“In a world that tells you to hate what you look like, being on stage is an expression of self-love.” – Kenyetta
When you’re married for eight and half years to a member of the Coast Guard, a divorce signifies the end of the marriage and your home on a military base. With nowhere to go, Kenyetta joined the Coast Guard. With her sister on deck to care for her son in New York, she attended boot camp and upon graduation, she and her son returned to the base they’d called home.
Kenyetta’s first military station assignment was at the U.S. Coast Guard Base on Governor’s Island, New York, where she had the privilege of raising the presidential flag for a meeting between former President Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Next she was stationed on the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas, a 378-foot law enforcement vessel that sailed from Maine to Cuba. During that first night at sea, the ship rode through a hurricane off the coast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. With no land in sight for days, Kenyetta spent a four hour shift outside, strapped into a lookout chair and describes the experience as “very humbling”. During this tour she received the Humanitarian Service Medal for rescue operations in Haiti. After eight years of service, her last station assignment would bring her to Sonoma County, where she served as Yeoman/Computer Systems Manager to the Commanding Officer at the Petaluma Training Center in the early 90’s.
Raising the Presidential Flag
Since then, Kenyetta has worn many hats; including preschool teacher, holistic massage therapist, web designer, costume designer, model—even a three-year stint as a nanny for the Birkenstock family. The common theme? Taking care of her children and putting their needs first. “A job doesn’t define who you are, it’s simply the means to make life possible,” she says.
Now that her children are off in the world, Kenyetta’s focus is on creativity. The daughter of a furniture designer and mother who taught her to sew, her interests include stained glass and costume design. For her 45th birthday, she brought 11 of her friends to iCandy in Rohnert Park for a pole dancing class. This led to taking a Burlesque Basics class, where Kenyetta felt an immediate connection. Upon completion of the class she performed in a show and since then, has been in at least two shows per month.
Kenyetta’s 45th Birthday
“In a world that tells you to hate what you look like, being on stage is an expression of self-love,” she says. Performing with other women who accept themselves just as they are, is the ultimate example of a positive body image. She’s even seen performers in wheelchairs receive standing ovations! Praising her fellow performers, Kenyetta calls them the strongest women she’s ever known and is grateful for the support they give each other.
Kenyetta performs at venues throughout the Bay Area including The Whiskey Tip, in Santa Rosa. You can see her regularly on the third Friday of the month at The North Bay Cabaret, also in Santa Rosa. Most of the proceeds from the shows go to charities that help women in need. When she’s on stage, Kenyetta is a storyteller who enjoys taking the audience on an enjoyable adventure. At 51, she is currently working on a Burlesque play. Kenyetta is proof that when we accept who we are, anything is possible.