We had the good fortune of connecting with Jhoe Virago and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jhoe, we’d love to hear about your parent’s parenting philosophy and the role it played in your development.
Many people ask me since I grew up in the foster care system, what my current relationship with my parents is like. I can currently say that my relationship with my parents is great! We have a mutual love and respect for each other that has stemmed from my upbringing and their honesty with me through the years. My parents parenting style was…distant to say the least. Since I grew up in the foster care system, I was physically distant from my parents which caused an emotional distance as well. My dad spent most of my teenage years in and out of jail. Due to that fact, my dad had to get creative about how he would display his love for his children while being so far away. I remember him drawing pictures (or having other inmates do it) of our favorite cartoon characters on the envelopes of the letters he’d send. He worked with programs that delivered gifts to the children of inmates during christmas time. The creative ways that my Dad displayed his love for me causes me to think creatively about how I can show love for those around me, even if my friends or family live far away. My mom was always around, I was able to call her and see her sometimes, but I did not live with her. During those times, my mother would call us and send gifts, usually in the form of money. I learned my mother’s love language during my latter teen years. At first, I didn’t understand why she would always buy me things when I wanted to talk to her and live with her and be with her, yet as an adult I have learned how my mother shows love. Even as an adult with a job, my mom will call me and say “hey, do you need some money?” My father and his parenting style has taught me the importance of being honest with your children, no matter what the story is. My dad has been completely and totally honest with me about what led to me going into the foster care system, his actions and how he feels about those actions now. He has expressed sincere apologies and shown growth in his actions. He was released from prison right before I turned 18 years old and has not gone back since. Questions I had and things I didn’t understand have been made clear through the conversations I’ve had with my father and for that I am grateful. My mother and her parenting style has taught me love and acceptance. My mother is the strongest woman I know and in all that she has endured, I have never seen the love she’s shown others fade, dim or change. My mother has taught me the importance of understanding other people’s love language, so that you don’t feel as though someone doesn’t love you because they aren’t showing love the way you know and expect. Learning my mother’s love language and watching her love no matter what has happened to her, keeps me loving no matter what. Both of my parents are my biggest supporters when it comes to Keep it Vertical.
What should our readers know about your business?
Keep it Vertical is a positive lifestyle brand started by Jhoe Virago, to Keep it Vertical means to Keep your spirit lifted. Keep it Vertical consists of many moving parts like fashionable apparel, a lifestyle blog and a poetry book – all used to promote positive mental health practices while reminding others to Hear, See and Speak No Evil. Keep it Vertical’s CEO, Jhoe Virago self published a poetry book titled “D.C.F.S” or “Delicately Caring for Savages”. D.C.F.S is a short collection of dark poetry she wrote as a suicidal and depressed child in the foster system and is used as a healing agent for readers. Keep it Vertical’s merch line revolves around the motto “Hear NO Evil, See NO Evil, Speak NO Evil.” Kiv’s artistic fashion forward designs have been featured in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles shop and has traveled to San Francisco with TrapxArt. Our Vintage Good Vibes Only Squad is in collaboration with the Mayor of Los Angeles, giving back to women in LA transitioning out of homelessness. Learn more about Jhoe and KeepitVertical by visiting our website: KeepitVertical.Org.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’s so funny, I get this question often – because I have friends and family from other states. Though living in LA, I don’t even believe I’ve seen all the cool places the city has to offer! I’d take my best friend to Venice Beach for the culture, the waves and the cool shopping! (There’s so many one of a kind art pieces!) I’d then go to Grand Central market because there’s so many food choices and so many popular LA culture foods are all in one place! I’d also check out one of LA’s many art museums – like MOCA or the BROAD.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my parents! John and Monica. My first name, Jhamana – which is what my book is published under – is actually a combination of my parents name. John and Monica = Jhamana. I love you both so much! Thank you guys for everything. I appreciate where our relationship is now and the place we have grown from, forever and ever – you both have my love and support. I can not thank you enough. You both have taught me ALOT!
Image Credit: Tymeshia Randolph of Milk it Media
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