Kellidawn Gilliland is a high school English teacher in Austin, Texas and a mother of three young sons. She’s also recently become a soccer coach. And in the past was a twirler and Miss Louisiana Tech.
Watch her interview here:
Listen to her interview here:
Read her interview here:
Alice: Great. So, hi everyone. I’m Alice, the social media manager for Jubilance. And today I’m talking with Kellidawn Gilliland! Yay!
Alice: Kellidawn is a high school English teacher in Austin, Texas and a mother of three young sons. She’s also recently become a soccer coach. And in the past was a professional twirler and Miss Louisiana.
Kellidawn: Okay, wait, wait, wait. I’m not, I want to correct that. I am not, I was never Miss Louisiana, I was Miss Louisiana Tech for my university.
Alice: That’s cool.
Kellidawn: And I competed in the Miss Louisiana pageant. Didn’t win. Didn’t win.
Alice: Oh, I’ve been telling everyone the wrong information for years now.
Kellidawn: I like carbs. There was no way I was going to win.
Alice: Ooh, well that’s– that’s amazing too. Miss Louisiana tech.
Kellidawn: I still have a crown. It’s real pretty, so.
Alice: Wow. Well welcome Kellidawn and thank you for joining us.
Kellidawn: Thank you.
Alice: Yeah. So I want to start off with some fun questions. What’s your favorite dessert?
Kellidawn: Chocolate mousse.
Alice: It’s so good.
Kellidawn: I love it. If I’m at a restaurant and they say, would you like dessert? Like a nice restaurant, you know? If they have chocolate mousse I’ll have it. Anything else? No. But, okay, it isn’t really a dessert but it is for me, I Love chocolate chip cookie dough. Don’t cook it.
Alice: Oooh, it’s so good!
Kellidawn: Yeah. Yeah. It’s so good. It’s so good. And at, in San Antonio, Fiesta Texas, which is the six flags of San Antonio amusement park, they have like chocolate, they have cookie dough stands instead of ice cream stands. It’s a scoop of cookie dough.
Alice: What? That’s crazy.
Kellidawn: I know, I know. And I’ve only gotten it once because my kids were like, we must try it. And so we did. And it was, it’s genius. It’s amazing.
Alice: Okay. So in New York when you come back, you’re going to have to try this place called DŌ. It’s a similar concept. It’s just cookie dough.
Kellidawn: I’ve heard of it. And they say that it’s actually safe to eat, cause everybody like freaked out about raw egg in it. “Don’t eat it.” I’ve been eating my mom’s chocolate chip cookie dough every time she’d make cookies when I was a kid and I– I’m fine.
Alice: It’s so good. Yeah. But so you’ll have to try it. It’s really–
Kellidawn: I will, definitely.
Alice: Yeah. Okay. Lip gloss or lipstick?
Kellidawn: It depends. So seasonal lip gloss for the summer, matte lipstick for fall and winter.
Alice: Oh, that’s so nice. Cool.
Kellidawn: I’ll say if you’re going somewhere, or, especially if you’re drinking wine with friends and stuff, I always try to wear like a matte lipstick that it’s not going to come off ’cause you don’t want it on the glass and it just is, you know, you don’t be like, Oh there’s my lipstick. But I like gloss in the spring, in the summer, matte in the fall and winter.
Alice: Perfect. What is your favorite random fact?
Kellidawn: About myself or just something I know?
Alice: Anything in the world.
Kellidawn: My word– I don’t know. Now you’ve put me on the spot.
Alice: Well, it’s okay. We can skip it.
Kellidawn: Okay. I’m gonna let me think about that one.
Alice: I just love random facts and I love hearing them.
Kellidawn: Well, I get a lot of them from my kids because they read, okay, they read this little journal at school called Scholastic news. And my– my oldest son, who’s 14 now, it was his favorite thing in elementary school to read and he doesn’t have it anymore. And my youngest brought it home and I was like, Tyler, I have a surprise for you. And he was so excited to read it. But one of the random facts that he has told me from Scholastic news is that King Tut’s dagger is a meteorite, like an asteroid.
Alice: Wait, really?
Kellidawn: That’s according to Scholastic news.
Alice: Fact check, fact check. That’s really funny. That’s really cool. I’m going to look into that. Can you talk about where you’re from?
Kellidawn: Okay. Originally I’m from Oklahoma City. I grew up there and then I lived there for eighteen years. I graduated high school and went off to college in Louisiana, and then from Louisiana I moved to Austin, and I’ve been living in Texas for 19 years.
Alice: Wow. That’s amazing.
Kellidawn: Yeah. We just finally had some cool weather. As you can tell, I’m wearing long sleeves, kind of a sweater, but it’s going to get back up in the nineties on Saturday and Sunday.
Alice: Oh my god.
Kellidawn: Which I’m okay with. I like the hot weather. Everyone else is like, no, I want to wear my scarves. I’m like, I’m okay, I don’t like to be cold. I hate to be cold.
Alice: Yeah. Wow. Nineties in October.
Kellidawn: Maybe we should get to the pool!
