Photography by Khalilah Hall Photography
Meet Nika. She is Beauty Revived.
When I read the submission from Nika’s mom, I knew she was who I wanted to photograph. Her mother’s words were simple, yet powerful:
“After a Girl Scout meeting in 2015, Nika came home interested in making care kits for the homeless. We were apprehensive about exposing her to the unjust realities of the world, scared for her eager heart and uncertain. Nika was surprisingly relentless about helping the homeless community of Howard County and so we surrendered to her kind heart.
Nika reminds us both to look at the stigma of homelessness in a different light and reminds us to be better humans. Nothing compares to watching Nika carry out her mission of kindness and unconditional love.”
On our session day, Nika and her mom greeted me with such warm and welcoming smiles, confirming my instincts that her story was one that deserved to be told. We chatted for only a few moments before I could see exactly where Nika’s empathetic and generous spirit came from.
The kitchen table was overflowing with various toiletries that were to be divided into bags and handed out to the homeless in Howard County. Nika stood on her tip toes and worked counter-clockwise around the table to make sure the items were distributed evenly. It was clear she had a system in place, and she was steadfast in her desire to carry it out. While I watched her I couldn’t help but notice just how small she really was, almost as if her heart was bigger than her body. Her generosity and kindness was present in each and every one of the bags that she assembled.
Once she was finished putting the bags together, we hopped into the car and Nika’s mom navigated the familiar routes to hand them out. They knew exactly where to go, and Nika was quick to find who she wanted to help. During the ride, their conversations moved me, as it was clear just how much Nika had learned from the open and honest discussions with her parents about the people they were serving.
Both days we went out, we didn’t find many people around. Nika didn’t allow that to deter her. She even mentioned driving another 30 minutes to find more people she could serve. I asked Nika how it made her feel to help those in need and she said “I feel happy and proud of myself. I love seeing the smile on their faces.”
As her mother said:
“We aspire to be like Nika in heart. I also wanted to add that Nika’s ability to be super intuitive, loving and kind to all living things greatly squeezes our hearts. We could not be more proud of her for her determination, motivation, humanitarian ways and her continued sweetness. She gives so readily. That she is interested in learning about the issue of homelessness from her own desire and seeks to make the world a better place, makes her a hero in our eyes.”
I couldn’t agree more.
About the Photographer
Khalilah is a family documentary photographer in Columbia, Maryland. She is a military wife and a mom of two busy boys. Her work focuses on capturing authentic photos that will hopefully bring you back to that moment decades from now. She’s always singing Beyonce and loves to laugh.