We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole “NeeKKo” Lindsey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole “NeeKKo”, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was being familiar with adversity and deciding that I want to be my own boss and change mine and my family’s circumstances. I did not know how or have any of the answers as to how to go about starting a business, but nonetheless, I knew I needed to start. I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but did not know exactly what I wanted to do initially. Once I began my journey I did not look back and I’ve welcomed the ideas and realities that unraveled and fell into place for me along the way as an entertainer with a purpose.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I go by the name NeeKKo and I am mostly known as an entertainer hostess/MC, but I also act, dance, produce, curate, and more. I am most proud of how I’ve managed to build a name and notoriety for myself in my community amongst my peers based on my work and how involved I’ve made myself in the community. I graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a communications BA, however, while in school I was big on working on grass root projects to gain experience in the fields of entertainment that I was interested in from radio, web series, fashion shows, live local events, stage plays, and more. My intentions were to put myself out there and get my face and name in front of people so that they could become familiar with me and support my endeavors as well as gain hands on experience for my personal gain. It was easier for me to work with those that were right beside me doing the same thing rather than applying for internships and looking to get experience from people who were higher up than me in their career and experience. It has become tough trying to balance the business side of what I do because I always used to only focus on just marketing and creating initially, but now that I have gotten to a place where I actually have real legal entities that can make me my own boss, I now have to slow down and learn things I probably should have considered learning earlier along my journey. I have many days where I wake up discouraged and unmotivated and comparing myself to those on social media who post their success stories and the wonderful opportunities that they’ve received while I find myself feeling like I do not do enough or I should be further than I am. When I get in those mental spaces and moods, I like to practice gratitude and thinking about all the things I am blessed enough to be grateful for while also reminding myself of the many milestones I have crossed. I also have a mentor that I call during those times to vent to and receive wise words and encouragement in exchange, which always helps me cheer up and get back motivated. It’s a never-ending struggle, but I make sure I still put up a fight and do not get defeated by my own negative thoughts. Lessons that I’ve learned along the way is you cannot do it all by yourself. As much as I was convinced that I was going to be the one to do it all, I eventually learned that having a team and asking for help is important or else you’ll stretch yourself thin and your venture will not sustain. Another thing I’ve learned is that learning does not stop after you finish school, you will continue to have to “do your homework” and research, especially if you want whatever you’re doing to succeed and last. I’ve also learned patience, as things do not happen overnight, it is a process. I want the world to know that for me, it is not enough just to entertain, which is why I attach a purpose with my brand. I am my brand, NeeKKo, which fosters my G.H.E.T.T.O merch brand and my Education Is Key nonprofit org. G.H.E.T.T.O stands for guys and girls have enough talent to overcome, which is an uplifting and powerful message to put a twist on the typical negative connotation of the word “ghetto”. So when people support my brand, they are reminded of the power and beauty of the word “ghetto”, which represents the underserved and less privileged. In addition, it also supports a great cause as my G.H.E.T.T.O brand is partnered with my nonprofit, so when a supporter purchases G.H.E.T.T.O merch, a percentage of proceeds are donated to Education Is Key. Education Is Key is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to fundraising money for scholarships for inner city students of Los Angeles. I come from a humble background and I am a first generation college graduate and I am using my story and my struggle intentionally to pour back into those that come from a similar background. I want my story and my brand to encourage people to show up for themselves and go for whatever they want no matter where they come from or what adversity they’ve faced because just likely myself and other successful creatives who have done it, so can they. And whatever they decide to do, I want my brand and story to remind them to do it with intention and for a purpose that’s bigger than them.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to Ocean Trail for a hike to get the day started with exercise and nature and a nice view. I would then have us go to Juice C Juice for smoothies to hold us over while we get showered and change to go somewhere to sit and eat. I do not have an exact restaurant in mind, but I would look for a place near a beach either in Long Beach, Manhattan Beach or Malibu and the has surf and turf on the menu. Then we would drive down the coast with a good playlist of songs playing on shuffle just enjoying the vibe and the view on the ride. We may stop by an arcade or a movie theatre and after, we would prepare for dinner. I enjoy cooking, so I may have us grocery shop for the meal of the night and cook together. We would either cook salmon, or stuffed chicken breast, tacos, or steak. After cooking, I’d turn on a good series or film to watch while we eat. By then I’ll be ready to wind down for bed.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to shout out my mother first and foremost, Alex Alonzo, Project Pit, TrapxLA, The LA Cypher, Boomerdidit, Pass It Forward, Breezy, Lo, Ticoya, Carlton Epic, Shianne Winston, Ryan Morris and Olli Jones.