Kristle and Kerese The Millen Twins
Kristle and Kerese: The Millen Twins
Interviewed and written by Aaron Robinson (Editor) and Tocarra Eldridge
In today’s society, when it comes to following our dreams, it is rarely seen in the current global environment where twins team up to join forces with their endeavors and follow their purpose as philanthropists, authors, educators, entrepreneurs, trendsetters and radio personalities.
Regarding their education, Kristle has her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Illinois University, with a Type 04 certification, a Special Needs Endorsement and a Post-Doctorate with a Certificate of Advance Studies in Curriculum and Instruction with an Endorsement in (ESL) English as a Second Language from National Louis University of Chicago, Illinois.
Kerese has her Master's Degree in Teaching, Learning and Assessments, and her Post-Doctorate with a Certificate of Advance Studies in Curriculum and Instruction with an ESL endorsement from National Louis University of Chicago, Illinois, along with her Bachelors in Early Childhood Education from Northern Illinois University.
Kristle and Kerese Millen are hosts of The Millen Twins Exclusive television show. They have interviewed significant individuals such as Kim Foxx, Drew Peckat and Bigg Vonn, just to name a few. They recently hosted the The Millen Twins Highlights Movement Show on iHeart Network and Intellectual Radio. Kristle and Kerese Millen are successful authors. They have published several books, There’s Power In Your “I Am” and Thoughts Become Things. When it comes to business, these amazing two young women are the CEO’s of I AM. You Are. Perfectly Imperfect LLC, where they host empowerment events that shed awareness on community.
During our career as journalists, we have interviewed bands, gospel groups, cast members and so on. However, it was our first time having the opportunity to interview such amazing and phenomenal twins whose lives are overfilled with so much excitement and joy. Nonetheless, they stand the test of time and have beat many odds on their life journey. We introduce to you, Kristle and Kerese…The Millen Twins.
Tocarra: You amazing women are the host of the "Millen Twins Highlights Movement Show" on the iHeart Network and Intellectual Radio. What was the inspiration behind putting this show together?
Kristle: Pretty much everything that we do in regards to our business, our books, just our platform period…we thrive off of giving back to people. So, we said what better way to do that than to give a platform on the radio station to give back to people and allow them to come on our platform and tell their story and how they are making moves despite the obstacles and issues in their background and journey. It doesn’t matter, because we are not here to judge. We are here to love and highlight you and say, ‘look, we got you,’ no matter what. We started off with our business I Am. You Are. Perfectly Imperfect LLC. With that, we give back to the community. Our first event was Kreate A Kloset For Domestic Survivors. So, we collected over a thousand bags and boxes of clothing to give to women shelters. We also feed the homeless quarterly. Everything we do is about giving back. The radio station is just another chapter and platform of us giving back.
Aaron: You both share some of the same core values when it comes to having a great outlook on life. What was instilled in you or placed in your heart that made you all want to give back and shine your light in society?
Kerese: Well, I guess from growing up we were blessed from my parents…my grandparents. We were always provided with the things that we needed. So as a young child, we always gave back. We were blessed with two toys every time we had a birthday or Christmas, but we were those kids that were like ‘hey, I want to give toys to other people or other friends’ because we realized that other kids didn’t have the same family homes.
Kristle: It actually started off at a young age – just having the role model from our mother. She would give her last penny if she had to. So, just seeing that the 36 years of our life…and she still does it. It’s just in us. It’s one of those generational things that is attached to us.
Kerese: So, we always say we will always love to give people help.
Kristle: We want to make giving contagious. That’s our goal.
Tocarra: When did you realize that you both could work together as a team?
Kristle: Like since forever! (laugh) Our mom taught us at a early age that people are not going to like you. You are going to elevate in life and people are just not going to like you. As a youth, Kerese and I would be confronted with people not liking us because we were twins. They would literally tell us ‘I don’t like y’all because y’all twins’. That wasn’t up to us! My mom taught us to stay close. We’ve been best friends since we were little. We fight and argue; we’re not perfect, but we come right back like ‘hey girl, what you doing? What you cooking today?’ (laugh) Since we’ve been best friends since we were little we don’t allow anybody to come between us.
