An Icon All Her Own
Keisha Whitaker exclusively tells SheKnows about her Kissable Couture lip gloss line, life with husband Forest Whitaker and how her three girls keep her grounded.
Team Whitaker rules!
The former model and current fashion maven and mother of three daughters had already made a name for herself by the time she and makeup artist AJ Crimson launched Kissable Couture to fill a chasm in the beauty market for affordable luxurious lip gloss.
Keisha serves as host of TLC's Who Are You Wearing and also as a correspondent at the 2009 Oscars for the TV Guide Channel's Live from the Red Carpet. Her fashion credentials are impeccable and where now sits a successful lip gloss line, soon Keisha will take her Couture adventure further.
She is an expert at making red carpet appearances appear effortless. It has been a joy covering events she's not working the celebrity fashion angle. When Keisha attends events alongside her terrifically talented actor-husband such as the 2009 Oscars, it is refreshing to hear that in this age of never-good-news, over at the Whitaker household, the spotlight shifts as the family requires.
The Whitaker girls, Autumn (17), Sonnet (12) and True (10), each share a passion for fashion with their mother. That is a good thing -- as success has again blessed Keisha Whitaker -- Autumn, Sonnet and True very well could be the future of Kissable Couture. What is the most compelling aspect of this Hollywood success story is how the Whitakers place particular importance on each family member receiving the quality time required to maintain and enrich a successful family.
That includes making moments with your spouse. "Anything that I'm doing that Forest's able to be there and come and support me, he absolutely does. I think that trickles down to our children as well. Our children know if you're available and your sister has a game, you're going to come and we're going as a family," Keisha Whitaker says.
Keisha keeps it all together
SheKnows: First of all Keisha, many of our readers are busy moms like yourself, how do you keep it all together? You have three kids, an Oscar-winning husband and all that that entails as well you run your own business. How do you do it?
Keisha Whitaker: Life is a balance and I really try to take time for all different facets of my life. Obviously, my family comes first. I have a great support system as well. My husband pitches in if he's off. He takes them to soccer or classes. I think for me, my girls are really supportive of what I do. I think they want to see me pursue a career. They help. My girls will come – if I'm working on set – my girls will come and do their homework in my dressing room. If I'm working on Kissable Couture, they come with me to a trade show or help me and AJ tie ribbons. It's good to include them in everything I do. I manage to make the time.
SheKnows: Having little girls, I would think everything that you do would be fascinating to them.
Keisha Whitaker: (Laughs) I'm very fortunate to have my own company because I get to make my own schedule and get a chance to hang out with the girls. I have my blackberry so I can be somewhere with them and still handle business. They do definitely enjoy it (laughs). My kids are very "I have my own things to do." Sometimes they're, "OK that was fun coming to visit you on the set daddy. Mom, that was fun hanging out with you in your dressing room because you had ice cream today. But, I'm ready to go (laughs)."
SheKnows: (Laughs) That's great. Kids are kids. I hear that about Sasha and Malia Obama too (laughs).
Keisha Whitaker: Yeah, he's the president, so what? Can I go back to my life (laughs)?
SheKnows: I wanted to talk about your lip gloss line, speaking of one of the names in your collection, First Lady…of all the beauty products for you to endeavor into -- why your passion for lips?
Keisha Whitaker: I think I wanted to come out with one product in the beginning so we could perfect it. Me and AJ felt there was a bit of a hole in the market for luxury lip gloss -- one that is accessible and a new and fresh perspective. We decided to come up with Kissable Couture, which was a natural marriage between the two of us. My background is in fashion modeling and AJ is a makeup artist. So we put together Kissable Couture -- and there it was and I'm really happy with the way the product came out. Later on, we may branch out into different things.
SheKnows: First of all, the name…when you came up with the name and it was available, you must have flipped?
Keisha Whitaker: (Laughs) We were worried that we'd try to get the trademark that it wouldn't be available. But, it was! I'm also excited to grow the brand out.
SheKnows: You've been on the red carpet, covered the red carpet, is there a fashion, beauty or accessory must for you?
Keisha Whitaker: What couldn't I live without…I couldn't live without a pair of dark denim jeans, white tanks, a good black jean, a good black skirt (laughs) and a great pair of heels.
Keisha Whitaker: Gotta have my heels. I love my heels.
SheKnows: Long before I did research for this interview, I have been so struck by you, honestly. Not naming names, but many spouses don't appear too interested in being there on the red carpet. But, you and Forest, you always seems so smart, sexy and with it. Is it all about making an appearance for the entire family?
Making marriage magic
Keisha Whitaker: What makes a good partnership or marriage is when you support one another. I certainly love and respect what Forest does. It's hard. He works really hard to take care of our family. I think it's important to show my appreciation by being there for him and supporting him. More than that, I get to hang out with my friend. That's pretty cool and visa versa. My daughter had her fourth birthday parties and she had a whole birthday week (laughs). Now she's eleven. Each and every time there's a birthday party that she had from then on, her 17-year old sister who obviously probably had better things to do because she says, "OK mom, it's like her fourth party." She had been invited to a dinner with friends or something, but my 17-year old knew that it was not an option to miss a chance to celebrate her sister.
SheKnows: There's a certain amount required of you as the wife of a successful actor who has to travel the world. How do you manage to make it work when you both are so busy and often apart? Is the key, like any other marriage, communication?
Keisha Whitaker: You know what, it really is -- it's telling the person when they do something great, (also) being able to have the courage to say, "You know what, I didn't really like that. That wasn't cool. Let's discuss it. What did I do to bring that out in you?" I think communication is absolutely important. There's no way I could have lasted in 14 years of marriage without communication -- also, growing. When you're in a relationship you need to grow. When you meet someone at a certain age, as you grow you learn different things. It's whether that person is willing to grow in the same direction as you and grow with you.
SheKnows: That's what really struck me when he won the Oscar. It felt like it was a victory for your family.
Keisha Whitaker: Absolutely! Funny that you say that, I had T-Shirts made that day that said, "Team Whitaker." I absolutely believe our family is a team.
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