Kyana Miller is a San Diegan turned New Yorker who’s worked in Event Planning, always knows the hottest places to go to in the city, and is an amazing Volleyball player! We’re so excited to have her on WEEKLY WOMAN this week!
Watch her Interview here:
Listen to her Interview here:
Read her Interview here:
Alice: Hi everyone. I’m Alice Cash. I’m the social media manager for Jubilance and this is Kyana Miller.
Kyana: Hi, internet. What’s up?
Alice: Kyana is from San Diego, is now living in New York City, brought to the East Coast for college as a volleyball champion and star.
Kyana: Well, that might be stretching it but.
Alice: Has worked in event planning and we’re so excited to have you on today.
Kyana: Thank you so much. I’m so excited to be here.
Alice: Yeah. So I just want to start with some like fun questions first. Okay. What is, what are your must-haves in your purse?
Kyana: Oh my gosh. Okay. I’m really big on like lip health, so like I always have like Chapstick or like like a hydrating lipstick. I weirdly always have a Sharpie. It came really in handy. The other day I was at a bar with friends and we were playing truth or dare Jenga and we got a block that didn’t have a dare on it. So I got to scribble on–.
Alice: –truth or dare Jenga.
Kyana: Yeah, it’s Jenga. But you write things on them.
Alice: And then you pull–
Kyana: The one that you pulled on is either a question or a dare.
Alice: Oh my gosh. I want to play that.
Kyana: It’s the best.
Alice: That sounds fun.
Kyana: Yeah. Especially if you drink with it. It’s very great.
Alice: That’s awesome.
Alice: Well, cool. What are you watching on TV right now?
Kyana: Okay. I know you already know the answer to this. My guilty pleasure: The Bachelor.
Alice: The best show ever.
Kyana: Obviously, though, guys, Oh my gosh, I like took a couple of seasons off and I’m back in.
Kyana: Yeah, Hannah’s pretty cute. She’s not my favorite in the first couple of episodes of this season. I don’t know. Personal opinion.
Alice: I was so into her. I was like, come back, we need you.
Kyana: That’s fair. But yeah, I got, I always watched Paradise, so I got real back in. I was like, okay, wait, I need to know what’s going on for the next season.
Alice: Yes. And what is your favorite book for like a plane or a train?
Kyana: Ooh. Well, I’ve been not very good at reading lately.
Alice: So I can see.
Kyana: I’ve been busy. It’s like in the middle of the same book for a while now that I’ve been trying to finish. And it’s by my favorite psychologist. Her name is Esther Perel. She is an expert in her field in sex, love, and relationships.
Kyana: Yeah. And so she writes these really interesting books that are all about kind of the way that society has shaped how we are in relationships and what’s expected from relationship and how some of those things don’t necessarily work for everybody. And it’s just a bunch of really interesting perspectives and case studies on different couples.
Alice: Oh, that’s awesome.
Alice: I’d love to pick that up.
Kyana: Yeah. I will give you the name. She has two and they’re awesome.
Alice: Yeah, that’s cool. We just started a book club actually with Jubilance.
Kyana: Ah, very cool.
Alice: Really interesting to read.
Kyana: They’re awesome.
Alice: Okay. Talk to me about growing up in San Diego. Were you born there?
Kyana: I was born there. Yeah. I lived there until I was 17 and moved away for college. It’s weird. I mean, so different than growing up anywhere else.
Kyana: No, there’s no winter, which just–
Alice: Oh my God.
Kyana: Biggest number one thing. But also just, I think there are a lot of different expectations that you grow up with. Like everyone is so much more relaxed and people take their time more with their lives and the steps they’re going through in life. Even with people I know now that still live there. There’s just not as much of like a rush in comparison to New York where you have to be busy all the time and you have to be always getting promoted, or taking the next step, or like doing a thousand things at once. Like, you can kind of just like focus on one thing at a time and ride it out.
Alice: Oh man, I miss that.
Kyana: I was just the home for Christmas and it’s always just nice for, to be able to breathe again. Like, relax.
Alice: What is your favorite part about San Diego when you go home?
Kyana: I mean–
Alice: Where do you have to hit up?
Kyana: Okay, so number one is a Taco Surf. A tiny little taco place with surfboards all over the ceiling. Best tacos in the city, hands down.
Alice: That’s cool.
Kyana: Yeah. Most of my places– most of my places revolve around food.
Alice: It’s very important.
Kyana: Very important. There’s also I don’t know if you’ve been, there’s this little poke place called Good-time Pokeyand it’s attached to a Tiki bar-restaurant called–
Alice: Oh, it’s in like Tiki
Kyana: –a table in the grass skirt that’s literally like a Tiki head.
Alice: My mom said we were going to a poke bar and I was like, “What is happening?”
Kyana: And it’s kind of speakeasy. It’s because–
Alice: Yes. And then you–
Kyana: You have like walkthrough the fridge to get into the tiki bar.
Alice: It was great.
