About the Episode:
Every person deserves to feel beautiful, and when cancer strips that away, women can begin to lose touch with who they are. That’s why today’s guest, Kim Becker, founded her non-profit, Hello Gorgeous! Her story and compassion has birthed a company to help lift women up out of the depths of their cancer treatments.
Kim Becker is a motivational and inspirational speaker and an award-winning author of two books about beauty, cancer, and the amazing scope of the human spirit. Kim is a dynamic communicator with an incredible story of faith, hope, and service to others, and the Co-Founder of Hello Gorgeous! of HOPE, Inc., a non-profit organization that restores the beauty that cancer steals.
Listen to the podcast here:
Watch the episode here:
- Attitude is everything
- Feeling like a million dollars
- Education on the things we don’t know
- Communicating with people that have cancer
Hey what’s shakin, today is a good day and today we are going all in. I’m Rick Jordan, your host. And we’re going to go into some amazing things today about giving back, and this individual that I have today, as my guest, is all about that. You’re gonna want to share this out with three people. So share this out with at least three people today and keep the show going. That way we can impact more people. We’re above 250 episodes now, which is freaking amazing, going three and a half years. Most podcast pods fade after seven episodes, and we’re just gonna keep crushing it. Thank you everybody all over the world and 50 countries for listening. That’s my little bit today because I’m feeling grateful, and I think my guest is grateful to Kim Becker. Welcome to the show.
Thanks, Rick, for having me. I’m excited to be here. Very cool.
So you are the co-founder of Hello Gorgeous of Hope Incorporated, right, which is a nonprofit that restores beauty that cancer steals, right? Tell me a little bit about that. I mean, I’ve done my research, but it’s never as good as I’m sure it’s what you could say.
So you know, one of the things that we have found over we’ve been in existence for 16 years is that when a woman is diagnosed with cancer, it’s either the cancer itself, or the treatment that steals everything that makes her feel like a woman, everything concealer eyelashes, it can steal her eyebrows, it steals her nose hairs. If it’s breast cancer, it can steal her breasts, what we have found is we found a way to be able to replace many of those things, and I always say, I don’t promise that you’re going to look like Miss America, when I get done with you, I just want you to look normal. Because if you look normal, and you feel normal, even during a time where it’s abnormal, you will participate in your everyday life, whatever that looks like, whether you’re a wife, whether you’re a mom, whether you’re a fortune, 50, CEO, whatever that looks like, I want to make sure that you don’t miss out on life, even though you’re going through that trying time.
That’s so awesome. Do you have a personal story that ties to this?
I didn’t. I do now. So the story is that I was a hairdresser and my dream was always to open a salon, and when we started the salon, my late husband said I have the perfect name for the salon, we should call it Hello Gorgeous. I said that’s the stupidest name I’ve ever heard, and he said, No, no, it’d be really great. Because every time he answers the phone, you get to say Hello gorgeous and make people smile. I said no, it’s stupid. We’re not doing it. So we owned a salon for 10 years, we called it shampoo, which meant Heron French, and I had this, you know, dream of these, you know, just this very upscale salon. That’s what we created. So we had 17 stylists and massage therapists and receptionists, and it was awesome. But as good as that salon was, there was always something that was missing inside of me, I couldn’t tell you what it was, but there was just something that was missing, and I even loved, like the three o’clock in the afternoon buzz, you know, all the chairs were filled. And there was just an energy that was in there.
That was amazing. But there was just something that was missing. We had been on this line about 10 years, and Mike and I were in the car having a conversation about, you know, I just know that there’s something more we should be doing. I know there’s something more out there. I don’t know what it is. But I know there’s something more and all of a sudden that fell on my heart and I said I know what we need to do, we need to create a mobile day spa that will cater to cancer patients, this beautiful elegant Palace on wheels that will just show up a few feet from her door and make her feel like a queen for a day during a time where she doesn’t feel very special. Well, any of your listeners that are business owners, you know, people have a misconceived notion about a business owner, they think that you grab all this cash and you throw it in your pocket. And you know, live this very luxurious lifestyle. And that can’t be further from the truth. You know, just about the time we’d get a little ahead, the water heater would go out or the furnace would stop working.