Kerese: Being that we are twins we have a special bond. We share the same belief and values, so that wasn’t really hard to figure out if we were going to work together because we have always had the same passion.
Aaron: You both obtained Master’s degrees in teaching and just completed your Post-Doctorate in its respected area of study. With both of you having the same goals, what type of sacrifices did you have to make and what type of gratification is this for you?
Kerese: I hated school. The reason being is because I was told that I was the dumb twin in fifth grade. I always followed in my sister’s shadow. My sister actually inspires me to do so many things when it comes to education. She actually obtained her Master’s degree first when she attended NIU. I was like ‘ok, you go girl’. I tried, but I could never pass the test to get into the Master’s program. That discouraged me. I was thinking, ‘well maybe school is not for me,’ plus I hated school anyway, and it was always instilled in me anyway that I was the dumb twin, so I decided to leave school and go to work. So, that’s what I did. My sister has always pushed me and told me that I was not dumb and encouraged me. I eventually went on to get my Master’s and the Post-Doctorate. I was a step behind my sister, but my sister never made me feel like I was that dumb twin that I was told by my teacher. I’m the single mother, so my sacrifices included going to night school, having my sister watch my kid, having my mother watch my kid, to taking an online program to make sure I was able to take care of my kid. So, a lot of sacrifices were made on my behalf. At the same time I’m still grateful for the support that I have from my sister and my mom. It’s crazy because at the age of 35 I realized that I always pushed my sister to the forefront because it was still instilled in my head that I was the dumb twin. That is why I talk to a lot of youth and encourage them. There are certain things you should say to young people because it actually sticks with them, and mines stuck with me until last year.
Tocarra: You are the C.E.O.'s of I Am. You Are. Perfectly Imperfect LLC where you host events that bring awareness, empowerment and resources to your community. How did this wonderful initiative come into fruition?
Kristle: Just to give you a little background, we are both divorcee’s. Our heart is so big. We grew up seeking validation from people. We wanted people to like us. We would always wonder why people didn’t like us. It was almost to the point where we were buying people. Seeking validation ended up leading to being abused mentally, physically and emotionally. In 2015 our grandmother died. Our grandmother always told us that you guys are loved, you guys are amazing and you can do whatever you want to do, so stop looking for people to like you. She would tell us that we were good, we were beautiful and that we were enough. After she passed away we decided that our first event would be towards domestic violence survivors called Kreate A Kloset. At this event we were able to tell over 300 men and women that they didn’t have to feel like they needed to be validated because you end up staying there, because, #1) you’re content with it, #2) you get comfortable, and #3) you’re afraid to leave because you don’t know what’s outside of that. So, after we got out of that and got healed from that, we decided to start a business where we are not only talking to domestic violence survivors…but now we can encourage everyone. When we talk to people we’re able to tell them ‘you’re enough’. Thoughts become things and that’s where our first book came from There’s Power In Your “I Am”, because we learned to seek validation from ourselves. Then our second book Thoughts Become Things – your thought of yourself is what matters, not what someone else thinks.
Aaron: If it’s okay to ask, in one of your books you mentioned a while ago that you both dealt with depression. How did you fall into it and how did you overcome it?
Kerese: For me it all started off when I had my son and the bad relationship that I was in also played a part in it. I got married and was married for nine months. I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t happy. Me, at that time, I was a people pleaser. So, I was trying to make sure he was happy, happy, happy, but at the same time I wasn’t happy. I attempted to commit suicide three times and it wasn’t successful, because God said ‘I have more for you to do on this earth’. What stopped me the last time that I tried to commit suicide is my son. We were driving in the car and out of the blue my son just said ‘mommy you know I need you right? I love you!’ He was only three years old and he was like ‘mommy I love you, I need you! I can’t have another mommy like you’. That was the last time I thought about committing suicide. That is when I grew out of depression, and that is when I wrote a letter to suicide saying you can’t have my life. The great thing about that is when I wrote that letter I put it on our website and also on Facebook, and somebody wrote to me and said ‘you just saved my life because I was getting ready to commit suicide’.