Kyana: Yeah. And I always go there and then other than that, it’s more about just trying to see people. I have a couple of friends that live in LA, but usually, there’s one or two that tried to come down. I played volleyball with my mom’s friends. So that’s always a good time and the best.
Alice: Yeah. Can you talk about your volleyball life? You played volleyball since you were little and your dad coaches.
Alice: Can you talk about that.
Kyana: Yeah, absolutely. It was definitely something I resisted for a really long time. Actually, both of my parents play. That’s how they’ve met.
Alice: Oh, I don’t know your mom did too.
Kyana: That’s how they’ve met. It’s at a volleyball tournament.
Alice: That’s so sweet.
Kyana: So like at the end of the day I didn’t have a choice.
Alice: Yeah, that’s true.
Kyana: But I played a bunch of other sports growing up and my parents never really wanted to push it on me. They wanted it to be something that I chose for myself. And I started playing competitively when I was nine and at that time, I mean volleyball’s been growing and evolving so much. Like even then it wasn’t what it is now. And so I was nine playing on a volleyball team.
Kyana: Yeah. So like that was just weird in its own right. And just never stopped after that. And I always knew that I wanted to play in college. And the way that it made the most sense for me to do was to go to the East Coast to do it. ‘Cause I– volleyball players have to constantly ask the question because there isn’t really the same professional opportunities of like, “Okay, well like why am I going to play volleyball in college?” Like do I want to go just for the experience and like I don’t mind being like a practice player and sitting on a bench or do I want to go somewhere where like I’m an asset that I can be on the court for games and like really contributed in that way.
And for me, it was something where like I wanted to be on the court like practice players are super important as well and like do so much, but like I really want it to be like in it. And so for me to do that, I had to go to the East Coast. So I did that, started at one school, transferred.
Yes, I went to the Glorious City of Baltimore.
Kyana: Yes. And met the best people and had a great time and a great experience. And it’s really hard being a student-athlete. I think people are starting to realize that more and more. Especially there’s been a lot in the news about how the NCAA, mostly for football and basketball, but have been trying to figure out a way to give players potential compensation when they bring in so much money for the school. And so I think with that there’s been a lot more focus on how much time and actual energy goes into being a student-athlete beyond just the regular student experience and what they are really bringing to the table.
Alice: Wow. Did you play for all four years in college?
Kyana: I did. I– there was one year where I was not a starter my junior year.
Alice: Just one year.
Kyana: Just the one. But yeah, I was– I was on the scene the whole time.
Alice: That’s amazing. Wow. Can you talk about what brought you to the city then like after volleyball, after Baltimore and then you were like, I have to move to New York. Like why?
Kyana: Yeah, so I mean in regards to the timing of it, it was very much like a, I’m already over here. All my stuff’s over here. I quote like–
Kyana: –might as well.
Kyana: Right. so my mom actually did the same thing when she graduated college. She took a year and moved to New York and she’s from Kansas.
Alice: Oh wow. I have no idea.
Kyana: So she graduated and moved to New York. She’s here for seven years. And so growing up I heard stories about New York. She took me here a few times and especially in somebody who is like a Broadway nerd and not stop just shopping to save her life. This is kind of the place to be. So I just moved.
Alice: That’s awesome.
Alice: And what are your favorite places to go here in New York? I compare Kyana to Hilary Duff on Younger, she always knows the hippest, coolest places.
Alice: It’s amazing.
Kyana: I mean it’s really just a matter of my inbox constantly being full of newsletters, like nonstop, like everyone else hits instant delete and I like really read through those. I mean obviously like Central Park is a big one. Like, it’s so hard to find outdoor space in New York where you can just kind of like get away from it all. But like the parks here are so important to me. But that’s an easy one. Where else?
Alice: I know you did a rooftop crawl over the summer. Do you make it to every rooftop in the city like you want it?
Kyana: Not even close. It actually, it ended up being a lot less formal of a thing.
Kyana: Yeah, I didn’t, I didn’t quite get everyone involved as I wanted to, but I personally went to a few. What’s a good one? I mean Refinery Rooftop is a classic and Midtown it’s really great. I’m a big fan of Cloud M on Bowery. I forget what the name of the hotel is that it’s on, but it’s this gorgeous indoor-outdoor space and there’s certainly very quirky decor, like really gorgeous lighting. And like a sizeable outdoor space and it’s not as well known. It’s a little bit of a hidden thing so it doesn’t get quite as packed.
Kyana: And then my other favorite is one that I took you to last time, which is Urban at Hudson and Midtown close to Hudson Yards very like a 60s, 70s mod.
Alice: Okay. Yeah, it was really fun.
Kyana: Good drinks. It is I think–
Alice: Beautiful view.
Kyana: I could– I was gonna say I could be wrong but if I remember correctly it is the tallest or highest up rooftop in Manhattan.
Kyana: So they have just–
Kyana: Yeah, they’re just the best view all around.
Alice: Oh, that’s awesome. Okay. And you’ve lived in like so many different places in Manhattan. Tell us your favorite spots. Like what’s your favorite neighborhood?
Kyana: Ooh all right, so two.