So I’m pitching this idea to Mike about this Mobile Bay spa, and he’s willing to do anything to get out of the salon after 10 years at that point in time. Then I looked at him and I said, You know what, we’re gonna do this for free, and I watched all the color run out of his face. He said, How are we going to do this? I said, I don’t know. I just know this is what we’re supposed to do. So we continued our drive, and I kept you know, putting this dream out to him. Our son was three years old at the time and we’d stopped at McDonald’s play area. He woke it up from his nap, and again 10 years had passed between the time that he wanted to name the salon to this moment. And as we’re walking into this play area, I grabbed a hold of Mike’s arm and I said you know what Mike? This is supposed to be called Hello Gorgeous. So the salon was never meant to be called Hello Gorgeous. This is supposed to be called Hello Gorgeous because that’s how these women deserve to be greeted.
So we were impacted. I can’t even tell you and he didn’t really want anything to do with it because he couldn’t see how it happened. But I will tell you that it became our life’s mission, and the transformations that we watched in these women. We’re just absolutely incredible. I got we had two mobile day spas at one point in time we we bought one in 2010 We were gifted My dream was to $250,000 vehicle we had you know with ceramic tile flooring, granite countertops and for flat screen TVs, and it was absolutely beautiful. We had a local manufacturer Monaco, Coach donate that to us. And 2017 was a really rough year, we lost that Mobile Bay spot to a fire in April. And then I lost my husband to septic shock two in June of that year. And so you just do all the things that you have to do. And our son was getting ready to get into high school. And so I had a two prong approach, it was to make sure that I kept the organization up and running after I lost my partner, my husband and my best friend, and to make sure that our son had a stellar high school career. That’s what I needed to do. Everything’s trickling along, and in 2019, I was diagnosed with cancer.
So your world just kind of stops, and here it was 15 years, I’m helping all of these women that had heard those words themselves. Then the tables got turned. I was in the grocery store, in the frozen food aisle, when the doctor called me and said, you have cancer, and so your perspective completely changes, you change the way you look at things. Now all of a sudden, I’m faced with, I gotta tell my child that his only living parent now has cancer. So it’s just been a very interesting journey. I’ve learned to not ask why as much as what I am supposed to learn from this, and so because of the fact that I now have heard those words, you have cancer, I do a better job at my job. I understand what it’s like to walk that path.
Wow, that’s incredible. What type of cancer?
So weird story, it’s actually a, it was found in my colon, but it’s not considered Colon Cancer. I had a colonoscopy at 50. So I’m a huge proponent for getting a colonoscopy when you’re supposed to Mike died when I was 50. There were other things on my mind and my health. And so the insurance company came out and did you know, a screening, and one of the things that they did was kind of like the cola garden test, and I was like, oh, yeah, you know, I’m 50 years old, I’m not on any medications, I don’t have high blood pressure, I’ll take all the tests you want me to take because I’m fine. And I took the cologuard test. They called and said something so I went and did a colonoscopy and they found the tumor, and so mine was really rare. On the outside of the colon, then the tumor grew, and then poked inside as opposed to it growing inside the colon and then poking out. So I was really lucky. So fun stories against any of your listeners, you know what life is your journey, and you get to fight it any way you want to.
