1- Hello Kayla, can you please tell us a bit about you?

My name is Kayla Nicole Root, I study microbiology and physics at the Pennsylvania State University. I am also a model, actress, musician and United States of America’s Miss Pennsylvania 2019.  I founded and run a diversity non-profit called Beyond Equality, and just launched a cosmetics line called Kayla Nicole Cosmetics.

2- What are your focus areas and why?

I want to become a veterinarian and animal health correspondent.  The next Dr. Pol.

Everything I’ve done – modeling, acting, pageantry, plus math, and science – all of these seemingly diverse skills willculminate in an ability to represent myself professionally and publicly by teaching people about animals.  Increasing understanding, enhancing relationships, and educating on optimal care.

I also love applying science to beauty with my cosmetics line and what started as a high school science project in creating pigments, has bloomed (with the help of my role in pageants, acting, and modeling) into a fascinating business.  I’m learning so much about the industry and connecting with so many people it’s amazing. I’ve just started doing live make-overs through the KaylaNicole.com website too, so it’s well beyond my first line of lipsticks and gives me direct feedback to understand best what products to develop next.  

3- How would you describe “Beyond Equality” in few words?

Beyond Equality strives for diversity appreciation through valuing individuals and their unique experiences.  We offer education and scholarships for both girls and boys that are trendsetters, trailblazers, and visionaries.

Because it is the girl who plays football who will not be intimidated, the boy who does a ballet that will be empathetic, and the child with the most experiences that will forge society’s path into the future. These kids are our future. My business, Kayla Nicole Cosmetics, in part, funds the scholarships. This year I want to expand my non-profit’s board of directors and provide even more scholarships.

4- Where do you think it’s making an impact?

Young people today have so much courage.  A facet of reality television, plus learning from our historians, role models, athletes, and others has demonstrated that so much is possible.  The connected economy that we live in now make learning, achieving, and communicating so accessible and immediately sharable. Unfortunately, this can be utilized to push negative messages too, so it’s vital that we continue to educate, exemplify, and reward those who are courageous enough to forge a new path in a positive way.

5- Do you think “Integrity” is an essential part of the game?

Integrity is critical.  I always consider the fact that we judge ourselves based on our intentions, but we often judge others based on their actions.  It is important to ask questions to understand the intentions of others. Most people really want to contribute, to achieve, and to do good.  It’s critical that we reserve judgment on integrity until we understand the intentions of others. Seek to understand and we can find common ground.

6- What can you tell young creative women who are pursuing their dreams?

Do what you love, no matter what anyone says and don’t be afraid to disrupt typical gender norms [girls and boys], that’s how we believe we move beyond traditional thinking and pioneer a future that embraces diversity. I grew up with a lot of passions that went against the grain, like muscle cars, PC Gaming, archery, playing in a rock band, and a love of math and science. I encountered a lot of resistance, but my mom always told me to do what I love, no matter what.

I took strength in others, like Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to attend medical school, who subsequently become the first female doctor. She said, “…what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women. It is not easy to be a pioneer – but oh, it is fascinating! If society will not admit of woman’s free development, then society must be remodeled.” I like to apply this to both genders, all races, ethnicities, and abilities.  If we have the passion to contribute, we must do so – and if society is not comfortable with the advancement, then society must be educated and brought along.

7- How do you see the future of women entrepreneurship in the next 10 years?

What an amazing time to be a woman. More women than ever in leadership roles. Medicine, entertainment, government, and business. Lots of inspiration and the more we move society, the more opportunities will be created.  We lay the path for our sisters, our daughters and our efforts build on those who came before us.  We all share the courage to grow.

8- Do you find as an expert, that you enjoy the challenge of an industry being complex and the game rules are always changing?

I am naturally a competitive person, but my greatest competitor is myself. Diving into an industry to see all sides, and gather insights will enable me to be the one changing the rules.  As we look at any market or industry with a new perspective and gain new information, it gives us an advantage. It’s information that others do not have.

I like to look at all different types of industries and business models, as there is something to learn that can allow me to change my perspective and gather new insights.  I’m not afraid to make mistakes, to try new things, and to learn from others. Complexity is just another way of saying the opportunity.

9- What are you most excited about at the moment?

So much is happening right now, it’s a really exciting time. I’ll be competing for the title of United States of America’s Miss in mid-February. I’m deep at work on my next cosmetics product now and can’t wait to launch the new product line later this year.  I have three really big personal goals for this year.

  • First, I want to expand my non-profit’s board of directors and provide even more scholarships.
  • Second, I am promoting my ‘Four-legged Fitness Challenge’ which encourages folks to increase physical activity by including their pets. Exercise is not only good for us, but it’s so good for our animal friends. I love the folks doing yoga with goats. I have goats on my family farm and want to try that. I bought a harness for my cat, Nittany and we’re making progress on training him to go for walks. In the end, we spend more time up and about, and we spend more time with our animals. Just taking a relaxing walk with our furry friends can make a huge impact on all of us.
  • Third, as a huge fan of music, my goal is to play at as many venues as possible. I do a lot of appearances as United States of America’s Miss Pennsylvania, plus modeling and acting so wherever I go I try to connect with people through music.

I’m driving for every opportunity to prioritize and work on these.

10- The last word or final thoughts?

I so appreciate the time and want to Thank You for the opportunity. I’d love to connect with your readers.  I’m on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/kayla-root-25a451172, Instagram @KaylaRoot77, and @USOAMissPennsylvania, and via Facebook at USOA Miss Pennsylvania.

My cosmetics website is KaylaNicole.com and my non-profit is BeyondEqualityNow.com. Since I love diverse experiences, my personal tag is #TheRootOfEverything.