THE INFAMOUS: Kayce Kirihara Unites Hoops & Style

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Kayce Kirihara was the kind of hooper who wore two totally different sneakers throughout a basketball sport. If she wasn’t sporting two totally different sneakers, she says, she was in all probability rocking bright-colored sneakers that didn’t match her crew uniform.

Kirihara’s type began lengthy earlier than she turned a social media influencer with almost 300,000 followers. It began with the mix-matching sneakers throughout her childhood days on the courts of Seattle and as a university participant on the College of Hawaii at Hilo. Her psychedelic-colored vogue has adopted her all of those years, from purple pants to neon hair. She describes herself as a “tomboy” and her type as “loud,” making Kirihara (@infamouskayce on Instagram) one of the crucial recognizable social media presences throughout all of sports activities. 

“The objective was to play within the WNBA however that didn’t work out clearly,” Kirihara says. “Rising up I didn’t know I may very well be doing this. I didn’t know this was a factor on the time.”

Her introduction to the world {of professional} basketball began freshman yr of highschool, when Kirihara’s mother advised her to get a summer time job. Different college students bagged groceries at a grocery store. Kirihara rebounded for the Seattle Storm as an official ball lady, a job she would proceed all through highschool. She wanted to finance her budding shoe assortment, that, in highschool, grew to over 100 sneakers, she advised The Shadow League. 

After graduating from Hawaii-Hilo with a level in Communications, Kirihara returned to the Storm because the Gear Supervisor and Video Coordinator. There, she oversaw greater than a dozen ball children, whereas organizing crew tools, movies and statistics. 

“That’s how I bought my foot within the door with the WNBA,” she says. “I made all of my connections working with the teaching workers after which as soon as I left the W and did my very own factor, it was as a result of the connections and the relationships I made whereas I used to be working.”

Even because the tools supervisor, Storm gamers observed Kirihara’s artist eye. Years earlier than runway images blew up, Kirihara would assist type and snap photos of Storm gamers, like present eight-year vet Alysha Clark.

In 2016, Kirihara left the Storm to change into the Artistic Manufacturing Supervisor at Nordstrom. Within the meantime, she stored racking up increasingly sneakers, totaling over 200, from Air Power 1s (“I feel everyone wants a strong pair of 1s, no matter coloration your little coronary heart wishes”) to Air Max 95s (“It’s a shoe I grew up loving and other people at all times talked crap about them saying, ‘They seem like sketchers.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t care.’”) 

Her eclectic kicks assortment turned a foundational a part of her success as an influencer. However she additionally had social media savviness which, she brags, dates again to her MySpace days. Even whereas working for the Storm, she served as a social media marketing consultant for skilled athletes. In 2019, after years of constructing a following, she determined to make managing her social media web page a full-time job.

However pigeonholing Kirihara as a “social media influencer” fails to encapsulate her vary of obligations.  

“There isn’t a particular title [for my job],” Kirihaha says. “Clearly you’ll be able to ‘umbrella’ influencer, however there’s a lot that goes into that.” 

Watch when @infamousKAYCE offered @EWeezy_For3eezy together with her one-of-a-kind #WNBAKicks 🙌 pic.twitter.com/qKKD0fojKd— WNBA (@WNBA) July 28, 2019

For instance, throughout 2019 WNBA All-Star Weekend, Kirihaha acted as a WNBA Kicks host, talking with everybody from Elena Delle Donne to Kobe Bryant about their sneakers. This previous March, Kirihaha collaborated with longtime Seattle Seahawk, Marshawn Lynch, and his model, Beastmode, to create a brand new clothes assortment.

When she graduated from school lower than a decade in the past, social media influencers didn’t even exist. Now, Kayce Kirihara is getting paid to repost her sneaker assortment, dye her hair blue, and work together with skilled athletes.

“I’ve simply been blessed,” she says, “that that is one thing I might name my job.”

Benjamin Simon is a contributor to SLAM. Observe him on Twitter @BenjaminSimon05. Extra reporting by Camille Buxeda.
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