So I had made a decision that if I was going to have to have surgery, I was doing it my way. So you know the waiting room preoperatively. Suppose I have two people and then I have 15. And I told both the doctor and the anesthesiologist, I said this is what I want. I said I’m not. If I’m doing this, I’m doing it my way. I said you guys are allowed to put me out. I said, but this is what I want. I want the entire operating room to be singing Don’t Stop Believin’. I said and when you guys are all in full verse and don’t stop believing, then you can put me under. So they were like, really and I said I’m not joking. This is exactly what I want. So we’re wheeling me down into the operating room that night. One of my very good friends was there and she had Spotify playing and what was playing was Don’t Stop Believin’. So I get into the operating room and the anesthesiologist goes, Look , you just heard, don’t stop believing. I’ll play another journey song right now. But I’m not playing that one. And I’m like, okay, that’s fine. But you know, the rules.
So they got me all prepped and stuff, and honest to God, Rick, they didn’t stop believing the entire operating room was singing, and that’s the last thing I remember before I got put out. The next thing I know, I woke up and I was in recovery. I thought you know what a lesson you know, so many people. You don’t take charge, right? Too many. I think too many people spend life being passive. Yeah. And I thought I’m not doing it. If I have to go under, God forbid I didn’t wake. The last thing I wanted to hear was my doctors and nurses singing Don’t Stop Believin’ . But I also thought about who can listen to that song and not be in a good mood. They were cutting me open. I wanted everybody in a good mood that day.
That’s incredible. Oh my gosh, were they singing that when they came out when you came back to?
Yeah, no, that was in a dark room in recovery, and he got sick from the anesthesia. So that would have been good, too.
That’s a crazy story. You know, my grandfather passed from colon cancer, the traditional kind, he was 73 years old, and I understand it can be a hereditary thing, too. So that’s, that’s two generations behind me. So I mean, I’m still, you know, about 10 years away from when they have to start screening every year or something like that, you know, but I’m sure things have advanced but yours was on the outside. Right. But I mean, it’s even though it was an easier cancer. It’s probably not easy to just hear that kind of news in the first place.
That’s right, well and to go so my husband was sick for a long time. He was diagnosed with a liver disease three years after we got married. So there were a lot of hospital stays and emergency room visits, and I literally spent 20 years of our marriage advocating for him, and when he died, that was my fear. I’m like, here it is, I’ve spent all this time caring for him. If something happens to me, who’s going to be there to care for me? So luckily, I knew all the right questions to ask, actually, the doctors when I was, you know, advocating for him, people would say, Are you a nurse? I’m like, No, I’m a hairdresser. And they’re like, well, you’re asking, and I said, well, because when you live, eat and breathe this for 20 years, you can’t not have it. So, you know, it’s the same thing. There’s so many different thoughts that go through your mind after you hear those words, and, you know, I have a love-hate relationship with Google. Because I, you know, the first thing I did was go to Google, I had myself dying. In May, when I was reading, you know, I had some lymph node involvement. I was stage four, I started a will, I took my sister out to lunch shoulder, I went to my funeral. I mean, it was all the things, and it didn’t have anything to do with me because it was a different type of cancer.
I think the hardest thing now is that you get far away from the surgery, the scar heals all those things. I never want to forget that I’m a cancer survivor. I never want to take a day for granted, and I’ll tell you what, it’s very apparent to me. In the beginning, I had to go to the doctor every three months, but that stretched out to four, so I still go to the oncologist every six months, and the pit and the sick feeling that I get in my stomach every time you walk into that place. makes me remember, I know, even though there’s no evidence of disease, you know, there’s obviously always a chance that it will come back. So I don’t I am learning to live for today. Right? Not that I’m gonna go skydiving or anything like that. But I don’t worry so much about things that are going to happen tomorrow, because nobody’s guaranteed tomorrow. All I want to do is just live my best day today. Because then if it’s my last day, I know I did a really good job at it. But so many of us put things off because tomorrow will be here. We take tomorrow for granted. You know what you hear the words you have cancer, you don’t take tomorrow for granted anymore?
Right on the only day we’re ever guaranteed is today. Not tomorrow, the next week, the year after the only day, wherever guaranteed is today. What are you going to do?