Kristle: Kerese posted that letter on Facebook and someone wrote to her through messenger and said that something kept telling her to go to the twins website. The suicide letter was posted on our website. She said something just kept telling her to go to the twins website, but she didn’t know why. She had the pills in her hand, and she said when she went to our website the first thing that she saw was the letter. When she saw the letter she immediately threw the pills in the toilet. So, that’s how I knew God used my story to be transparent and to help others.
Tocarra: That’s heavy! On another note, do you have any encouragement for aspiring women authors or anyone who is looking to fulfill their dreams, striving to be the best that they can be or who is always battling suicide or depression?
Kristle: In short, thoughts become things. What you think of yourself is what you will become. You have to get to the point in your life where what other people say or think doesn’t matter. You have to realize we’re on this earth to please God. You can believe in whatever you believe in; I’m not here to judge you, but we will say that we are here to please God. Other people bleed the same blood, get the same scratches. You just have to understand that getting validation from other people will hurt you in the long run.
Kerese: For me, I’ll say find your purpose. Once you find your purpose then you’ll stop looking for other people to try to fulfill any voids in your life. Once you find your purpose then everything becomes easy afterwards.
Kristle: For someone who may be depressed or thinking about suicide, seek help. We as a black community, we are afraid to go seek help. Seeking help does not mean that you are crazy. Seeking help means you realize you have an issue and desire to fix it. So, it’s okay to seek help. Also, since I am a survivor of suicide attempts, I would say realize that you won’t just be hurting yourself; you will be hurting others, so that is one major factor that you should think about.
Also, for the authors, the one thing that Kerese and I tell people who reach out to us and ask us, ‘how to write?’ The one thing that we tell everyone is to just write. All you have to do is write. If it’s in your head and you keep saying ‘I need to write a book’, as soon as you start typing I promise you it will flow. It took my sister and I two weeks to write our first book. We sat down and it just flowed.
Kerese: Another tip is to isolate yourself. Sometimes you have to isolate yourself from social media and television, because so many things will come to your head and you’ll be like ‘wow, I never knew’ …well it was always there but your head was so distracted. Get in a quiet place. Whenever you have a vision or a goal always keep it to yourself and in private. Don’t let it out until it’s complete.
Tocarra: What are some exciting or interesting things that you would like your fans, listeners and the readers to know about you?
Kerese: Nobody knows, so you all are getting an exclusive, but we are transitioning to a TV show called Chicago Today with the Millen Twins. It will be a digital marketing. We had our first Exclusive interview with Kim Foxx, the State’s Attorney. We have some more exclusive artists from Atlanta and Los Angeles that we are interviewing. Nobody knows yet, because as we said, we like to move in silence. Nobody knows that we are transitioning from the radio to a TV show.
Aaron: Would you like to add anything that we haven’t talked about before we conclude the interview?
Kristle: Just continue to follow us. MillenTwin1 and MillenTwin2 (Instagram).
Kerese: We are both educators. We are having our second MTE Awards, which is the Millen Twin Educators Awards on June 27th 2020 at the Beverly Art Center where we will be awarding 30 individuals who are educators in their field.
Kristle: It’s 25 awardees in the educating field and 5 prestigious awards. The 5 prestigious awards are Teacher of the Year, Athlete of the Year, Principle of the Year, Coach of the Year and Student of the Year. So, yes that’s June 27th at the Beverly Art Center from 6pm to 9pm. We will be posting soon. We have a new website also coming up. The new website will be MillenTwins.com and they will be able to purchase tickets on the website. Everyone has been nominating the educators that they want to see awarded. We are now in the process of picking those names so that we can email them and let them know they have won the award.
Kerese: One more thing, we have our clothing line also. It’s the Millen Twins brand. You will be able to purchase that on our MillenTwins.com website as well. The current website is still active for now but the MillenTwins.com website will be coming soon, and literally everything that that Millen Twins do will be located on our new website.
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I AM. You Are. Perfectly Imperfect LLC