Kyana: So my favorite that I have not lived in yet is the West Village.
Alice: Oh, it’s so nice.
Kyana: It’s a dream. It’s a pipe dream we’re always climbing towards. There’s just a lot going on. It’s close to Chelsea where you can do a bunch of art galleries. You know, I really like riverfront on the Westside. So that whole area.
Alice: Oh, it’s so pretty.
Kyana: It’s so pretty. So I love that. And then my favorite place that I have lived is East Village. I live on the Upper East side now. And it’s just so different between the two. You know, the East Village, it’s younger, there’s stuff going on, there’s music, there’s restaurants. There is endless street art, which is like one of my favorite things in the world.
Alice: It’s awesome.
Kyana: It’s just a lot more vibrant and like the upper East side is great and I love where I live. But definitely like East Village, lower East side area is, it’s pretty great. I spent a lot of time there.
Alice: I was on the upper East side yesterday and I was just struck by how clean it was.
Kyana: It’s wild.
Alice: Like here, I’m on the upper Westside and it’s clean.
Alice: It’s clean. But the upper East side it was like–
Kyana: There’s something about–
Alice: “What is this place?”
Kyana: I think there something about there’s all the museums in a row.
Alice: Yeah. There’s no bum on the streets.
Kyana: That’s why– right,
Alice: There’s like just people who are like, “Hello there. How are you?”
Kyana: Lots of dogs which like immediately I love.
Alice: Yeah. It’s so nice.
Kyana: It is.
Kyana: Yeah, and I’m so close to the park again.
Alice: Yeah. Come back to the Westside.
Kyana: You know never say never, who knows.
Alice: Yeah. And you’ve also worked in event planning. Can you talk a little bit about that and what’s your favorite part of that experience or what’s your favorite event that you’ve worked on?
Kyana: Yeah. So I kind of fell into it. I had done a couple of internships and I didn’t have a job. And got really lucky that friend of a friend’s company was just acquired by the company, but it was a whole thing. Anyways, I got introduced and got really lucky and this amazing guy who was the director of sales, the company took me under his wing and really like showed me every aspect. I knew nothing. I was truly going in blind. And I mean, there’s a couple of things that I love about it most. One is, it is very client-facing. You’re working with people all the time trying to figure out if they’re saying what they mean and if not what they actually mean whether that’s about decor, budgets or whatever. And just kind of really having that constant interaction.
And the other thing that’s really great is just like having an idea and a concept and getting to see that happen. I worked in creative so I wasn’t the one operating and I wasn’t onsite at events usually. But you know, still even just seeing the pictures or a video from it and getting to see like something that started out as like this little seed of like, well how do you feel about this? And like something that was like yours and who our idea and not only having it accepted and approved and then wanting to do it but seeing it come to life is always really, really cool.
Alice: That is cool.
Alice: It’s such an artistic vision that you can get behind and create.
Kyana: Exactly. And then seeing people just being there and enjoying it as well. You know, like who doesn’t love a party? Come on, you know.
Alice: That sounds great. It’s a perfect job.
Kyana: Yeah, exactly.
Alice: Yeah. That’s awesome. Great. So a lot of what we talk about on this podcast too is like women’s issues and women’s bodies. And so I’m just curious for you right now, at this decade, forever changing, but what is your definition for womanhood?
Kyana: For womanhood? Oh, it’s such a broad question.
Alice: Yeah. How would you define it?
Kyana: Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting because we’re like at an interesting period of history where just the idea of who identifies as a woman just in and of itself has expanded and the acceptance of that. And so I think in regards to the defining womanhood, it’s just kind of like, I’m like, quote my favorite dear Lizzo.
Kyana: And if you feel like a girl that you’re a real like a girl, like, that’s like, that’s it. To me, like I nobody is inside each other’s heads. Nobody knows exactly what the other one is going through. And the female experience is so broad and diverse that I think it’s really just about as women accepting each other and being there for each other and especially like as white women, like we have so many privileges that women of color, transwomen don’t have still. And I think a huge part of our responsibility is just acknowledging that and taking that and doing things with it to bring these other women up and so that we’re all on a level playing field.
Alice: Yeah. That’s great. Thank you.
Alice: And then a kind of a followup question is if you met a woman on the street and you just had like one piece of advice, what would it be?
Kyana: Oh, man. I mean, honestly, just it’s– it is so, so hard to do and it’s taken me so long to figure out myself, but just like love yourself. Like, don’t care about what anybody else says. And I would really struggle with it. Like, even just like with little things, like I love to like change my appearance all the time. Like, I have tattoos, like have piercings, but like those are the things that make me feel like me and like not caring. If somebody thinks that puts me in this box when in reality there are no boxes.
Alice: That’s, that’s great.
Alice: Thank you, Kyana.
Kyana: Of course.
Alice: Do you have anything else you want to add to our listeners?
Kyana: Not at all. Yeah. Just enjoy life. I don’t know.
Alice: That’s great, yeah. Thank you so much for being on today.
Kyana: Of course. This was so much fun.
Alice: Yay! Thank you.