What do you do? That’s right? Well, that’s why I’m here. Right? One of the reasons that I’m here is to be able to share my story. So that today, I hope that I made an impact in the lives of your listeners, that somebody’s put up a colonoscopy, they’ll go get it done. Right, somebody else is complaining and moaning about something that’s a little. But really, I love what you said today’s a good day when you first thing you said when you got on there, today’s the day and you’re feeling grateful. You know what Tony Robbins says you can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. I choose to be grateful, and you know, it’s a little thing. I’ll tell you what, after Mike died, you know, it was hard because our son was probably 14 months old. When he joined me in the business, we literally spent everyday together, our desks were across from one another. You know, we woke up in the morning, we went to bed together, we worked with each other all those things, and all of a sudden that person is gone.
So there were days, like there were days that I literally had to be grateful that the grass was growing. That’s all I had. I didn’t at that point in time, but I had to find something to be grateful for. You know, I remember sitting in the car one day with my son in tears, and I said, You know what, in all the times, the water never got shut off, we have a roof over our head, the car still running, you know, the biggest thing was to keep the child alive. You know, I was the one that I was the breadwinner in the family I because of being a hairdresser. We chose for Mike to stay home. And so I had to learn now how to have this relationship with my son. But you know, it’s all of those things, advocating and gearing him and all through high school, which is not an easy, I’m grateful my child was, you know, very easy. But I think that that’s we look too much on what we don’t have, as opposed to what we do have. And even though people may not be where they want to be. If you’re grateful for where you are right now, it gets you a lot closer to where you want to be. Because I think sometimes you’ve got to be happy in this moment before you can be happy in the next moment.
Yeah, right on. I’ve heard it’s interesting. You say that. I don’t remember who you quoted, but it was how gratefulness and fearfulness cannot exist. They can’t coexist, and here’s another interesting perspective. I’ve had to be around fear. It’s a you know, fear is never something that you can be. Well, let me say this the right way. Fear is only something you can be afraid of right now, in the present. It only has to do with something that’s happening to you right here. Now, fear cannot be something that has already passed. Because it’s done. It’s over. And fear cannot be something that’s in the future because you don’t even know if that is going to happen. So fear can only be felt in something that’s happening to you right now. So something that you know of, you know, like you get the call from cancer, right. Feel the fear in that moment. He’ll but then you can immediately shift that, you know, with some with some mental discipline, you know, to say, What am I grateful for? I love that you took your sister out and said it because it’s like, hey, if I’ve only got today, if I’ve only got right now, which it may be that way, you know, I may have Googled up too many things that’s very possible. But if I only had today, right now, what would I do? Because the truth is that you only know that you really have today, when you only know you really have today, what are you going to do?
Again, I think that you’re right, so many. Now I’m all about listening. I have posted notes and goals and achievements. I’ve got them all over my office, and I’m all about setting goals. I’m all about taking actions towards those goals. But every single day, you can do something right. Again, Anthony Robbins is the one that said you can’t be grateful and fearful at the same time. He also talks about two millimeter shifts. You know, again, people think that you have to do these huge grandiose things. Tony Robbins. Yes, yes. So no people think that Well, you call him I wish I did. No, but I know. But I walked on fire with him. So there’s that. That was cool. Yeah. And so I think that, you know, he talks about two millimeter shifts. Yeah, you know, because you only have today, there’s so many people that think you’ve got to do these great, big, grandiose things that are going to make, it’s not, sometimes they think it’s just doing the simplest thing, and either doing it over and over and over again. Or you make a decision. It’s a small decision, and then you just make another decision. But if you are in the moment, right now, it’s easier for you to make those decisions, and those two millimeter chips.
That’s the way it’s got to be, because I talk about it in a similar way. But I’ve heard Tony talk about that before too, and I’ve seen him live. But I talked about him and you only ever really know your next step. That’s something to focus on. But this has to do with fear, you know, because if you can look at your next step, fear can also go away, because you can be grateful that you even have that next step that you know what that stuff is. And almost all the time, you always know that the next step is not the second, not the third and the fourth, not the 87th step. But you typically always know what that next step is to take. And if you focus on that, just move into that. You know what, when you do that, you’re gonna figure out what the step is after that.
