.Af­ter grad­u­at­ing from the Uni­ver­sity of West­ern Cape with a BCom in Hu­man Re­sources Man­age­ment, she be­gan her ca­reer in ra­dio and broad­cast­ing.

Span­ning 15 years, her ca­reer con­tin­ues to flour­ish and, as well as be­ing the West­ern Cape’s traf­fic “eye-in-the-sky” and kick­start­ing the week­days with her Ra­dio 2000 morn­ing show, Planet Haaibo”, John­son is a fa­mil­iar face to TV view­ers. She’s pro­duced and pre­sented for the Ex­presso Morn­ing Show on SABC 3, as well as her very ownTV show, Life with KJ.

Since her broad­cast­ing de­but, Kia has met and in­ter­viewed a range of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional celebri­ties, in­clud­ing Chef Gor­don Ram­say and English ac­tor, John Cleese. She’s also been ac­tively in­volved in a num­ber of ed­u­ca­tional cam­paigns to raise aware­ness about press­ing is­sues fac­ing our coun­try and the world at large.

We re­cently caught up with her to find about more about her “Won­der Woman” lifestyle.

In­Flight (IF): In 2015, you launched your very own TV show, Life with K, that dis­cusses hard-hit­ting cur­rent af­fairs, as well as aim­ing to up­lift and em­power com­mu­ni­ties who find them­selves in harsh con­di­tions. How has the jour­ney been so far?

Kia John­son (KJ): The show has been an eye-opener of note. I’ve al­ways thought I knew my com­mu­nity be­cause I grew up in it. I’ve ex­pe­ri­enced hard­ship, and have fam­ily and friends who have

ex­pe­ri­enced far worse, but when I em­barked on this jour­ney I found my­self more hum­bled than ever.The idea be­hind the show was to high­light those lo­cal un­sung he­roes who, de­spite their own hard­ships, were try­ing to cre­ate a more pos­i­tive life for oth­ers who are just as dis­ad­van­taged. Some days were harder than oth­ers, and I had to be pre­pared to go into ar­eas deemed un­safe in or­der to show­case them. But in the end I had the op­por­tu­nity to show the sto­ries of these he­roes, which I would like to high­light for years to come.

IF: You were also re­cently in­volved in the CNN and Global Sus­tain­abil­ity Net­work’s HeardPSA ini­tia­tive around hu­man traf­fick­ing. Can you tell us a bit more about this? KJ: When I started work­ing on Life with KJ I met with Bar­bara Ras, who does ex­ten­sive work on hu­man traf­fick­ing in the At­lantis [West­ern Cape] com­mu­nity. She has a safe house for women and chil­dren who have sur­vived, and tries to re­ha­bil­i­tate them back into so­ci­ety by giv­ing them a place to stay, and teach­ing them ba­sic skills that they can use in or­der to be func­tional and work­ing again. Af­ter meet­ing Bar­bara, I had so many dis­cus­sions with so many peo­ple about the hor­rors of it all, in­clud­ing with in­ter­na­tional Muay Thai cham­pion, Quentin Chong. So when he re­ceived a call re­quest­ing that he gather some film­mak­ers for the CNN HeardPSA ini­tia­tive, he asked me to be a part of it. Se­lected film­mak­ers from each coun­try had to pro­duce this PSA [pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ment] to high­light “My Free­dom Day”, and also to com­pete against each other. We were judged by [mu­si­cian] Quincy Jones, [ac­tors] Olivier Martinez and Joseph Fi­ennes, and many other well-known in­ter­na­tional names. When the news came that we had come sec­ond in the world, I felt so blessed to have been cho­sen to be a par t of it. My wish mov­ing for­ward is to con­tinue cre­at­ing ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness around this.

IF: How do you nav­i­gate the de­mand­ing me­dia in­dus­try as a work­ing wife and mother of two?

KJ: Bal­ance, bal­ance, bal­ance and com­pro­mise. My hus­band [Cape Town DJ, Branny Draai] and I have been lucky be­cause we both work in the me­dia in­dus­try, and un­der­stand the de­mands

of our ca­reers and also the er­ratic hours that come with it.With that in mind, we have made sure to have some good sup­port sys­tems in place and we are able to sac­ri­fice time. Be­sides that, we try our best to al­ways stick to a rou­tine – which helps me a lot. If I have given too much time to my work, I al­ways take a step back and find time to spend with my chil­dren – usu­ally they give me small in­di­ca­tions when they want a bit more at­ten­tion than usual. It’s al­ways im­por­tant as a mom to lis­ten and to go with your gut feel­ing.

IF: What do you like to do when you’re not be­hind the mic or on screen?

KJ: Liv­ing in this beau­ti­ful coun­try has so many ad­van­tages when it comes to na­ture-seek­ers such as our­selves. For us, go­ing away for a few days to a re­laxed lo­ca­tion is the ul­ti­mate treat, and prefer­ably one that re­quires min­i­mal ef­fort, be­cause the kids keep us on our toes. We also en­joy be­ing able to do a va­ri­ety of ac­tiv­i­ties at one lo­ca­tion and will find any ex­cuse to hike or to train.

IF: What is the se­cret to main­tain­ing your en­er­getic per­son­al­ity as well as your beau­ti­ful looks? KJ: I’ve al­ways be­lieved your body is your tem­ple and you have to nour­ish it ev­ery day.We’re not per­fect – achiev­ing this all the time is not pos­si­ble. How­ever, you have to main­tain a strict sched­ule and be adamant with that. I’ve also been on the longest food jour­ney try­ing to find out what works for me; it’s re­ally as sim­ple as find­ing a bal­ance with your food, so not too much and not too lit­tle. I’ve also found eat­ing smaller meals through­out the day in­stead of just the main ones has helped with not only my eat­ing habits, but also my time con­straints with work. I also ex­er­cise three to five times a week, de­pen­dent on how busy my sched­ule is. Re­gard­ing my per­son­al­ity, I’ve al­ways be­lieved in au­then­tic­ity, be­ing true to who you are, and be­ing hum­ble. I give my grat­i­tude of thanks ev­ery day to the one above which I feel cen­tres my head and heart space.

With a few new and ex­cit­ing me­dia projects cur­rently in the works for later this year, Kia John­son is a woman worth fol­low­ing. Keep up to date on her lat­est, ex­cit­ing ven­tures by fol­low­ing her on so­cial me­dia, or vis­it­ing her web­site at www.ki­a­john­son.co.za. @Ki­aJohn­sonSA

@Ki­aJohn­son1

@ki­ajohn­son1

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