The Milk-Shake Up The World Needs
Keelan Bowkett has always been ahead of the game.
She and I went to the same school, and when we met at the age of 16, her swag game was second to none. While I was still repping cargo pants and those infamous hooded polar fleeces from Glassons, Keelan was donning leather jackets and Ksubi skinny jeans. While the rest of us were drinking KGB’s (only once we turned 18 of course..), Keelan was popping champagne. While we were crying over ‘The Bronze Horseman’, Keelan was soaking up ‘The World In Vogue‘.
She also had three Kewpie dolls decorating her bath. And if Kewpies aren’t representative of swag, I don’t know what is.
Since then, her swag game has remained strong, as has her desire to make a positive impact on the world.
Just over a year ago, Keelan noticed something that she didn’t like. And when a hustler notices something they don’t like – instead of hitting snooze – they do something about it.
Keelan is now the director of Milkshake Models, a modelling and talent agency dedicated to representing diversity. Read on to find out how Keelan and her team are changing the world, one Milkshake at a time..
1) I have to ask.. What’s your number one reason to love a good Monday
To be honest, I am not a big fan of Monday’s. HOWEVER, I do LOVE the idea of Monday. The start of a brand new week! A fresh start! Oh the things you can get done in the next 7 days! Also, you and your hustle definitely help make Monday’s better!
2) We wanna know how MM came to be! Are you able to share with the MH readers what you were doing before MM, why it was unfulfilling and the lightbulb moment or the series of events which lead you to bite the bullet and take a risk on launching your own modeling agency?
It just happened and that’s the most beautiful thing about life! Also I totally believe if you’re not happy doing it, don’t do it! I accidentally found myself starting Milkshake. I worked for a company where I had to find and book models and I noticed a lack of diversity. I then realised I didn’t like what I saw. So I changed it. I had the skills to do it and I had the passion, so it made sense to me. I am also surrounded by amazing friends and family who inspire me everyday to do crazy things. It’s not easy, at all. BUT I am happy. And thats all that matters right?
3) MM is committed to beauty in diversity. How has this refreshing stance been received by those in the industry? Do you think that attitudes are changing in terms of what ‘beautiful’ is, or do we still have a long way to go?
I don’t really care about what the “industry” thinks to be honest. However, I have only received positive feedback which is really cool, but I mean your never going to please everyone! Everyone has an opinion and I totally respect that!
I think attitudes are changing in terms of what is ‘beautiful’ because the generations are changing. There are so many amazing, young people out there. They are starting or are about to enter the “industry” and I am so excited for them, because that’s the change, they are the future!
4) Being self employed is never easy, and I imagine that the hustle is particularly hard when others are relying on gaining employment through you!! How do you personally stay positive and motivated?
I actually don’t know. I wish I had an awesome answer like yoga! BUT I don’t yoga. I think it’s the people around me that keep me positive and motivated. Seriously, I have surrounded myself with some amazing people, my friends, family, MY MILKSHAKES. They keep me going.
5) We know that living the hustle involves a fair share of ups and downs.. But you never get the highs without the lows. With that in mind, can you tell us about what have been the best and worst parts of the journey so far?
The best part is definitely the people I have met. Such amazing people. I am obsessed with each and every Milkshake. I am also thankful for all the people who work with us. They are equally awesome! I love meeting people so it’s super cool to be able to do this as a job!
I am not one to dwell on the negatives, but I would definitely like to warn people that it’s not easy. There are negatives and there are bad days. Also, it is a hustle! This is not my only job, I have 3 jobs. A girl needs to eat, and survive. Starting a business also consumes your life! It’s the only priority to me and everything else is second. That’s probably one of the biggest lows, because I know that and I am aware I have often put work before the people closest to me.
6) What do you think is the best way forward in terms of making diverse representation the norm?
Celebrate it! Celebrate different people, cultures, backgrounds! Learn about people. Ask questions. Break the rules! If you are tired of the lack of diversity, change it! Stand up. Take control. Say it out loud! Talk about it!
Also we need to teach and mentor our youth and our future generations! Teach them to love each other! Respect each other! I feel like it has to start there. Because I have almost given up on the world. Have you seen what we have done lately? I have this theory that if I can help the younger generation to see the beauty in everything around them, maybe in some small way I can make the world a better place? Am I crazy? Maybe???
7) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given, and what would your advice be to people thinking about taking a leap of faith on their own personal dream?
Straight up. The best advice I have been given is always buy yours jeans a size smaller. It’s practical, its real and its so true. They always stretch!
Don’t be afraid of failing. Just don’t. Because you might, actually most people do. But, at least you tried right? At least you know you tried. The biggest thing for me is we only have one life, we only get one shot at this, so for me I need to give it my all. I don’t want to get old and think “oh I wonder what would of happened if I did that..” so I am just going to go out there and do it. What’s the worst that can happen right?
8) I normally ask 7 questions, but after reading your ‘About’ page, I had to ask an eighth.. The last sentence reads ‘Because our models are the misfits, they are the crazy ones, they are irreplaceable’. What does ‘irreplaceable’ mean to you?
One in a million! *plays Aaliyah – One In A Million*
It means there is nobody else like them. It means you can’t just replace them with something similar. You can’t google “substitutes for…” a Milkshake. Because there is no substitute.
‘There is no substitute‘. Love it. Thank you so much, Keelan!! Keep up that inspiring work – and keep being the change you want to see.
Hustlers – let’s make like the Milkshakes, and be irreplaceable.