That’s right. Well, and you know, well, and when my husband died, you know, I equated it to eating an elephant, right, and what they say a lot of times is how do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. And when I talk to widows now that are newly widowed, I just say, you know, they’re like, how am I going to get through this, and I said, you just take a step. Then you take another step, and then you take another step. Sometimes those minutes and hours and days are long in the beginning, I remember I used to have a big calendar in my dining room, and as I went up, I always crossed the days off just to kind of keep track of where things were, and there would be times where I would go to that calendar two and three times a day, like it’s the same day. Like it just felt like the day should go faster. But all I could do was just keep my head down and put blinders on. Because when you started to look out like what you said to the 86, or the 87 stuff, it got so overwhelming. I literally would just say I can’t do this.
So I would tuck myself back into it and say yes, you can. What can you do right now, you may not be able to do everything right now. But what can you do right now? That’s what I did was I did that one thing. I tell my women that they battle cancer, it’s the same thing. What you have to understand is, you know, you’ll be in treatment, maybe six, nine months, 12 months, something like that. It’s not forever. And what you have to do is just focus on what you can do right now. To me attitude is everything. Right? If you go into it like this it’s going to suck and it’s going to be awful, and I’m not going to make it well, your experience is going to be awful. So if you go into this, like, okay, look, I mean, I can’t tell you the amazing women that I get to meet that go into their chemotherapies, figuring out how they can inspire the other women that are they’re going through the same thing there are, that’s amazing to me, that’s amazing to me. But when you look at that, and when you focus on others, that time goes by so much faster, and then you’re not looking so inward. But when you do look inward, that you’re grateful that you have the perspective that you do that you can share that with others, I really think our world would be a much better place if we spent more time being grateful and we’d be focused on others other than ourselves.
Right on, Kim, I appreciate you sharing your story. You know, obviously you’ve got a lot of passion behind this and not even the level of passion that you started with because of your own personal connection now and your cancer scenario that you had to. I’m curious because can you explain to everybody how specifically, like some examples that you help cancer survivors start to gain their beauty back? I mean, is it hair, is it physical, altercations, whatever it is to help them gain their confidence back in their beauty.
So you know, what we’ve figured out is you don’t know what you don’t know. There are many women that will go into a doctor’s office and they will ask them, hey, what tools do you have to help me counteract the effects that are happening for my cancer treatment and more times than not, the doctors will say to me, You know what, that’s not my job. My job is to get rid of your cancer, so I’m not worried about any of that stuff. You know what my job is. My job is to make sure that you look really good while you’re going through this. So it’s a lot of instruction. It is a, you know, we’ve done a makeover once and I’ll never forget, she came in and she had a wig on and her wig looked really odd. And I couldn’t figure out why, and what I realized was there’s a couple of little tabs that sit here in front of the ear, she had them tucked back behind your ears.
So when they were tucked back, you saw this strip of bald scalp right here. But she didn’t know any better. She didn’t, you know, didn’t know what else to do. So what I want to be able to do is to empower and educate women by creating an experience for them, so that when they walk away from this, they’re like, I can do it. So one of the ways that we do that is we actually do in person makeovers, and we were really good prior to COVID, and that was that a woman would be nominated by family or friends. We show up unannounced with candy and flowers and roll out a red carpet and greet her with a great big Hello Gorgeous. Then she’d get a full day of beautiful manicure pedicure facials, she needed a wig, we provided one, she was ready for a cut in color, we did that. Then we worked with a Clothier to get her a new outfit, and we planned a big reveal party for her afterwards. What I found is that, you know, when women are diagnosed with cancer, people don’t know what to say. So they say nothing and stay away, and what these women need more than anything is they need those people around her to support her and get her through this.
