Hi! I’m a consultant+visual artist living in sunny Tempe with my smokeshow Husband and our two pups. We run a business together, Kleva Built, and are enjoying newly married life (two and a half years is still new, right?)
I take photos and I paint. My expression through art started as a child, but was put on the shelf for most of my teens and twenties. I pulled out my paint and brushes after a therapy session awhile ago and never put them back. Since then, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to share my work locally and across the country. I never set out to make this my main hat I wear, but God had other plans.
A Phoenix native, I was born to a Vietnamese mother who immigrated to the US in the 70s, and an American father born in Delaware, Ohio. As a child I was fascinated with people: meeting them, talking with them, knowing more about them. I would keep a tally in my head of how many new people I talked to that day (this actually is a habit that stays with me to this day). I would be remiss if I did not include that I became a black belt in hard form kung fu at 10, classically trained pianist by 15, a leader in multiple groups and organizations throughout high school, Bible Study leader at 16, cheer captain at 17, and West Point candidate by 18, a reality tv reel filmed and pitched at 22, and a pretty little picture of a life from the outside looking in.
...All of these "achievements" did not keep me from the culmination of the emotional and physical hardship growing up overspilling & taking its form in my 20s. Without going into details here, I can say that I had to wander quite a few dark valleys before I was pulled up to see the light of day, by His grace. It is through these challenges (to put it lightly), that I was able to TRULY know God and His grace and healing. I am still in this process now, and I understand this sanctification will last until the end, so I'm in no rush.
It is also through these challenges that I grew into the Ciara that is writing this today: confident in vulnerability, healed and still healing, and able to connect with other women (and men) all over the world through my blog. Thanks internet.
There was a time about 3 years ago (2013) when all my social media accounts started growing at a rate I couldn't believe. I started seeing over 1K new followers a day on my Facebook fan page, started selling more posters, created a "sexy" website that had over 39K subscribers. I was able to leave my full time job and work only from home. After about a year, however, I gained over 300K Instagram followers that cared primarily about my body. That was about it. I had a bunch of people that "supported" me, but only if it was of sexier pics that floated their boat. This left me realizing, after I reached the peak of that "fame", that I was almost as lonely as when I set out in 2010.
Over the past three years, my Husband and I have been actively pushing against the "empire" that was built purely around my sex appeal as that was never my intention. We have been actively fighting to remove images from the internet that were continuing to be published and shared out of my "control" and continue to keep our minds focused on the present and not on the past.
I've been a pretty easy target for quite some time. I believe it comes with the territory (having a more public social media presence), but lately, God has redeemed all these things that were once an overall cause of harm and pain in my life and has brought my website & all of my social media into a pretty clear example of the way God wants to redeem ALL things. I am not what people label me/have labeled me: I am not a fitness model, I am not a porn star, I am not even a role model. I am a Believer. A Precious Child of God. That is my identity. And that's great.
If you are someone that still has a difficult time seeing me as "new" because of the public parts of my past, I totally get it. It's difficult to believe that God can change course for us how He does, but He did. Be excited, because if He can do it for me, He can do it for you.
These days, I wear many hats. The ones of which you can see more here on this page are business & branding consultant, photographer, writer, and artist. Every day looks different than the one before, the wide variety of people I get to partner with is incredible, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Please reach out if you have any questions. Otherwise, click around and make yourself comfortable.
-Redding, Conneticut; Marketingland; interview
-Phoenix, AZ; Voyage Phoenix Magazine; artist spotlight
-Phoenix, AZ; Voyage Phoenix Magazine; featured artist
-Tempe, AZ; Redemption Church Tempe Good Friday service; invited artist
-Tempe, AZ; Redemption Church Tempe Easter service; invited artist
-Phoenix, AZ; RAW exhibition; invited artist
-Scottsdale, AZ; works on paper; commissioned artist
-Chicago, IL; thelueckgroup.com, web build and aesthetic
-Tempe, AZ; erinthedesertdweller, branding and web build
-Tempe, AZ; desertlush.com, branding, business consulting, and web build
-Arcadia, AZ; Shemer Art Center; photographer