Spark Story: Kim McMillian

Celebrating 20 Years of Impact

Meet Kim McMillian: a woman whose life was ravaged by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina as a youth. However, with the help of Usher’s New Look, Kim was able to overcome the tragedy and successfully pursue a career in the entertainment industry. New Look contributed to Kim’s success by cultivating her “spark,” or passion of storytelling and converting it into vocational success.

For Kim, and many others, life after Hurricane Katrina was devastating. Her home in New Orleans East was destroyed with “seven feet of flood water,” and Kim and her family were left homeless and forced to live in FEMA trailers. Nothing was salvageable. 

It was during this period, however, that Kim’s life was forever changed when she first learned about Usher’s New Look.  At the time, Kim was participating in a number of city programs in New Orleans, including the magazine  “Hip Hop Teen.” Mayor Ray Nagin contacted the magazine and told them “of this program in Atlanta” where Usher was “trying to bring some kids out there to be a part of his camp.”  Kim expressed how being “selected for something like this” gave her hope and excitement for the future especially during those difficult times.

Kim was impressed that New Look  “wasn’t just Atlanta kids” but also included kids from Detroit and Florida as well as teens from all over the country. She was so excited about this experience because in New Orleans East it was uncommon to “experience other kids” with similar interests.

Kim shared her story during UNL’s 20th Anniversary celebration in 2019.

New Look played a tremendous role in where I am today because they taught us that you don’t just have to be one thing, that you can do multiple things.

Kim McMillian

Kim believes that “New Look played a tremendous role” in where she is today because the organization taught her “that you don’t just have to be one thing,” rather “you can do multiple things.”

After her experiences at New Look, Kim went on to attend Loyola University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree.  She used her sparks to forge a career in storytelling and marketing.  

Kim is currently a Sr. Multicultural Marketing Manager at THE MRKT, the multicultural marketing and communications division of Terry Hines & Associates (THA). Previously, she was an Account Executive in the Promotional Partnerships Department at Warner Brother Pictures where she identified brands to partner with theatrical releases for co-promotional marketing.  Kim was also an Associate Producer on the “My Black is Beautiful” activation which debuted at the Essence Festival. Kim also loves to sing and even performed with Kirk Franklin at the 2019 BET Awards

Kim is a working entrepreneur and has already enjoyed many successes in her career. New Look is honored to have played a role in her success and know that her future is sure to be even better!

~ Rachel Meiselas
Marketing & Communications Intern

Rachel Meiselas is a senior at Syosset High School in New York. In addition to working with Usher’s New Look Foundation, Rachel is a published author and works for the female football news outlet, Gridiron Queendom. She is also a contributor to the political entertainment and media company, MeidasTouch, whose objective is to encourage democracy and equality.