Kisha in her own words:
“I grew up in Virginia, a gymnast and cheerleader, playing softball and soccer. I knew I was bound to do something special, but I didn’t know what.
When it comes to my career, I’m often called a ‘bad-ass.’ As the Managing Director of Portland's Artists Repertory Theatre, I feel at home on a stage in front of thousands of people. When it comes to spending time outside, however, I wasn’t what you would call an “outdoors woman.”
I didn’t camp. I didn’t spend hours in the woods. Yet, when I moved to Portland, I found a love I didn’t know existed: my love of hiking. Days spent exploring all of the swimming holes and waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest transitioned into my first solo trip to Reykjavнk, Iceland.
I scuba-dived, hiked through Gullfoss, Skуgafoss, Hengifoss, and ﬁingvellir, and I HIKED UP AND THROUGH A GLACIER! Me! All 240 pounds of me.
I became a superhuman on that trip. I’m a fat, Black woman with Lupus who hikes glaciers, mutherf*ckers! My outdoor exploration unlocked something in me. After that, I was unstoppable!
When I returned home, I wanted to hike all the time. I bought sturdy hiking shoes. I started reading outdoor magazines, watching Eco-Challenge and going into every outdoor store. I was inspired…but I never saw anyone that looked like me.
I didn’t let that stop me. I’ve been moving since, continuing to have solo journeys and proving to myself time after time that just because I look the way I do, doesn’t mean I’m not strong and powerful - nor does it mean that these adventures are not for me!”
“I’m undertaking my biggest challenge yet. I am hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail, from the Continental Divide to the Pacific Ocean. I am hiking to change the narrative. It matters to me to share my journey because not only did I not think I couldn’t do this as a child, but I never even knew stuff like this existed.
I know my story will have bigger resonance with others. I know I can be the representation I never saw. I want to offer an invitation to a journey of self-discovery and an introduction to a lifelong passion.
And I hope we can do this together. — Kisha Jarrett”
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Listen to Kisha Now!
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Who is Kisha and what she does
The traditional lands of Portland
Moving to Portland 5 years ago
Growing up in a small town in Virginia
Not spending time in the outdoors
Falling in love with hiking
Going on her first solo travel trip to Iceland
Climbing a glacier and feeling empowered
Being diagnosed with lupus
Wanting to do all the things
Heading to Bali in Feb 2020
Being told that she couldn’t do it.
Becoming more aware of her body
The pivotal moments
Taking the first steps into living a life of adventure
Looking different and not seeing herself in the media
Black Girl in the Woods
The dream of thru-hiking the Pacific Northwest Trail
Looking for exploration and a different type of challenge
Deciding not to do a solo thru hike
How the documentary came about
Finding information about Native Land in USA
Native Land App