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Stars Making A Social Impact: Why & How Kelly Hughes Is Helping To Change Our World

Never give up! I was always a true fighter for things I wanted in life, however, sometimes we feel that things aren’t going as planned and we back away or in some cases give up. I’ve heard so many celebs say their last audition was the one that made their careers so if they quit any sooner they would have never known.

As a part of our series about stars who are making an important social impact, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelly Hughes.

Kelly Hughes started modeling over 20 years ago with Next Models, who she still calls her mother agency. When she started her career there was something about the energy and adrenaline on set that made her embrace this industry and never look back. In 2009 with work slowing down due to many uncertainties in the economy, Hughes began working part-time in a restaurant and noticed her manager had a stack of bracelets on his wrist and had the thought to see if he wanted to add one more. She went home that night and out of a determined spirit and a God-given talent she made her first bracelet that would launch her jewelry line, HÜES. With word of mouth, she sold over 200 bracelets until her first store, Base (on Lincoln Road in Miami), saw someone wearing it and invited her for a meeting to sell in their store. This turned out to be the catalyst that launched her successful unisex jewelry line which as been worn by names such as: JBalvin, Ricky Martin, Chayenne, Zion y Lennox, Alicia Keys, Maxwell, Young Thug, and many more.

In 2018, Kelly added mother, to her already impressive resume, which she credits as her most rewarding accomplishment. When she found out she was pregnant, Kelly immediately started realizing her birthing plan. After weekly birthing classes, and countless doctor visits, the most important day of her life had arrived, and she was ready to give birth. Kelly quickly realized that her birthing plans would have to shift as she had a lengthy labor. She and her doctor would ultimately agree that a c-section was the best choice for her and 30 minutes later she met her beautiful, healthy boy for the first time. She would be sent home with a clean bill of health, however unbeknownst to her she had a serious infection and had to be rushed back to the hospital 2 days later. Kelly would have emergency surgery reopening her c-section which was successful but would leave her with two additional scars. Even though Kelly’s birth experience was far from what she was expected, knowing her son was healthy was all that mattered to her, and she is thankful that her c-section was able to keep her baby boy healthy and allow him to be delivered successfully.

Thank you so much for joining us on this interview series. Can you share with us the backstory that led you to this career path?

I didn’t know much about modeling or the fashion industry, but I had a few people in my life that suggested I should try modeling. So when I was 17 and working at a salon one of the makeup artists that worked there offered to take some pics and I sent them to some local agencies and fortunately one of them took me on.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that occurred to you in the course of your career? What was the lesson or takeaway you took out of that story?

This industry is so funny, so many things have happened but I would say that the most interesting story was I got confirmed for a job once in Los Cabos, Mexico. I flew all the way there from Miami, but when I got there they realized they booked the wrong model. The good side of it was that I got to enjoy the day on the beach in Cabo but the bad side was I wasn’t going to get paid and I lost like 3 days just traveling. It was a pretty awkward situation so I definitely feel like you have to make the best of everything in life and Cabo is absolutely stunning, so I’m so glad I got to see it even if it was just for 24 hours.

What would you advise a young person who wants to emulate your success?

I always say the same thing: everyone’s journey is different. I have met people along the way that had overnight success and others that had to work for years at it. I think the best advice is if you have a dream set your goals and stick to them and don’t let anyone discourage you. Don’t try to copy someone else story, create your own because there are no rules or playbooks In this industry.

Is there a person that made a profound impact on your life? Can you share a story?

My grandparents def paved the way for me. They instilled my core values and beliefs and lived their life as such an example. They didn’t have to say much, their behavior was contagious and you could see there was something so special.

How are you using your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share with us the meaningful or exciting causes you’re working on right now?

After the impact the photos in Sports Illustrated had I saw there was a real need to continue this conversation further and represent this cause as there’s definitely not enough info out there regarding c-sections and scar care. So to start, I team up with Estes Beauty to create a #scarlovechallenge on Instagram where you can post a pic of your scar to create a community of all people loving on all scars to encourage each other. This will create a community of encouragement and empowerment for people on all walks of their journey for people that are still struggling with their scars can come there and see others embracing their scars and feel encouraged. Estes Beauty is giving $1 for every post to World of Children which helps underprivileged children. There’s also a lot more to come. I am planning to make a special bracelet from my jewelry line HÜES (www.byhues.com) to give back with more info to come but I have a few charities in mind to work with.

