Kayla Williams is a pastor based in Orlando, Florida who loves hair, makeup and traveling. When Kayla isn’t preaching and teaching, she is creating compelling content centered on fashion and beauty. As a religion & faith influencer, you can follow Kayla on Facebook and Instagram, to name a few.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background, including how you got involved in ministry?
Well, I remember just the calling and the enjoyment of ministry when I was 15, and it took me a while to really adapt to it, or confirm my calling for myself, because I grew up not seeing a lot of female pastors, and it made me unsure of how I was supposed to be one when I didn’t see anybody to follow after. And so I remember, I think I was around 17 when I saw my first female pastor or preacher, and I was just blown away because I was like, “Oh my goodness, somebody who looks just like me.”
And then I did more research and I found just so many more women. And so after the age of 18, I was like, I’m unafraid of this. I’m going to go after this. It took me a while because there was still so much life that I wanted to explore and to learn about. Went to school for theology, all of that fun stuff, and then I guess around the age of 22, I started really taking it seriously.
It took me from 15 to 22 to do it, only because I didn’t see a lot of younger women pursue ministry. All the women that I started looking up to for pastoral administrator preaching were well into their thirties, well into their forties and beyond. And I felt like I didn’t have a place, but you know, you got to do what you got to do after awhile.
At what point did you start to focus on fashion and beauty content as an influencer?
Well, I realized that this is always somebody who I’ve been. And once again, not seeing a lot of female pastors that looked exactly like me. I didn’t see a lot of women really care about makeup or cute dresses and things like that. So I felt like I wasn’t going to be responded well to if I was to put myself out there.
But I remember I had a conversation with God about Him loving me the way I look, the way I am, and I realized how a lot of women received me well. They liked talking about hair with me and makeup and things like that, and I was like, “Wow.” So things that my passion for beauty did not stop because I did ministry. I just combined the two. So two things that I really love, I just put them together and bam, here I am.
Who have been some people (or resources) that have inspired you along your journey?
Well, most of the women that I’ll mention, I never got to meet them in person, but one day I definitely hope to, but Priscilla Shirer, she was one of the first African American female pastors that I saw as an image like for myself to look at.
Then there were women such as T.D. Jakes’ daughter, Sarah Jakes Roberts, who I was blown away by how much younger she was, and I liked her style, and her look. Then there were a lot of women that I met locally that kind of poured into me and encouraged me, and then I had a lot of male pastors that were able to take me under their wing and teach me things about the church and ministry, because once again, there were not a lot of females that I saw.
So because I saw so much more men doing it, I was able to build a friendship, build a network with pastors and preachers alike who would teach me the ropes and things that maybe I’ve never been taught before.
To-date, have you collaborated with any brands or are you kind of strictly focused on your ministry?
No, both. I have connected with hair brands where I do a lot of wigs for women. I make them, I color them. I customize them for women. I’ve connected with eyelash companies for eyelashes. I’ve promoted them. I’ve done some makeup brands before. I’ve done even some clothing as well. I’ve done Christian clothing lines. So I like to mix the beauty and the fashion aspect with the ministry.
During these challenging times with the pandemic, people involved in ministries have to make a lot of decisions and there’s a lot of pressure placed upon them in terms of when to gather, how to gather; what advice do you have for others as it pertains to making these tough decisions?
Well, I definitely believe in letting the Spirit guide you and lead you, and being receptive and patient with people. Because as pastors, as preachers, as much as we love coming to the House of God to worship, we have to be mindful of our congregation. Some people really have a fear. Some people have watched on the news so many people pass away during this pandemic, and other things going on, and we have to be mindful that, okay, maybe we feel free and we are at peace in our minds, but maybe somebody else isn’t.
So taking the time, maybe even checking on our congregation, our church members, or continuing to stream online, not just cutting it off completely because you would like to have an in-person service, but doing both. Maybe allowing people to come to the House of God if they’d like to, maybe 10 or 15 at a time. Whatever it may be just to let people know that we sympathize and we’re here for them in this situation, but we also want to encourage, to keep pushing forward. Don’t be stuck in one area, or one mindset, that this is not forever, but that there’s hope. And there’s a ray of sunshine on the other side.
As a Minister, content creator, influencer, you undoubtedly have a lot going on. So how do you structure your average week so you can kind of get everything done that you need to get done, and maybe still have some margin in your life where you can kick back and relax a little bit?
For sure. Really, I have to put it in the calendar. If it’s not in there, it’s not happening. I have a bad habit of trying to memorize everything. Well, my memory is not that great, so I really need to stop. But I’m a part of a couple of different ministries, and so I just make sure I plan them out accordingly.
I make sure I have time for my family and time for my household, as well as having time for my members of my ministries, and making sure that I put the content out there for my viewers and my followers, which is a really big deal. It’s definitely not easy, but you definitely need to strategize this and organize it well, because it will get overwhelming. I am a victim of it being overwhelming. I know how it is.
And just for me, being able to put out better content for those who do follow me and even people around me to get the best version of myself, I must put it together. I must organize it ahead of time to make sure it all works out well.
I watched your Facebook live video about rescuing the kitten, and it was inspirational; you even made it kind of into a mini-sermon. So how about an update on the kitty, and have you picked a name yet?
She is doing so well. I mean she has energy like no other and I praise God for it because she is truly a fighter for her life. I have not settled in on a name yet. There’s so many names that could go along with it, because I want her name to be a testimony to how she fought through. And so I’m being really particular, I’m going through names.
I’ll probably pick a name more so when she is more active, because right now she still sleeps most of the day. So when she definitely starts to open her eyes and I see what she responds to and I see her personality definitely make a decision, but Grace, Faith, Hope, Miracle, all those things. So we’re going through all those great inspirational names right now.
Note: Influencer Spotlight interviews are edited for time and clarity.