Why Kim of Queens Makes Grown Men Cry:
A Chat with Kim
Rare is it that a big strong man admits to crying. It was a first for me when I answered the phone and Kim Gravel from the popular Lifetime show called Kim Of Queens (#KimOfQueens) was on the other line. There’s a reason those tears came, and I’ll explain that in a moment. But first, a little about Kim:
At 19, Kim was crowned the youngest Miss Georgia in the pageant’s history. She is now the CEO of her own business, the renowned Pageant Place. It serves as the headquarters for the show that features the journeys of young women from different backgrounds. Kim finds the hidden gem in each one of them and helps bring those qualities out — assuming, of course, the girls are willing to learn. Her show’s not about exploiting girls and making them into Barbies. It’s good, wholehearted stories and life lessons, mixed with humor and love.
And when that one-of-a-kind, positive, sincere voice was on the other end of the phone, my eyes immediately welled up with tears.
The emotion had blindsided me, to be honest. Reality TV had become reality for me. The moment I heard her voice I began thinking about my kids, how much I loved them, and how I was about to speak with a woman who has made it her mission to better the lives of girls. Choking it back, I said hi and thanked her for what she does to inspire and encourage young women. I confessed that, despite being a 31-year-old man, I loved her show and watched it with my daughters.
As I spoke with her, something dawned on me: God truly has special plans for people. Some folks utilize their gifts and make the most of them. Kim Gravel is such a woman. In the show you can tell she is honest and loves what she does, and that heart is just as evident over the phone.
So yes, I admit I watch it, because like Kim and company I love my daughters and I enjoy seeing children succeed in whatever they do. (And Kim’s also a true Southern Belle, which is icing on the cake for me).
The show’s new season began September 16, and it airs every Tuesday night at 10/9c on Lifetime. Check out more details at the official Lifetime page for it.
First off let me say I am a grown man who watches your show and adores you and what you do for children [I start to tear up]:
Oh, you are such a doll, and you know what? You would be surprised. A lot of men do, and I tell them you don’t lose your man card for that. [Laughs] A lot of men watch the show and, you know what, a good message is a good message. It doesn’t matter, and it doesn’t have a gender, so we hope that comes through.
Well, the reason the show resonates for me [I start really tearing up and my voice begins to crack at this point, and I apologize] I have a little girl, and I really love what you do to encourage little children. How old is your girl?
She is 10. Oh, she is right in the thick of it then. No wonder you are getting all choked up. She is not a little girl anymore. I love it, Josh, you just made mt heart smile.
Her name is Sierra, and she is 10 and just started cheerleading. Do you have any advice I could pass on to her?
Yes. Tell her to give it all that she’s got and never give up. That is the main thing people do. You know they start something and never finish it, never see it through. It is not about the cheerleading that is going to help her. It is the life experiences of cheering, practicing, going to practices — that discipline is going to help her. Kids today, her generation and under, I am telling you, they don’t want to practice, they don’t have to. Everything comes to them instantaneously. Just tell her to keep practicing, even if she don’t feel like it, do it anyway.
Tell us about your new season. Are you excited for your new challenges?
I am excited because this year is a little bit different because we deal with girls — and we didn’t plan it this way, it just happened this year — a lot of girls dealing with a lot of issues. We tackle autism, a young girl has autism; there is a young girl her and her mother are homeless; there is another young girl who is dealing with eating disorders. Like I said we didn’t plan it to be this way but we just deal with some of the really tough issues that deal with young people today, and we face it head on, and we face it in a way that is not counseling and not medical or a clinical way to look at it. It is kind of common sense stuff that people respond to from our show. That is what is different about this season: a little bit more drama, people feeling like they are more than they are [laughs], so I have to deal with those kind of people. People get jealous, and we deal with a lot of that stuff that real girls and real people face — real people, not just women. This season will have a little bit more bite to it.
Do you feel like you have a potential Miss Georgia with any of your girls that you mentor currently?
I do. I have one in particular — two, really. One is a little bit younger, but I have one that is 14, and she is new this season and her name is Raven and she is so talented, she is so smart, and it’s her mom that gets in her way; but, yeah, this girl will probably go on to be Miss Georgia for sure in a few years.
Will your sister and mom return this year on the show?
Are you kidding, I couldn’t run them people off. [laughs] Yeah, they are both louder and prouder, and we are still working together. In fact, we are going tonight to South Georgia to judge and to do an appearance tomorrow. So yeah, my momma and Allison are still around. I couldn’t do it without them. Honestly, Allison, she is personality plus, and she don’t know a whole lot, but she is fun and the kids really like her, and my mom just has impeccable taste . So yeah, they will always be in there with me.
Being a Southern Belle and a Georgia Peach, do you ever pray with your girls or for their well-being?
Oh, Lord, yes, that is the cornerstone of our business, of my life, of our family, of why I do what I do because it sure ain’t money. Not only do we pray, we have — and this is so cool — we have a prayer chain via text. You have to meet kids where they are, so for me calling them they are like, yeah, you know, whatever; but if I text them or Instagram them or just — instead of policing what they do, that is for their parents — I am encouraging them. So we just started this prayer chain on text, and it is just this ongoing thing, and it is growing and growing, and we have 25 girls all texting on this text group, just saying, you know, how was your day at school, pray for me on this, pray for me on that. Yes, but it is not like, “Hey [in a deep, funny voice] we are going to pray and have Bible study.” [laughs] It is more of a just doing life with these girls.