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Feature 03 May 17

Croat Mom Blogger Lives American Dream

Croatian 38-year-old Kristina Kuzmic is living the American Dream as a globally known mum, sharing parenting tips on her video blog.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Kristina Kuzmic. Photo: Instagram/Kristina Kuzmic

“I've been through a lot in my life living in the US, but I'm finally at a point where I can genuinely say that I created a wonderful life for myself. If living the American Dream means figuring out a way to turn what you're passionate about into a career, then I'm definitely living the American Dream,” 38-year-old Kristina Kuzmic told BIRN on her success as being a world-famous video blogger in the United States.

Kuzmic, who was born in the eastern Croatian city of Osijek, came to the US with her family aged 14, during the war in the 1990s. Although the family returned to Croatia, she stayed behind and fought her way to becoming a YouTube sensation.

The mother of three children – 14-year-old Luka, 12-year-old Matea and three-year-old Ari – went through an especially tough period of life after her divorce, becoming a single mum on a humble waitress's wage.

Her luck turned when she entered a competition on the My OWN Show in 2011 – a reality show where candidates compete for a show of their own, supported by the US talk show legend Oprah Winfrey.

Kuzmic beat 20,000 rival contenders to win - and got her own culinary show ,“Ambush Cook”, which was aired on Oprah Winfrey Network.

She soon got the idea of sharing her experiences on parenting and giving tips.

“I've been a parent for 14 years and throughout all my ups and downs, I grew more and more passionate about trying to encourage parents and to share parenting tips that have helped me along the way,” she explained.

Her video blogs and a channel on YouTube, have made her a star. She now has over half a million followers on Facebook. In 2016, she partnered with LittleThings.com, the largest women’s lifestyle site and her videos were watched there by more than 100 million viewers.

 

“I started making parenting videos, never really expecting it to turn into a full-time career, but it has. I can't even put into words how thankful I am to be able to make a living doing what I'm truly passionate about,” Kuzmic says, admitting that the scale of her success has surprised even her.

She admits it all started as “a fun hobby”, soon turning into “something bigger, much bigger than I ever expected”.

With an “in your face” perspective, her videos on parenting are seen as witty, motivational and funny, while touching the hearts of people in an unpretentious way.

The mom-centric videos give insights and tips on how to juggle through everyday routines and problems with children and all that comes with them.

In her endeavour, she has enjoyed the full support of her family. Her mother back in Croatia is “really excited and proud”, while her current husband is extremely supportive of her job, she says.

Her children are somewhat divided – feeling both proud and weirded out about their mum at the same time.

“My kids sometimes think it's really cool that so many people watch their mum's videos, but other times they think it's weird that their friends would want to watch my videos and follow an 'old lady' like me.  I would have been just as weirded out if my mum was in the public eye when I was a kid,” Kuzmic says.

Although she has lived in the US for the most of her life, creating her career and upbringing her children in the state of California, Kuzmic still has a soft spot for her home country.

“I love Croatia! I was just there last summer, and every time I go to visit it still feels like home. Ideally, I would love to go back every year; there's so much that I miss,” she concluded.

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