Kiera is studying Animation with a background in illustration, comic book art, writing, an graphic design. Managing to find time to mix it with her horror imprint, formeraly True Nightmares, a YouTube channel that has over 1,000 followers. There you'll find Fright Film Friday trailer reactions, movie reviews, disturbing facts from history, and she even narrates her own tales with accompanying visuals and sounds.
Soft spoken, honest, hardworking, and just plain having fun, Kiera's collective thinking is a part of what made our chat about horror so eclectic and positive.
Which movies, TV shows, and books first made you interested in the horror genre?
This is hard because I think I got into almost everything horror related for books and films. What I can say is as kid I was really into the classics; Alfred Hitchcock is still one of my favorite directors and Goosebumps was the first series I stuck to. Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees are my favorite characters as well and you can never go wrong with Stephen King.
What's been your experience as a horror fan? How have people responded to your YouTube channel?
My experience as a horror fan, I would say I become quite picky and thanks to taking film courses I’ve become a bit of a critic. I strongly believe there’s a huge difference between a thriller and a horror film. If you tell me I’m watching a horror film, I’m expecting you to have me clinching my seat and the possibility of popcorn flying from me flinching from a jump scare.
When I started True Nightmares, I had no idea how people would respond to my channel at all. I was (and still am) completely new on what works and what doesn’t but I knew that whatever I did I wanted to create great content while still giving viewers a scare. Thankfully, I’ve gotten positive and supportive responses on my channel. Mostly from my Sinister Tales series, which I enjoy because I love writing and creating my own stories. Fright Film Friday was created solely to focus on horror films and new filmmakers. I created it as my way of giving back to the horror community who continue to kick ass in all areas whether it be film, YouTube or writing.
What is the story behind Seriously Strange? What’s it about and how does it stand out from other comics online?
I am a huge fan of Rob Dyke, he makes amazing content on YouTube and he’s a great writer. Seriously Strange was created as a tribute to his work with a little twist of my own. This is my own way of supporting Rob’s channel along with other creators I’ve added in the comic. I plan to put in little easter eggs from everyone’s channel within the story. So in a way it might be fun for the fans or challenge how well they know their favorite creators.
The story is basically about a collab that goes horribly wrong. Rob and Matt plan to film a huge livestream event but everything turns dark when they read out of a dangerous spell book from a collection Rob is building in his house. The book holds many kinds of spells but it also acts as a prison to any soul that is sent within. On the night of their collab, Rob and his friends accidentally release the souls of the blood queen Elizabeth Bathory and Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary). With the witch of the book now awake, Rob and his friends have to fight their way through her maze of deadly games to stop the a ritual that will bring Elizabeth and Mary back to life. Overall, I hope that anyone who reads it enjoys themselves. There is also a store I’ve created for the comic so anyone can get stickers and posters from the story.
You seem to encourage others in regards to drawing on your Kiwi Designs blog. How would you encourage other little Black girls who are interested in horror but don't see themselves that much on screen to feel like they can have a voice in the horror community too?
As a black woman, If I could say anything I would say don’t be ashamed if you realize you’re different from the crowd. In fact embrace it! Be proud!
I’ve been in many situations especially in my family where it was obvious I was different. All because my interests, my goals, even the kind of people I chose to be around was strange or described as something “white people” do. Bull crap! Don’t let other people’s ignorance destroy or push you away from your own goals and desires. Find and create your support system because (I'm going to be truthful), family is great but family will not always support your dreams and goals. So make sure you always have friends, teachers, any awesome buddy to support you to achieve the things you want to do.
Want to be a filmmaker for horror films? Do it! Wanna act in horror films? Go for it! Wanna stand on your roof and yell “UNICORN POWER!”. Well first of all, get off the roof but otherwise YES DO IT! Listen to what your gut is telling you and don’t let fear stop you from being happy. One lesson I learn and continue to learn in life is people will always have something to say no matter what you do. Do you. Be the start of something amazing and if you meet others like you uplift each other and become a force to be reckoned with.
What are some of your future plans in regards to horror, True Nightmares, and your work as an illustrator? [UPDATE: Seriously Strange is now Kiera's title brand.]
Currently my plans are to finish the first and second chapter to Seriously Strange. As for True Nightmares, things are undecided right now due to how Youtube is treating horror content and other channels they’re not agreeing with. So, I’m hoping I can find an alternative site to continue the channel and bring on some new stories and films to my viewers. I really really want to attend some horror film festivals and conventions by next year.
Overall I want to work toward making True Nightmares more like a show. Similar to the ones back in the 90’s such as Tales from the Crypt or Twilight Zone. These are shows I grew up with and I rarely see shows like that anymore on TV. At this point anything can happen but I have high hopes for my channel and for the community!