Today we’d like to introduce you to Krysteena Acosta-Zumaya.
Hi Krysteena, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
As a child and teenager, I often found myself drawn to macabre literature, movies, and dark styles. I loved Edgar Allen Poe’s poetry, Scary Stories to tell in the Dark book, Horror films, thrillers, heavy metal, industrial, gothic genres, women like Mortician, Elvira, Lydia Deetz, and Lily Munster, to name a few and of course alternative clothing styles and jewelry.
I was told countless times that the way I preferred to dress, the types of media I consumed, and the makeup I gravitated toward were all “just a phase” and that I would “get over it”. And for many years, those words were engraved in my mind. They actually haunted me. And I believed them. Those words played a significant role in the stunted growth of my personal preferences and overall happiness. Until one beautiful afternoon on a spring day at 29 years old, I sat by myself in my garden reminiscing and recalling many memories that led up to who I was in that moment, and it hit me.
As a plus-size model, makeup artist, vintage hairstylist and poet, I had achieved great heights. I remembered that I had been published locally and internationally for my talents and skills both in front of the camera and behind the scenes. I found myself growing irritated with my lack of gratitude, lack of growth and began to ask myself: “Why aren’t you happy?”
Before I knew it I had realized that I had spent over 15 years of my life desperately seeking validation and had gone through multiple identity crisis episodes that included So many hair colors, many wardrobes revamps, subcultural phases and trying to fit in culturally, but I still felt out of place… Was I just being a rebellious human being? Why couldn’t I just wear color to ‘fit in’ and appear ‘normal’? Why couldn’t I find myself? Why was it so hard for me to get up every morning and just adult?
In that moment, it dawned on me. I had been trying so hard to fit into adulthood that I lost myself. It was that day that I went into my closet and purged every single article of clothing that didn’t spark joy. And so it began the beginning of my salvation and the pursuit of my true happiness in this lifetime. It was time I lived and did what made me happy. I discarded my well-known published stage name and became my truest self – Espooky Spice, the woman who dares to wear only black clothing 24/7 and incorporate color only through accessories and makeup.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Everything leading up to that moment of realization had been difficult for me. Living to please others and conforming to societies ‘norms and expectations was absolutely soul-crushing. It was no wonder why I had felt so out of place and lacked true joy in my life. Did I inspire others to be themselves and find self-love through my work and social media platforms? YES! But why couldn’t I do that for myself?
The biggest struggle was having that dilemma. Helping others which is so rewarding but ultimately failing to help myself.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
For many years I have been known for my dangerous curves, killer confidence, wardrobe choices, unique hair styling, and makeup artistry. I was born with a natural hourglass figure and have always been a bigger person. It’s not been the easiest task to dress my body until recent years.
By using my own experience to defy beauty standards, find clothing to properly fit my body type, push boundaries and incorporate vintage and retro-inspired styles into my everyday appearance, I decided to share my journey online through social media to help others in their search of self-discovery and inspire them to look within themselves to find what makes them happy.
I have inspired many to try new fashion ventures, explore various styles, dress their bodies unapologetically and to feel good overall. I produce makeup and hair tutorials for YouTube, clothing layouts and Try-ons for Instagram and Tik Tok, and occasionally participate in live broadcasts that include get ‘ready with me’ sessions, uplifting words of encouragement, getting to know me, Q&A segments and giveaways. I take great pride in helping my audience create clothing styles, makeup looks, and hairstyles by informing them of affordable options to achieve the looks they are going for without breaking the bank. I love to use coupons, go thrifting, utilize my local dollar store and discount shops to achieve high-level fashion with budget-friendly prices to keep fashion and accessorizing accessible to all.
I am most proud of the positive effect I have on others, which promotes self-love, well-being, being one’s truest self, and the importance of good mental health. I love receiving messages from my audience showing me their own recreations of my looks and styles as well as words of encouragement to continue doing what I do. Not only does my authenticity, go-getter mentality and can-do attitude set me apart, but also my famous all-black wardrobe and the ability to create and fuse many styles that are inspired by retro, vintage, and current trends together to create the ultimate self embodied experience which is ESPOOKY SPICE.
My personal style reflects exactly what makes me: A Chicana who grew up surrounded by lowrider culture who loves all genres of music finds inspiration from fashions throughout the ages, all black clothing, vintage hairstyling, and intricate makeup looks that others see as art.
No matter how much I grow, I’ve never considered myself above others and I always share my findings with my audience so that they too can create their dream wardrobes at affordable costs that they can connect with, be content with, along with makeup looks they can feel good with on, and hairstyles that empower them.
Overall I would say that I am so proud of the power I possess as a person who positively influences others to love their bodies through all of its stages, promote beauty from within, try new things and doing what’s best for one’s self all while discovering their own authenticity as an individual.
What were you like growing up?
Growing up, I would say that I was always a little bit rebellious. I always challenged social norms. My family often says that they knew early on that my big personality, charisma, and stage-worthy attitude that I developed at a very young age would gain attention and set me up for success as an entertainer and trendsetter. I participated in a lot of stage activities like Ballet Folklorico, drama class, and modeling as a young child. My mother would, of course, keep us on trend with big platform soda shoes aka Spice Girl shoes, adorable school uniforms, butterfly hair clips, topsy turvy hairstyles and other hip trends that were highly in demand at the time in the 90s.
As well as finding inspiration through my sister who used gothic: alternative styles to express herself, my mother and her impeccable fashion sense along with her signature hairstyle “the homegirl”, and grandmother who continues to flaunt her vintage fashion and hairstyles. Many of those clothing, shoe and accessory staples have carried on and still inspire many looks in my wardrobe today. As a child and young teen, I was always interested in fashion that defied normality, sparked conversations, and wowed onlookers. Edgy, alternative, and striking styles always captivated young me.
- Email: EspookySpice@gmail.com
- Instagram: Instagram.com/EspookySpice
- Facebook: Facebook.com/EspookySpice
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCzSwd7HuOwWwp5j3UXlXmSw
- Other: Linktree.com/EspookySpice
Sherman D Taylor – Tea_and_a_Read