Alice: That’s amazing. I wish I could do that. What’s your favorite part about Austin, is it the weather?
Alice: What’s your favorite part about Austin?
Kellidawn: It’s such a fun city. I love, well, you know, they call it the live music capital of the world cause there’s just always a fun band, playing. It’s very family-friendly, just stuff like all these live concerts are for, everyone should participate in just amazing parts in downtown Austin. Like if you go downtown Austin, you’re still in the city and then they have this beautiful area called Zilker park. It’s just fun with the natural spring, that 68 degrees year round with people swimming. I don’t, but people do. So the city just has so much to offer. There’s always something fun going on.
Alice: That’s amazing. And what’s your favorite restaurant in Austin?
Kellidawn: Oh, okay. All right. My favorite Mexican restaurant is Polvols. There’s nothing bad on the menu. It’s just amazing. Now my favorite kind of Austin dish? My favorite pizza place in Austin is Home Slice and it’s considered the number one pizza in the nation and it is really good, that was the years ago. Barbecue? I like Rudy’s Barbecue. Austin is well known for their barbecue. I like Rudy’s. And then like a restaurant, restaurant is this like kind of a bistro and it’s called Chez Zee. It’s just kind of a little fun, eclectic, a little upscale. Can never do a favorite. I have to do categories.
Alice: Okay. No, it works. I’m all about food. I just had the queso in Houston last weekend, and I don’t, I don’t remember trying it before, but I’m sure I had it with you before, but–
Kellidawn: I’m sure you have. I mean–
Kellidawn: Okay. Let me tell you– okay, my kids love Chipotle they love to eat at Chipotle but their queso is the worst queso ever. Ever!
Alice: They have queso?
Kellidawn: They started selling it, don’t eat it, don’t eat it! When I see you again, I’ll make you good queso.
Alice: Yeah. It’s delightful. I was really into it. I was like, how has this not been a part of my life forever?
Kellidawn: It’s so good. It’s what you eat to watch football. Come on.
Alice: Incredible! Can you talk about becoming a teacher? What made you want to become an English teacher?
Kellidawn: I don’t know. I never had that aha moment, like the epiphany where the heavens opened up and said, “You’re going to be a teacher!” I just kept trying different things when I was in college and I just had a passion for literature and it just kind of made sense to me and– and I’ve been doing it forever and every year I learn something new about teenagers and I learned something new about myself. So it’s definitely enlightening and it’s fun. And I love, I’m not gonna lie, I love my vacation time. I get great vacation time.
Alice: What’s, what’s your favorite book you guys have read in one of your classes?
Kellidawn: Right now for my AP students we’re reading Pride and Prejudice, which is always my favorite classic book, and it’s funny that you asked me this because today, and it wasn’t even during class, we have kind of a, it’s like a break time, or homeroom, or tutorial or just, it’s kind of a break during the day and the students get about 40 minutes and they can go to study, or just take a nap in a class or do whatever they need. So I had some of my AP students who were in my classroom and just some of my regular level students. And then they started talking about Pride and Prejudice but they’ve finished reading volume one.
This is the part where Darcy is such a jerk and, these two boys in my class, these two males are just like, “I just want to punch him in the face. He is horrible!” And then one of them was like, “but Elizabeth knows he likes her” and the other boy was like, “No! No! It says she is unaware of his feelings”. He was quoting it and the other kids was like, “No, no, no, no, she’s playing him. She is playing hard to get.”
And I mean in this conversation and then the girls in the room, they’re like, I cannot, and one of them had already read the book, she knows everything. And she was like, “I don’t even want to have this conversation with you about Darcy and Elizabeth. You just don’t even know. You don’t know.”
And it’s just so funny and adorable how they get into it and you never thought that they would. And of course when I handed them the book they were all like, “Ugh, this is going to be terrible.” And it’s a timeless story because it’s gossipy love and marriage and, and it can be placed in any time period and they find, and they realize that.
Alice: That’s awesome. Oh that’s an amazing story. That’s my dad’s favorite book actually Pride and Prejudice.
Kellidawn: That’s fun. I can see that–
Alice: Yeah, it’s funny. I guess, he reads it like once a year. He thinks he’s Mr. Darcy. That’s his movie of choice. When I was last home he asked like, “Do you want to watch the Pride and Prejudice? Like the long one, the mini series?” “And I was like, no, dad, I really don’t.”
Kellidawn: Oh, okay. I was about to say, I hope it’s not Keira Knightley one cause I don’t like that version.
Alice: I love that version so much more.
Kellidawn: Oh no, no, no. They ruined the best scene in that version.
Alice: Why? What do you mean?
Kellidawn: The scene where Darcy proposes, in the book, you know, he proposes to her and it is such a cold, horrible proposal that, “you’re not good enough for me, but I want to marry you anyway.” And then she’s just kind of rips him apart. I mean, makes him less of a man when he is leaving the room, and he is just heartbroken.
