Kristen King Holmes

Lola MagazineLola Shreveport, Megann McDaniel

Skipping class isn’t always recommended, but that one decision changed the trajectory of Kristen King Holmes’ life forever. 

When she skipped her LSU class to join the Army, she never dreamed it would put her in the courtroom with Saddam Hussein, land her on national news or in California to host a reality show, or have her name show up as a Jeopardy answer. She describes her life now as slow-paced compared to what it used to be, but no less exciting. She’s been the Marketing Director at Metro Aviation for the past decade. Her and her husband, Michael, live in North Bossier with their daughters, Ella Grey and Lennon. While she is more focused on balancing motherhood and career, she still loves the occasional opportunity to say yes to the unknown.

You have had so much variety of life experiences from your time in the military, as a producer and reporter for KTBS 3, working for the Chamber of Commerce, and now working for a quickly growing local business with a global impact. You seem to have been great about figuring out what is important in life and keeping balance while also being a constant go-getter and driven professionally? What/who inspired you for a life like this?

From a young age, my mom and aunt (mom’s sister) embodied being hard workers and great moms and emphasized fun in everything we did. My mom never missed a school or athletic event but also worked full-time while raising three kids. I always felt important to them. They made everything fun, even mundane things like trips to the grocery store. They kept everyday things magical. They showed me that career women could be great moms and have fun while doing it. I wanted that, too.

You have overcome disbelievers, barriers, societal norms many times. When told “you’re too smart, or your voice is too country” what gave/gives you the belief in yourself to prove them wrong?

If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard, ‘she’s really cute, but she’s also tough,’ I’d be retired. Society needs to replace the ‘but’ with ‘and’. Women can be both tough and cute, pretty and smart.

If someone tells me I can’t do something, I am stubborn enough to do everything I can to prove them wrong. I welcome the disbelievers because all it does is light a fire in me. Why shouldn’t I be able to do something? If it can be done, why not by me?

Women are so much stronger and more capable than some give us credit for. People focus on irrelevant and unimportant things like our appearance, size, or fashion. Our looks do not define our capabilities. As a mom of two daughters, I am intentional to not provide compliments only on their looks, clothes, or hair. Instead, I focus on their personalities, intelligence, creativity, and kindness. The things that really matter and make a person.

You were tasked with filming the first day of the Saddam trial as the only American female in the courtroom. What was that like? Were you scared?

Yes, I was scared. When I was first asked to do it, I said no. But then, I reconsidered, knowing that I’d regret it. It was nerve-racking. All other journalists were behind bulletproof glass; I was not. I was actually in the courtroom.

I was pretty anxious until Saddam walked into the room. When I saw he was nothing more than a frail old man and all his power had been stripped away, I relaxed. I remember thinking that someday my kids would read about this in a history book, and I could tell them I was there.

You mentioned you were an answer on Jeopardy during military week. What was the question and what was the correct answer?

What is the Green Zone.

Many times in your life story the seemingly small things had major impact on your career and life path. Events such as skipping class to talk to the Army recruiter or the ‘small story’ from the Stars and Stripes reporter changed the trajectory of your life. What advice do you have to help encourage others to take those small steps in the right direction and take chances that could set them up for success in the future?

Say Yes. Even when it feels uncomfortable, take chances. You have to overcome your fear of the unknown and say yes to things even when they seem scary or unpredictable. I met my husband on a blind date, and I’ll add that having someone support you is important when you’re doing something scary. Find people that will encourage you and remind you that you’re capable of so much. Your life never gets better, and doors do not open unless you are willing to walk through them.

People complain that Shreveport does not offer opportunities. They feel they need to move to a big town to do big things. You have clearly proven them wrong. How much of your story is pure luck vs grit/hustle/knowing what you want and going after it?

You can make your own opportunity wherever you are. A lot of my story is about persistence and maybe some stubbornness. I knew what I wanted and went after it. You cannot sit around and wait for someone to call you to offer your dream job. Make it your dream job. We create our happiness, and we control our mindset. Don’t take the stepping-stone jobs for granted. Shine as bright as you can there and soak up everything you can so you’re ready when your next opportunity shows up.

You discuss finding balance. This is the modern daydream/paradox, especially for women. How and where do you find this balance? What rules/boundaries do you set to help find balance?

I get my energy from being around people, but I also battle mom guilt. My first priority is pouring into my girls, and I do that by intentionally scheduling my days and weeks to allow time to just sit and enjoy them and fill up their cups. That alleviates some of the guilt I feel when I need to just get away and be me – that may mean going to book club or having dinner with friends, but my husband knows I need a handful of nights each month to just be Kristen. There’s never a perfect balance, and something will always outweigh the other. There are a lot of demands on us and a huge, invisible mental load. All we can do is our best and give ourselves some grace in the process.

You mentioned women do not say ‘no’ or speak up when they need help. I could not agree more. How did you learn this? What advice do you have for others who struggle with this?

I think women are getting better at becoming more honest with each other, and I am on board. I’m a firm believer in surrounding yourself with people that support you and make you feel good. We often try to do too much and be everything to everyone. We can’t. This goes back to giving ourselves grace and surrounding ourselves with people that will step in and help us carry the load when it gets too heavy. It took me a long time to realize I am more of a “Pinterest Fail” mom than a super creative homeroom mom, and that’s okay. Because I have friends that can lend me their strengths and together, we’re all stronger.