Last month we visited incredible artist and activist, Kim Hoss, in her studio in Stuttgart. And trust me she had some gems on that matter to share with us. Kim's not just an artist; she's a rebel with a cause! From launching her own podcast to shining a spotlight on society's crucial topics, Kim's journey revolves around challenging societal norms head-on and making a difference through her significant initiatives. So, settle in for a chat where serious matters get a makeover with Kim's smile.
THE RICE SOCIETY Let's start with you and your journey, you are doing so many amazing and important things, can you tell how you got involved into all of that?
KIM HOSS I never wanted to let anyone restrict me in terms of my career choice. While I was studying design I founded my own band, on the weekends I was dancing and singing on stages while making some money dressed up as a mascot (turning into various animals; cow, monkey, bear, lion, and bunny). Strict routines have always quickly bored me, and I could never imagine doing the same thing for a whole week. Today I just do what I love, I became a one-woman-show: graphic design, illustration, video and podcast production, photography, singing, acting. I always thought that I have to focus on ONE thing and do it like other people. Turns out I don’t have to.
TRS Can you share 3 main facts about you or your personality?
KH 1. I live and work very intuitively – other people often think that it’s chaotic or lazy, but I noticed that I can be the happiest and most creative this way. I use my productive phases and rest in unproductive ones. Having to treasure and tend to my own batteries was a very important realization throughout the past 10 years.
2. I’m not interested in how you liked today’s weather or what your salad for lunch tasted like – I’m interested in who you are and what you were feeling and thinking while waiting in line at the salad bar.
3. I can quickly read people and look behind their façade. That has scared off many before, but sadly I can’t change it :D
TRS Could you share a personal moment or experience that played a role in your own journey towards self-love and acceptance?
KH When I turned 30 I started questioning my consumption and decisions as a woman: Why, for example, do I shave my legs every day? Why do I spend money on cosmetics? What’s even inside these cosmetics? Who am I doing all this for? Why have I always been dissatisfied with myself and my looks? I didn’t want to waste my time looking eternally young and sexy, I rather wanted to invest my money in myself and my dreams. What is sexy, after all, and who dictates what is considered sexy? This journey, away from societal expectations, away from the “male gaze”, was never easy because there were all these limiting beliefs I virtually had to bomb out of my system, beliefs that were restraining me! At 34, in the middle of my healing process, I also learned that I am neurodivergent and suddenly everything in my life made so much more sense! Since then, I can walk the earth with much more ease and a newly found self-confidence.
TRS What are the main messages / themes you aim to convey through podcast "Herz and Sack"?
KH With the podcast Herz und Sack we opened up a safe space, in which we say out loud what concerns and pisses us off as women in their late 30s. We take listeners along on our dating stories, share our mental struggles and experiences in a patriarchal society, we grow and fail, we listen to the experience of others and try to demonstrate that it’s always good to talk about your problems with each other. We’re so f-ing amazing and miraculous, but we often don’t even remember it, because for so many years we’ve been talked into believing that we’re too much, too loud, too awkward, too wild, too liberated, too hairy, too hysterical, too emotional.
TRS How close you are with your community and what feedback or outcomes you get from them?
KH Collective closeness – even if it only exists digitally – can yield so many beautiful things! We inspire and learn from each other, we see and understand each other. Reading that my music has helped someone is still the best compliment I could ever wish for. I’m always really touched whenever people message me and tell me that they felt seen and that I inspired them to get to know themselves better and stand up for themselves again. We’re not alone!
TRS What advice would you give individuals that want to pursue unconventional paths, but are afraid, especially in the face of societal expectations?
KH Living unconventionally always means breaking out of your comfort zone. A lot of the time, that can feel pretty uncomfortable, especially because you’re disappointing, scaring, or confusing others! It will be uncomfortable again and again, but that’s the only way for growth to take place. You can decide to please everyone around you and fit into a system that rejects individuality and discriminates against the unconventional. But you can also decide to find yourself and be true to yourself, no matter what other people may think. I’ve been in so many situations where I asked myself, “Should I really do/say that now? What will they think?” And each time I did/said it, it felt good because I stayed true to myself. You’ll always get rewarded for that.
TRS Can you share the story of creating a Sirens Collective?
KH At some point in your life as a woman, you accept that you’re constantly considered an object, sexualized, not taken seriously and maybe even regularly harassed, or assaulted. Fighting back is hardly worth it, our stories are often not believed anyway. Like many other things, I also didn’t want to just keep accepting that anymore. I wanted to know: How many unreported cases of sexual violence against us – verbal, digital, domestic, emotional – are there and how do we bring light into the darkness? Lise van Wersch and I founded THE SIRENS COLLECTIVE in 2022 – a place where we collect and archive experiences to make clear how big the problem is. In the online archive www.thesirenscollective.com we show everything; the reported, but especially the unreported assaults.
We explore places that hurt to tell, hurt to listen, and hurt to change, but also those that must change. We are loud.
We are Sirens.
In our Podcast THE SIRENS COLLECTIVE (in German) we invite anyone affected by sexualized violence, and offer them a space to share their experience and to show others that they’re not alone.
TRS The Sirens Collective is such a fascinating and impactful initiative. But what other actions do you think people can take to raise awareness about the sexual harassments?
KH Speak up! Talk about the things you notice! On the street, at the bar, on the train, at home, at the club, everywhere! We’re allowed to always speak up and say out loud if something doesn’t feel good. We have a voice, and we’re allowed to use it. If we don’t say anything, others won’t know what we’re experiencing. Talk to your kids about body language, feelings, and consent!
TRS There are so many projects you are involved in, but I am still wondering if there are more project coming?
KH I’m currently working on two projects, a new podcast with kids and a little capsule collection with a fashion label – both will spark Schöne Gefühle (nice feelings) at the end of the year! I also got to play a little role in a series about sexuality and love, which will come out in the spring of 2024. I’m open and curious to see what the universe has in store for me next!
Ira, posted in Fabruary, 2024