HÜES sells products like Men’s Jewelry, Matte Black bracelets, and Men’s Accessories in the USA. They also offer trendy jewelry accessories for men and women.

Can you share with us a story behind why you chose to take up this particular cause?

Honestly, it wasn’t until I saw the reaction to my photos in Sports Illustrated showing my c-section scar that there were so many people struggling with this and it had never been shared before that I felt a responsibility to take on this cause and use my platform to help people on their journey. I was so inspired by the reactions and messages I got from so many people and not just women w c-section scars, but people with all different scars and people with different types of insecurities felt empowered by these photos. So I felt a big responsibility to continue this conversation further and help people struggling just like I was at one point.

Can you share with us a story about a person who was impacted by your cause?

There were so many people impacted and I’m so thankful for every single person that messaged me on Instagram (@kellyhues) and shared their stories with me. If you haven’t reached out yet please feel free to reach out anytime would love to hear from you all!!

I was truly moved by one woman at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Magazine launch event in May 2022. She was one of the event photographers and she came up to me after I sat on the motherhood panel for Frida Mom (SI pay with change partner) with MJ Day, May Musk & Hunter McGrady. She told me how much my story impacted her and that she just had her second child and she was having a very hard time emotionally and struggling. She started to cry as she was telling me the story because she was so thankful and felt she could relate so much to my story and she was so encouraged. Then she told me that she didn’t have a c-section, she had a natural birth. It was then that I realized some of us have physical scars but a lot of us carry scars you can’t see and there’s so much to talk about and share in this space of motherhood at large, scars, and how we can help each other on the journey by just sharing with one another. This was definitely a pivotal moment in my life where I realized that this movement impacted society as a whole and for so many reasons not just c-sections and I had to do something more to help people.

Are there three things or are there things that individuals, society, or the government can do to support you in this effort?

There’s always strength in numbers and one thing that’s incredible about social media is we can connect with people easily all over the world. My goal is to create a community of people to support and uplift each other after birthing and have more conversations that are so needed so that we are represented as we should be in society and the marketplace. A support group for women mentally, physically, or financially would be ideal, possibly a podcast coming soon and of course to truly grow this would take all of us coming together with resources. It has always been my dream to create a charity for mothers to pay one bill for them monthly that would help them whether that’s a car payment so they can get to work faster than taking a bus or a caretaker a few days a week so they can work more hours or go back to school. I saw there was a gap in the market in our government programs for people in need that are working hard and they tend to take away the help as you grow or “make more money”, however, I see it that we should reward people for doing better and achieving more not take away from them so this program would fulfill a need that so many people have.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started”

Turn a NO into a not right now and use it to make you better and empower you to either come back stronger and get a yes or another better opportunity can come

Never give up! I was always a true fighter for things I wanted in life, however, sometimes we feel that things aren’t going as planned and we back away or in some cases give up. I’ve heard so many celebs say their last audition was the one that made their careers so if they quit any sooner they would have never known.

Obstacles and difficulties will come, but its how you respond to them that matters

Love yourself no matter what the season you’re going through and give yourself grace.

There’s always a reason why something is happening and you can use it for a bigger purpose so allow yourself to go through things, it’s only a season.

You’re a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

It would definitely be the charity I mentioned above.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote? And can you explain how that was relevant in your life?

“It’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.”

Storms and difficulties are going to come for all of us especially since I realized early on that the career path I chose wasn’t an easy one. I hear a lot of No’s and there’s a lot of competition but I realized everyone has trials and difficulties but it’s how they react to them that really determines the outcome.

We are blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.

Definitely Jennifer Lopez! I have always admired her since I was 15 years old and first saw the Selena movie. She not only broke barriers and cultural stigmas in society but she’s extremely talented at many things, has more than one business, is absolutely gorgeous, and a mother!!

Thank you so much for these amazing insights. This was so inspiring, and we wish you continued success!

Thank you !!

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Yitzi Weiner

Yitzi Weiner

7.3K Followers

A “Positive” Influencer, Founder & Editor of Authority Magazine, CEO of Thought Leader Incubator