Kor Zoua Pa Xiong is part of my extended circle. She is close friends with my close friend Susun, a fellow Hamline alum, and another former employee of the McVay Youth Partnership! I wanted to feature her in this project because I admire her work, fashion, and spirit! 

Koko is passionate, hardworking, full of life, strong and oh-so-stylish.

Koko is almost 26 years old and hails from the east side of St. Paul, Minnesota. She’s a true city girl. Koko loves good food, enjoys happy hour on patios and likes sunbathing on the boat with a glass of wine. (She’s a woman after my own heart!) She is an active lady playing a lot of sports - flag-football, basketball, tennis, and snowboarding. She also like the work out.  And, she requires a “zen day” once a week.

Koko graduated from Hamline University in 2011. We were in school at the same time and were part of some similar circles – most notably we both worked for the McVay Youth Partnership. (Do y’all see a trend? So many of the people I love have connections to McVay!)  

After college, she received her Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certification in 2012. Koko works in law enforcement. She says she is employed by the “Blue Bloods” ;). She is truly working from within! And, talk about a system that needs more voices working within it to create positive change – especially the voices of women of color. I admire her choice in profession and am grateful for her presence there. 

Koko says “fashion is [her] thang! It’s a way to feel free and have fun and feel confident”. Um, yes, fashion is her thing.  Koko’s style is always painfully on point! She has amazing fashion sense. She is bold in her style choices and seems to pull any and everything off perfectly!

She jokes that she is the Fashion Police! ;) Maybe that’s why her sisters and friends are always looking fabulous, too. (Honestly, I don’t really get excited about a lot of non-plus size fashionistas. But Koko’s style is too perfect to overlook!) I am also kind of surprised she is not an Instagram celebrity! Fab outfits, exotic travel destinations, silly boyfriend photos, family cuteness, and the best food pics – ha ha, this is what IG celebrities are made of! 

I admire how Koko keeps a healthy distance between her work and private life. I know her hours can be long and hard but she seems to manage to make time for herself and the people she loves.  Travel is also important to her. She says trips are her escapes. I think that ties into her separation of work and private life. And, I love it! She also is dedicated to her family – another trait I admire.

Last year, Koko and several other fab Hamline ladies came down to New Orleans. It was great to see them. It’s always a pleasure to catch up with beautiful, strong women who are making positive impacts on the world in their own ways. (Linda, Sheng, Susun, you’ve obviously included in that, too!) 

Read about Koko’s inspirations below. . .

What inspires you?

To make something out of yourself.  Be about it and stand behind it.  I truly care and believe finding ones happiness is a must, whatever that may be. There are so many spaces in this world to fit in if that's what you want and there's also so many spaces that you don't fit in and that's also ok.  I am inspired by challenges.  I believe to truly see your fullest potential, you have to take on challenges.  Try something you are not comfortable with, that's going to test you mentally and physically until you fall back to homeostasis.

What woman inspires you?

The only woman who has inspired me in my life, is my mother. I know people think it's cliche but it's the truth. My mother is the strongest and most loving and forgiving person I know. A young female who was married in adolescent years, bore 9 kids, and the 1st born did not survive. Immigrated to the country of Freedom (The land of the American Dream). She did not speak the English language and after 30-plus years living here, she still doesn't speak the language fluently nor knows how to read or write. She doesn't even know how to fluently read or write in her native tongue.  Why? - because she was never given that opportunity as a female growing up. But wait - she survived, raised all 8 children to become something of themselves. Her and my father made sure they did what they could quickly get us off from welfare assistance. She taught me to love, forgive and accept. Never did she shed a tear in front of us, never complained of being tired or hungry. She kept it a secret, we only saw the beautiful smile she wore everyday.

This sums just a little as to why she inspires me everyday. She is a warrior. I tell myself everyday, I do what I do is because she shaped me to be who I am today. She's a reminder to me, that nothing in this world can ever be too hard to accomplish or to be faced with. I can only be half as good as she is.


If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?

Try/experience more! YOLO!!!

This March, I am celebrating all the amazing women around me! Sharing women who have influenced me and make up my personal history. As the month goes on, you can see all my Inspiring Women posts here!