Describe who you are, and what you do?
My name is Darrel Kennedy. Growing up with an androgynous name always haunted me as a child, but now that I’m a kick-ass woman in multiple male dominated industries,It’s become my secret weapon.
I’m a contestant on TLC’s newest competition series, Girl Starter. The show follows eight young women as they compete for $100,000 in funding to build a brand new business they are passionate about.
My business? Rinki Dink Studio. An inclusive film production studio that demolishes classic Hollywood standards, breaking down barriers for marginalized people of all kinds.
How did you end up on ‘Girl Starter’?
Girl Starter was an unexpected pivot in my life that presented itself with perfect timing. I never envisioned myself being on, nevertheless applying for, a competition show.
One day I was greeted by a random flyer about the show in my email accompanied by a passionate voicemail from my mom encouraging me to apply. My first thought was, “mom, chill…”, but little did I know sending in that application would change my life.
— Girl Starter (@GirlStarter) May 1, 2017
Do you like being on the show?
I’m going to be honest, going into Girl Starter; I was just as terrified as I was hungry (for knowledge, food too, but mainly knowledge…)
I came into the competition an artist who had entrepreneurial dreams and who was prepared to learn all that I had yet to know about starting a business. Truth was, I knew a lot more than I thought it did. The real lesson I needed to learn was to open my eyes and to stop doubting myself. To look around for the answers, rather than just asking the “professionals”; because most of them are lost as well. Being on the show pushed me to believe in myself, and watching it all back along side the rest of the world has only reinforced that.
Confidence was something I thought I had figured out after a childhood of bullying and self loathing.
I now realize you will always have to remind yourself to believe in what you are capable of, no matter how much of a ‘glo up’ you may have already had or how #goals your followers may have convinced you that you really are.
Have you always been interested in business?
I never really saw myself as a business minded woman before Girl Starter. I now know, I was wrong.
When applying for the show I thought I was scamming everyone when talking about my production company. When I applied, Rinki Dink Studio was merely a thought that had a few crappy projects to show for itself. I always knew I was a natural leader and that being my own boss was what I wanted to do with my life, I just never realized that I had been virtually trained for a moment like this my entire life.
My mother owns her own design firm and has been working for herself since I could remember. Being by her side during her numerous business ventures must have taught me way more than I ever understood. By time I actually made it to Girl Starter, I realized I had way more in common with the other inspiring business minded women I was sorounded by.
Do you think ‘Girl Starter” is a great show for girls?
Girl Starter serves as a great place for girls who are curious about business to start and get motivated. The six step process that each episode follows is extremely helpful for those who has no clue where to begin. I can’t wait to see the incredible young women who get inspired and blossom from this show!
Any challenges you have faced in being a female and starting a business?
Being a woman with a vison, especially in the film industry, can be an uphill battle for numerous reasons. The biggest is figuring out how to get your foot in the door all on your own.
I moved to LA after a semester of college and decided to create my own path for my future. I thought moving to the film capital of the world would surround me with opportunity and around other artists eager to work… WRONG. With today’s technology, (most) everyone with a decent camera thinks they’re Spike Lee and has a laundry list of requirements before they’ll even associate with you. It was so confusing, being that they had to start somewhere as well.
I reached out to numerous people via social media, and even turned to Tinder at a point (DO NOT RECOMMEND). The few responses I did get where rates I couldn’t afford or creepy guys that could care less about my craft. I learned quickly that being a pretty girl with a vision wasn’t enough. I had to get my hands dirty and put in the countless hours of practice, research, and make the sacrifices necessary to becoming the one woman crew I’ve had to become.
Sometimes being a woman in business, creative business or not, people will doubt you just because you are a woman.
They will question your knowledge and your skill without giving you a chance, but you can’t let that deter you. Allow the extra amount of work and effort you may have to put in to make you stronger. It’s extremely unfair, but at the end of the day, the woman who says “game on,” has already succeeded.
What’s the best advice you would give?
The best advice I could give is the advice I try to give myself every single day. Be brave and curious in every breath that you take. I know that is asking a lot, but it’s not mandatory… It’s advice. Whenever I am doubting myself, or overthinking a situation, I try to tell myself this. The curiosity is going to allow you to approach the moment with an open mind, while the bravery will allow you to seize the moment.
What are your future plans?
As for the future, I plan to take Rinki Dink Studio to the next level. I want to grow the content we produce from just social media content and music videos, to actual short and independent films that can be submitted into film festivals.
As I continue on as a young professional, I want to avoid labeling myself and limiting myself to one job title. I’m naturally an ambitious person who wants to accomplish so much for the sake of living life to the fullest. I would hate to pass away looking back at what I could’ve done. I’m always open to collaboration and new artistic ventures as well as new business ventures moving forward in my career.
That being said; I have a few more projects In the works, but it looks like you’ll have to continue to tune in to Girl Starter to see what those may be.
Catch GirlStarter every Friday on TLC!