So the reveal party became the most important part. Once she looked and felt like a million dollars, we gathered all of her friends, family and friends around so that they could see her new look. When they saw that she looked like her normal self, they were less fearful, and so then they I think people are just they don’t know, they’re afraid they’re gonna say something stupid, and so this way, when she looked normal then they felt like the conversation could be better, they could be there to support her. So that was going great. We had 33 Salon affiliates in 15 states that were doing these makeovers every month, and then COVID hit and everything shut down. So what I realized was in the middle of a pandemic, even though we were in the middle of a pandemic, there were still women hearing the words you have cancer. So we needed to figure out a way to continue to serve.
So we switched and we went to a virtual makeover. So then it was instead of her doing it in person, we created a red box that was sent to her house. I created a video that showed her how to use every single thing in the box, which showed her how her eyebrows were on. It showed her how to make her look like she had eyelashes. It showed her how to counteract the effects of steroids. So she was still able to do everything that she needed, and then if she needed a week, we even sent her a wig. We had wig tutorials on how to do that as well. So I think it’s just really about education. It truly is. And we’re all in that. I don’t know what I don’t know, and so if somebody can show me what I don’t know, and then I can recreate that it makes all the difference in the world. I think the biggest piece is we gave her all the product that she needed to be able to do it. So she wasn’t scrounging around in her house to look for mascara and eyeliner. She had everything she needed to reproduce that look today, and everyday going forward for probably the next three to six months.
Wow. That’s amazing. What’s a typical age of clients that you work with?
You know, our youngest has been four. We did a makeover on a four year old and the oldest was at six. We had one little girl. The particular four year old was in Iowa, and all she wanted for Christmas was hair. So we worked with a partner and they’re called children with hair loss, and they do wigs for children, and we got her hair that year for Christmas.
So that’s amazing. Do you have photos of her on your website?
You know, I don’t know if we’ve got photos of her. We have another little girl that we have photos of. She was six, and her name was Phoenix, and her reveal was so fun. We did a little makeover on her and they went to the Disney store and bought all their clothes and the Chick fil A cow came and her reveal was we had a limo competent Kirner family and in town, the MS. Mickey’s Christmas, something or other was on stage at one of our local performing arts centers. And so the limo actually took her and her family there for her reveal. I do have some before and after pictures of her.
That’s incredible, and that’s it. Hellogorgeous.org Right?
Correct. Yep. Yeah,
Kim, the work that you’re doing is just absolutely amazing. In just being able to help people come back into life. Really, you know, I love how you call it the reveal as well because it is the makeover is that the first time that they see themselves as well.
They show themselves at the makeover you know, because they look in the mirror to see an outfit and stuff. But you know what’s really cool. You watch them come alive. I always say that there’s a light switch on inside of these women, and it’s turned off, and when we get there, we turn the switch on. And all of a sudden, like this inner light. It just, it comes alive. It’s incredible. It’s incredible to watch.
My goodness Kim. Your heart is just the biggest that I’ve ever seen you so much.
Thank you for continuing to do the best job in the whole world. I really do have the best job in the world.
No doubt. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep going in everyone. Hello gorgeous.org That’s where you can support Kim and what she’s doing. It’s just incredible. Yeah, I’m sure people can donate there too, right?
We can. Yep, there’s a donate button. There’s free resources. The virtual makeovers if you’ve got a loved one battling cancer, you can purchase a makeover for them. But yes, I can’t help the women that don’t know I exist. So anybody that you know, please direct them to our site so we can support them anyway we can.
Yep, everyone that you heard of Kim, share this episode out, especially because you’ll get to hear a lot of Kim’s heart just send it to everybody. You know, I normally ask for three people but send it to everybody. You know, this is incredible for people to feel like they’ve regained life again and have that light switch back on. Kim, you’re incredible. Hellogorgeous.org. Thank you for coming on today.
Thank you, Rick. Thank you for having me.