Q&A With Kristina Kuzmič: Hold On, But Don't Hold Still

Q&A With Kristina Kuzmič: Hold On, But Don't Hold Still

Photo by Karen Erekson
Header Photo Courtesy of Kristina Kuzmič

Author: Kristina Kuzmič

Author Bio:

Kristina Kuzmič is a cheerleader for her fellow humans. It’s not something she ever anticipated doing, but after immigrating to America from Croatia during the war in her homeland and later facing more challenges (divorce, single parenting, poverty, depression…), Kristina wanted to be for others what she wished someone had been for her during her darkest hours.
Now, with over one billion video views, Kristina is providing her audience with encouragement, hope, and humor in a role she never expected to fill. 
In 2011, when Oprah crowned Kristina the winner of Mark Burnett’s reality TV competition “Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star,” Oprah said, “What is that THING?… That’s so charming and charismatic and connected to the audience that makes you feel like, ‘I know her, I want to be her, I’m like her’… Kristina has all of that. She is an ‘IT PLUS’ girl… I wanna watch her!” 
Since working with Oprah, Kristina has branched out on her own, creating mom-centric videos about raising children and juggling all of life’s challenges. Her messages resonate with moms, dads, and even those who don’t have children. She has quickly become a viral sensation with well over 2.8 million Facebook followers. Kristina has a voice and personality that has proven to be a hit with a massive audience (from young millennials through Gen-Xers and even Baby Boomers).”

1.  "Hold On, But Don't Hold Still" is your debut novel, what do you hope readers get from this book? Is there anything you hope your book addresses that your other content may not have?

My book was inspired by all the emails and messages I received over the years from people who saw my videos but wanted to know more about how I went from hating my life to where I am today, how I decided to finally embrace my flaws and authenticity, how I've dealt with depression and divorce and feelings for inadequacy and guilt and worry... It's impossible to reply to everyone so this book feels like my reply all.

2.  You are genuinely hilarious! When did you first realize you were funny or at least had the ability to make people laugh?

I think I was born with a need to find the funny. Humor is the way I handled stress and fears, even as a child.

3.  How do you balance being the funny, cool and fun mom while also still providing those necessary boundaries that kids often need to stay on the "straight and narrow"?

The big chunk of the last chapter of my book is on this topic. As much as I think it's important to be a rule-enforcer, I also think it's important to be a fun-enforcer. Life is hard! And while I want to raise kind, responsible humans, I also want to raise humans who know how to create joy in their life when things get tough.

4.  You have an incredible knack for having extremely funny videos but also videos that are truly thought-provoking as well. Talk about how you come up with these more thought-provoking videos? Is it the same creative process as the more humorous ones?

Whether funny or serious content, it all comes from a place of wanting to be for others what I needed when I was at my lowest. I needed to laugh and know that I'm not alone in the chaos of parenting, I needed to know someone else has survived struggles, but most importantly, I needed to hear from someone who was willing to be vulnerable and talk about the messy parts of being a human.

5.  If you don't mind sharing, what was one of your toughest days of being a parent? And why? And what was one of your most cherished days as a parent and why?

My toughest days were when I was a single mom, really broke and depressed and convinced that my children deserved better than me. My most cherished moments are every time I get to witness my kids being kind and empathetic and brave.

6.  Coming from war-torn Croatia to where you are now, what's your biggest takeaway that you'd share with others with similar backgrounds?

Turn your pain into a purpose!

7.  Overall, what was your writing process like for this book?

It felt very isolating at times because I was pouring my heart out onto the pages and not even sure if anyone could fully relate or find my stories helpful. So to now have the positive reactions and hear that the book is giving people new tools and new hope is so emotional and heart-filling for me.

8.  What is a topic that you didn't include in "Hold On, But Don't Hold Still" that you wish you had?

I feel like the book is what it was supposed to be. I don't wish I had added anything extra. Any other topics I'd love to discuss will find their own place in the future.

9.  How did you get involved with Oprah and the Oprah Winfrey Network?

I entered a reality show competition called "Oprah's search for the next TV star." Weirdly enough I made it to the top 10 contestants who would compete in a reality show produced by Mark Burnett. And then even more weirdly, I won! My prize was a cooking show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. I wrote about this experience and the important lessons it taught me in a chapter called, Hot Dogs With Oprah.

10.  At what age did you start cooking and what are some of your favorite dishes to cook? Also, what would your kids say is your best dish?

My grandmother started teaching me how to cook when I was 5. She built a confidence in me by letting me do things in the kitchen that most adults would never let a kid do. I still love cooking Croatian food, and that would probably be my kids' favorite too. And bread! We all love good, homemade bread!

11.  What is the best advice you have ever received on happiness?

Stop waiting for happiness and start creating happiness.

12.  Do you plan on writing more books in the future?

For me, writing a book felt like giving birth without an epidural, so I’m still sore! Right after I pushed my human kids out, the last thing I wanted to do was immediately go through labor again. Maybe after some recovery time, I might seriously consider birthing another book.


Places To Find More From This Author:

Instagram: @kristinakuzmic

Twitter: @KristinaKuzmic

Facebook: Kristina Kuzmic

Youtube: Kristina Kuzmic

Website: www.kristinakuzmic.com


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