Pop-In Power Girls: Olivia Kim Will Run Your Town

Yeah, Girl. The Nike Women Pop-In@Nordstrom is all about beholding the ultimate awesomeness of the female species. In this series we’re talking to a posse of women who do their best every day to exude power—whether that means stealthily scoring a soccer goal, cracking some killer code, evoking new ideas in art or just being there for someone who really needs them. And maybe all of the above.

Why not just start with Olivia? Would it surprise you to know that our director of special projects steps out of platform oxfords and into trainers on the regular? When I chatted with her she was just home from a trip that included Milan and other European stops, and about to jump off to Asia. Our girl pretty much defines “on the go,” but regardless of her crazy schedule, she makes fun, fitness and friendship happen.

The Thread: What’s your favorite way to work out?
Olivia Kim: It really depends on what city I’m in. When I’m in New York I love Barry’s Bootcamp and SLT, and when I’m in Seattle I love going to Inspire Pilates or Yogalife. But whenever I travel, no matter where I go, I love to go out and hit the streets—I try to go running in every city I visit.

Favorite way to be active when you’re with a group of friends:
We’re dorks. We always go surfing, swimming and kayaking, but we love a beach relay too. Like, run down to that buoy and back, tag the next person who has to logroll down the hill and then tag the next one for a cartwheel into the water.

Favorite way to be active when you’re alone:
Yoga, because you’re so focused.

Best soundtrack for adventurous activities:
A mix of ’90s hip-hop and current Euro club music, which is really just a remix of ’90s hip-hop.

Do you refer to yourself as a girl, woman, lady or female?
Girl! When I think of a woman, I just think of the women’s room; when I think of a lady, I picture Audrey Hepburn. But when I think of girls, I think of the cool girls in the ’90s, like Chloë Sevigny meets Gwen Stefani, and Kim Gordon and her whole X-Girl thing.

Olivia in New York City

What do the words “girl power” mean to you?
Strength in numbers. That idea that you’ve got all these smart, beautiful sisters who are going to make an impact on the world, and they’ve got your back too. They’re there for you, and together you can do anything.

Tell us about the last time you witnessed radical kindness.
Actually today I went to a luncheon for Rainier Scholars, a group that opens doors and creates possibilities for kids to make their dreams come true. One of the girls who spoke was in the 8th grade, and she spoke about the need to study something that would be relevant for her times. Because of Rainier Scholars, she’s going to an aviation high school here in Seattle and then she’s going off to study technology and robotics. It was so powerful, I cried through the whole thing.

What motivates you to be successful, whatever success means for you right now?
I have a unique urge to share information and to share what I see—not only in fashion but also in art, culture, food, everything. I love that in my job I have an audience who is curious about what I’m curious about.

Who inspires you to challenge yourself and be the best you can be?
All my beautiful and smart girlfriends, my sister Grace, and my mom. She has always believed in me 500 percent and that’s so powerful. I want to give that support to all the girls in my life.

Olivia in Milan

We all have that favorite quote or those words of wisdom that we pull out when we need them. What’s yours?
I have so many! I love the one by Susan Sontag: “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” And she also said, “I want to be what I admire.” But the girl who spoke at the Rainier Scholars event passed on something that her mentor told her, which is that “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” I just think that’s so great. If you don’t try, you’ll never get it.

Follow Olivia Kim on Instagram | Olivia Kim on Tumblr

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—Laura Cassidy