How to introduce a womxn whose art I've been obsessed with on Instagram for ages? Well, I'll try. For those who haven't come across Kallen's work (which is hard now as she is gaining more & more visibility) please head over & check it out before we go any further: @_kallenmikel
I was inevitably drawn to the Phoenix-based artist's work which features beautiful & poweful divinely feminine subjects, the womb, the moon, yonis & yoga. I couldn't help it! Her vision & expression ticked all my boxes and I wanted to learn more about her & her work, which I'll share with you now...
The world needs more images of women who are strong and proud of their bodies.
Fiona McCoss: Looking at your artwork, there are definite themes of the womb, the moon, naked women, self-pleasure, flowers - themes that are linked with divine feminine and celebrating the sacred essence of what it is to be a womxn. Can you tell us a little bit more about what draws you to these creations?
Kallen Mikel: Growing up as a girl/woman, I felt very ashamed of my body and my sexuality. I didn’t want to “develop” because it made me feel dirty. Now, as an adult I’ve liberated myself from these negative beliefs and I’ve learned embrace my femininity that I was ashamed of before. I believe women are magical and that we have our own special relationship with the earth and the universe. I paint images that represent unapologetic self love and pride because that’s what I would have loved to see when I was still shaming myself. The world needs more images of women who are strong and proud of their bodies.
FM: I love the sensuality of your artwork that incorporates yoga asana - which is your favourite asana and why? What does your yoga practice look like?
KM: Thank you. My favorite asana is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana (pigeon). The first time I did it I cried and decided to forgive everyone I was angry with. It was really powerful. I hold a lot of tension in my hips and this pose really helps to release that. I usually start off with multiple sun salutations, then I go into a flow of multiple poses. I always set an intention during my practice and I find that to bring really powerful energy to my practice and my life in general.
FM: What empowers you to be your truest most authentic self?
KM: The earth. Every time I listen to nature, she shows me by example that being yourself is extremely important. Wanting to be anything other than yourself is taking your unique gifts for granted and it doesn’t do any good for anyone.
Every new moon I write down 10 visions I have for myself as a manifestation.
FM: Do you have any rituals? (For example, one of mine is my morning cup of hot water and lemon with some mindful movement, also meeting my Sisters in Circle at the full moon.)
KM: Yes! Rituals are so important. I practice yoga/ meditate almost every day. I go running 3 times per week. Every day I do something called the ‘core 4’ which is essentially superfoods and cleansing formulas. I start my morning every day with a superfood shake called the power shake. Every new moon I write down 10 visions I have for myself as a manifestation.
FM: If you could look back and tell your 14 year old self one piece of wisdom you’ve learnt over the years, what would it be?
KM: I would tell her about what unconditional love really was and that she was deserving of it.
FM: What does your self-care and/or self-love look or feel like?
KM: Self care for me is eating well, sleeping well and exercise. It’s also creating and doing things that make me happy. I go to acupuncture and talk therapy to help my healing process from emotional trauma. It’s important to seek help if you need it. Setting boundaries has also been a very important form of self care over the years. We are never getting obligated to do things or see people that make us uncomfortable.
FM: Your Instagram bio says Vegan, Health Consultant, & Yogini - can you dive a little deeper into what got you to follow those three paths?
KM: I studied Nutrition Science in college and have always been interested in preventative/natural medicine. I currently help people transform their lifestyle so that they can enhance their quality of life. After doing a lot of my own research, I decided to go vegan two years ago. I believe 100% that a vegan lifestyle is the answer to so many people’s prayers. It’s also a great way to care for the planet and non humans who are suffering greatly because of our choices. Yoga has been part of my life now for 10 years and it was what started my own personal healing journey. It’s one of the best things on this planet and I believe that if everyone practiced yoga we would have a much more peaceful world.
FM: How does this translate in your personal day-to-day life?
KM: I made a decision to open my eyes to how animal products are produced and the effects they have on our health and the planet. After doing a lot of my own research, I was mind blown and quickly adopted a vegan lifestyle. I will never go back. I do several forms of activism to shed light on the topic. I’ve been to slaughterhouses. The slaughterhouse near my house that kills 20,000 cows per week is the largest one in the southwest of the US. We stand outside and say goodbye to the cows on the trucks. After looking them in the eyes you recognize them as individuals, not as food. I am an anti-speciesist. Like I said I am still breaking down this belief that animals are inferior to humans that was passed down to me. We can get all the nutrients we need from food (in abundance), so unless you are completely dependent on flesh for food, why not live a lifestyle doing the least harm as possible? I talk to people every day who are looking to feel better. Our food system is failing us. One of the fastest ways to start feeling better is to change your diet. Not just for a week but for good. Eating a Whole Foods plant based diet can do wonders for the human body. I also lead group helps resets that help the body reach its full potential with raw organic superfoods and cleansing/ healing the gut. I support people through these resets and help them adopt a new healthier lifestyle.
I believe women are magical and that we have our own special relationship with the earth and the universe.
FM: What does Sisterhood feel like to you? Are you part of a Circle, or close-knit community of womxn?
KM: I have friends that I consider my soul sisters. To me, sisterhood means holding each other accountable, even when we face adversity. It means playing and being silly and feeling free to be vulnerable around each other.
FM: Do you have a favourite Goddess archetype, or Divine Deity you connect with or honour?
KM: I connect with Mother Kali because she enables the death of the ego that causes a self-centered view of reality. I believe we are all connected and to the earth and animals too. I’ve been working on breaking down the speciesism that was passed down to me.
FM: How do you define an embodied & empowered womxn?
KM: An unapologetic force that is not afraid to be seen and never asks for permission to do anything.
Et voila! Kallen Mikel. Such an inspiring womxn and artist. I urge to you support her & the female creative collective over on Instagram: @_kallenmikel
*All images copyright Kallen Mikel and taken from her Instagram.