And in the Keira Knightley one, they’re about to kiss and they have all this ridiculous chemistry. There should be zero chemistry in that scene. It should be Elizabeth Bennett, this empowering female just telling this idiot man how it is like no, sorry moron.
Alice: I haven’t read the book in so long, and now I want to pick it up again cause I don’t remember that part.
Kellidawn: You should. It’s the best thing ever. It’s the best thing ever. I love it.
Alice: Yeah. Speaking of that, can you talk about what being female means to you? I know it’s a definition that’s kind of ever evolving and changing and you’re learning more about yourself every year, you said.
Kellidawn: I definitely do. To be honest, being a female is hard. It’s, it’s hard. I’m a single mom with three kids, but I’m not just a single mom, I’m a widow mom. So that makes it even harder. And I’m raising these little boys and I’m like, Oh but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I mean, I would have it with my husband of course, but I wouldn’t have, you know, I wouldn’t do, I couldn’t see my life without my three boys ever. But it’s exhausting and it’s hard, and it’s all beautiful, all at the same time.
And I want to say being a woman, I don’t want to say club or something, but it’s like a sisterhood that we all have. I think that when you see another woman where you can say, ‘I know what you’re dealing with.” You know, and it might not be that exact same thing, but it’s, it’s something. We’re all dealing with something emotional, mental, physical, and we all kind of can get it and look at each other and kind of understand. Especially if I’m in the grocery store and I’ve got these three crazy kids and I’m just like, huh, okay. And I see another woman, she’s like, I know what you are going through. And it’s like that. And I just think being a woman is hard, but I think being able to acknowledge it and accept it, yes, it’s hard, but that’s what makes us so strong. And I think a lot of people forget that it is hard, but it makes us so strong, I mean, we really are. Let’s face it. We really are.
Alice: Yeah, definitely. I think especially with Jubilance and what happens once a month? A man could never get through that. Let’s be real.
Kellidawn: Well, I’ll tell you right now, I don’t just take it once a month. I take it every day of the month, because I can tell the days if I forget to take it, cause I’m, you know, just treading water, trying to keep my head above it lightly.
And those days that I find down, I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’m so tired.”. I can tell the difference when I’m getting through the day, I’m completely exhausted if I don’t take it or I’m just like tired if I do,] which I’m always tired anyway, but at least I’m not completely drained, you know? So it definitely gives me a boost and I’m not just taking it like that one week out of the month, I’m taking it every day.
Alice: That’s great. And that’s what we recommend to our users to take it every day so it can help you. We’re so glad that it can help you. I just have a few other questions. So if a woman came up to you and asked you for your best piece of advice what would it be?
Kellidawn: Oh my gosh. See, now you’re giving me these big—
Alice: You can be like, read Pride and Prejudice.
Kellidawn: Hmm. I got to think you can’t put me on– I think my best advice would be, and this is honestly something my mom told me years and years ago and I just kind of was like, I don’t have time for that.
Take time for yourself no matter what, you know. My time for myself every day is when my kids have gone to bed and it’s, it might be 30 minutes, it might be an hour. Sometimes I’m crazy and it’s two hours, who knows? But that time is me just resting, taking a breath, maybe having a glass of wine, maybe watching like super bad television that just doesn’t make me think, which I like. Sometimes you just shut your brain off, but you’re still being entertained. Reading a book. Just something for yourself, every day so that you can maintain your, yourself.
Because sometimes we get so caught up into pleasing every single person in our life, whether it’s work, whether it’s relationships, and not just like, you know, a mother to son relationship. But friendships, you know, we’re trying to do so much for others, that we tend to forget to do just one little thing for ourselves. So I think the advice I would always give to someone, “Find something that just makes you happy and do it at least once a day.
Alice: That’s awesome Kellidawn, that’s wonderful. I should do more of that.
Kellidawn: I know. It’s hard. It’s so hard. It’s so hard in this world to be, for lack of a better term, it’s so hard to be selfish. And even though it’s not selfish, because if you’re happy, you’re gonna make others happy.
That’sone thing I’ve learned from my kids. Sometimes I’ll do a girl’s night out or something, and my boys are like, “Mom, you need it. You do enough for us. You need it.” And they’re good kids and they love me but “You’ve got to go” and they’re right. I do need it because I’m kind of my wit’s end sometimes, I’m like, “Pick up your shoes!” you know, just something. And sometimes I just need that break and we all do.
No matter where we– whatever stage you are in life, if you’re in college, if you’re in high school, if you’re just a, just a single girl out on the town in New York, you know, whatever it is. We all need something for ourselves every once in a while, and there’s nothing wrong with that and people need to start, stop feeling guilt from it. And others need to stop making us feel guilty about it as well.
Alice: That’s very true. It was great. It was so nice to get to talk to you!
Kellidawn: Thank you. It’s so weird. I will say this is so different for me. Plus I’m at like a weird angle and this is like after full day of teaching, taking kids to dentist, practice, and trying to get my happy time, a 30 minute workout. That’s about it.
Alice: That’s, that’s great. Awesome. Thank you for being on.
Kellidawn: Oh, thank you. Have a good night!