We had the good fortune of connecting with Kiara ‘The Jerk’ and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kiara, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are extremely exciting, they give me the opportunity to aim for new ‘limits’ but can also be intimidating sometimes. Taking risks has given me hope that I’ll succeed in whatever I go for and the confidence that I’ll excel as well as open me up to trying new things and meeting new people. Without risks how do we evolve?

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a photographer, a black woman photographer. There are many things in my photo career that I’ve been proud of and excited about but I have to say the highlight of my career so far has to be shooting for and interviewing Ski Mask ‘The Slump God’ last November (2019) here in Arizona. Getting to where I am today definitely was not easy, there are a lot of things you need to learn not only about yourself but about people and how different businesses work in order to level up and branch out. I overcame these challenges by giving myself time to fail and miss out on certain opportunities so I can learn and understand why certain things didn’t quite work out this time but they worked out last time. I got to where I am today by being consistent with my work while also always trying new things and being patient. A very important lesson I learned along the way is that life is all about timing and manifestation, if you don’t give yourself the time to work and understand and want something it won’t work out the way you want it to. The biggest thing I want the world to know about me is my love for creating, photography gives me the freedom to express myself in ways that I can’t put in words.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Arizona is very beautiful in different areas with the local art/murals so I would definitely have to pick somewhere in the Tempe/Phoenix area to take them to. I just discovered this cool vintage shop in Tuscon called Generation Cool run by @slobbyrobby so that’s a must on the list. If concerts were still going on I’d definitely have to take my best friend to one of the many great venues we have for a show.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my friend, Kyle aka Kaito. Without Kaito I’m not sure when I would’ve gotten into my first concert as a photographer because he helped me out when he didn’t have to and for that I’m constantly grateful. I also want to shoutout Lyrical Lemonade because they are a constant inspiration for my appreciation of local talent and need for expansion beyond photography. And a final shoutout goes to the countless people who always show me and my art love, thank you!

Instagram: instagram.com/kiarathejerk
Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/kiara-townsend

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.