Style Sense with Kate Michael

A woman of many hats—one of which, technically a crown—Kate Michael is a regular entrepreneurial, politically-inclined beauty queen. Working as a research assistant for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Georgia, Michael moved to DC for a job on Capitol Hill. As one motivation led her to the next, Michael’s career expanded. Originally a website intended to document her journey as Miss District of Columbia, Michael explains how she came to develop K Street Kate—an online magazine that features all notable happenings in DC.

Q: When and why did you move to DC?

A: I came to DC in 2004 to work on Capitol Hill.

Q: You were awarded Miss District of Columbia in 2006. What motivated you to compete?

A: As a Hill staffer, I was surrounded by very impressive people with passionate ideas—and most of them had graduate degrees. I thought that I should pursue one as well, to stay competitive. But financing higher education is expensive! The Miss America Scholarship Program helped me to learn more about myself, serve my city and pay for some of those grad school loans! And to be honest, one of the best things that came out of the entire experience was the opportunity to learn more about DC as a place to live, not just work—and certainly not just politics.

Q:  What prompted you to develop your own online magazine? What topics does it focus on and what clientele does it cater to?

A: At first, the site was a place for me to share my journey as Miss District of Columbia, an online diary of the year so to speak, featuring society parties, local openings and other news of interest. But at that time, there was a lack of lifestyle news availability specific to DC. So while I considered a halt to posting, the audience I had attracted was begging me to continue! In the almost six years since we’ve been publishing online, we’ve honed our hyperlocal content to include everything you’d expect from a lifestyle (aka “glossy”) magazine—food, fashion, events, local notables. We’re truly Livin’ La Vida Local! 

Q: Is fashion a big component in your life?

A: Fashion is huge in my life, [exclaims Michael, with added emphasis on ‘huge’] particularly because in addition to running K Street Kate I am a fashion (runway) model.  

Q: When did you develop your interest in fashion?

A: Working with some of the top names in fashion for the last 6 years or so, I’ve really learned about the industry—and not just the beautiful clothes but also the business behind the brands. I’d say I always loved shopping and showing my personal style, but it was this up close and personal contact that gave me a love for labels.

Q: Who are some of you favorite fashion icons—dead or alive?

A: No surprise, my ultimate icon is Audrey Hepburn, in fashion and life. I’m in awe of her style, her career, and her philanthropic pursuits throughout life. Currently, I like to follow the wardrobe choices of Blake Lively, Rose Byrne and oh so many others. My fashion favorites change all the time—kind of like my own personal style. My “signature” is to change it up! 

Q: What are some of your favorite clothing stores in the Washington DC metro area?

A: There are so many! I find great dresses for events and appearances at Saks, Cusp, Intermix, Urban Chic, Wink and so many other boutiques. And a lot of incredibly talented local designers offer to create custom pieces for me as well. K Street Kate also has partnered with Style Owner to curate our own online store of our favorite fashions called DC Style File which I shop from all the time!

Q: You’ve competed and won in pageants, appeared on the pages of Elle magazine and been awarded Verizon 2006-2007 Pollin Award for your service and dedication to the Washington DC community. What causes and interests motivate your community work?

A: While I am happy to devote a lot of time, attention and energy to a variety of worthy causes, I think each of us have to look into our souls to find that one—ok, maybe two—causes that really speak to us. I chose literacy, including reading skills of course, but also financial literacy, technical literacy and cultural literacy. I think these are essential tools to be the best you can be, as well as an integral member of society. Literacy was my platform at Miss America and I continue to work with organizations like the Junior League of Washington, the Heart of America Foundation, First Book, Reading is Fundamantal, the Washington Literacy Council and others that have literacy as their core mission. 

Lately, I’ve also been very active in breast cancer funding and research. Many of my young friends have been diagnosed—or perished—from this illness which touches too many.

Q: What is your next step? Where do you want to be in 10 years? Do you see yourself staying in DC?

A: The world changes so quickly, it’s impossible to plan. In 10 years, five years, even two years from now I hope I’m still working to better this city that I love so much. I was/am Miss District of Columbia—how could I ever dream to leave?  

It seems that for Kate Michael, as long as she can dream it, she can do it.


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