Christelyn Karazin is the creator of The Pink Pill Franchise; that is The Original Pink Pill, The Pink Pill for Business and The Pink Pill for College. It is a series of courses for the self-development of particularly Black women, in all areas of their lives, financially, socially, and romantically.
I recently interviewed Ms. Karazin where she chatted more on her franchise and exactly how it works. Check out the interview below.
The Empress Dee: Nice, I love it! What inspired you to create The Pink Pill?
Christelyn Karazin: A lifetime of mistakes, to be totally honest with you. All of the courses that I have put together are based on things that I did not know that I wish someone would have told me or mistakes that I made, that I corrected and really dove deep in examining what motivated me to do these things and really sort of unlearning the misinformation that I had and then transmuting that into teachable lessons that people have really been able to identify with and I call myself, the perfectly, imperfect coach.
So, I am not coming at people because I am so high and mighty and perfect, but it is because I have made the mistakes so that you do not have to.
The Empress Dee: I completely understand that, and it is so funny that you said that because one of my questions was going to be, do you feel that you gained all this knowledge by trial and error or did you feel that you just got awesome guidance? But I am glad that answered that question for me.
So, how important would you say that self-evaluation was for you?
Christelyn Karazin: Well I think that it is important for everybody because I think that a lot of times people look at failure as just so crushing and not really looking at it as, you just learned how not to do something. I just did a video about this. Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” When you think about all of the really successful people in the world, one of my favorite authors because I am horror junkie is, Stephen King. He is super uber rich, super uber successful…one of the best writers, forget horror writers but just writers of our time.
He has a whole wall of rejection letters from people who just rejected his stuff. So, when you look at failure, you should not look at it as…wow, I am not good enough, it’s just that did not work, so now I need to adapt and I need to learn something different. I think that it is important, whether it is a relationship or a failed job, a failed friendship…trouble with your family members, whatever…I always believe in having some sort of autopsy of what happened, just having some self-accountability. It is not always going to be your fault, a lot of times, it is not but there is still a lesson to be learned there.
The Empress Dee: Absolutely! That was beautiful advice, and I was writing it down as you were talking. I wanted to ask, why were social, romantic, and professional skills some of the key points that you wanted to elaborate on?
Christelyn Karazin: When it comes to Black women, let me talk about relationships…I will take a trip down memory lane. In 2012, I wrote a book called, Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed, it is about interracial relationships from a Black woman’s perspective. I wrote it because it was my experience. A lot of the people who have asked me about my marriage and how that happened for me, had the impression that that was something that was not on the table. They had been given a lot of misinformation about how non-Black men would never marry you, they will play with you, but they are always going to marry their own. So, when they saw me with my husband, they were like, how did you do that?
I also had a lot of push back from…Black folks who were just like, what are you doing? But here is the thing, Black woman have some serious challenges when it comes to relationships. We outnumber Black men by 2 million. A good thing that is going on for us is that we are extremely educated, extremely ambitious, we need to find those partners…we need to find real partners who are able to match us in that journey. So, particularly for Black women who are phenotypically Black like myself, there are a lot of things that are going on in the Black community that do not make it easy for women who look like me to find quality men.
Let’s just be honest about colorism in the Black community. I remember learning that early, learning that from my family, learning that no matter how smart I was, no matter how pretty I was, because I was not born a certain way, or that I did not have a certain texture of hair, I was always going to be put to the back and I did not find that acceptable. I believe in going where you are celebrated…not tolerated and finding the best man for the job, regardless of his color.
I believe in building alliances with people and forming networks. So, I think that a lot of times, particularly Black women, we stand in our own way, when it comes to really putting ourselves out there and networking outside of our community…we miss out on a lot of opportunities. I say that to say that there is validity in that suspicion and so I am not invalidating that there is a certain level of suspicion and there should be a healthy level of suspicion. But if you allow for that to dominate how you think and how you move about the world there’s so many opportunities that you will miss.
A big part of The Pink Pill is teaching Black women how to network, how to feel comfortable being the only Black person in the room and to stop apologizing for being the only Black person in the room and seeing that that could be the opportunity to be the distinction, it is an opportunity to stand out, it is an asset, it is not a liability. Especially, if you understand the rules of the game because it really is all a game. So once you understand the rules of the game and you feel confident, that energy is going to be so identifiable by other people, it is going to make you attractive to other people, it is going to make you charismatic and so there are things that I teach in those courses that help Black women cultivate those things, whether it is work, socially, or romantically…being able to cultivate that sense of confidence because you know that you belong because your mind is right, your look is right and the way that you present is right.
The Empress Dee: I love that, that is so beautiful. I definitely agree. So, of the 3 topics that you emphasize, the romance, social and the professional, where do you see most Black women getting caught up?
Christelyn Karazin: Romantically, let’s start there. I think that we are not often taught to be hypergamous in the same way that other races of woman are taught. We are taught to…well sista you made yourself good, that’s good but now you have to got to help a brotha out and reach back… the fact of the matter that does not work. Statistics show that when you marry a man and you are the breadwinner, they are more likely to cheat, the marriage is more likely to fail…men need to feel like men. The things that oftentimes were taught, are really counterproductive to successful marriages.
My goal is this, I celebrate Black women finding the best man for the job and I do not care what color he is. I do not believe in magical thinking; you know just keeping hope alive and just saying that you have to fight over…so if there is one Black guy and there are 15 Black women, in some HBCU’s, that is the case, I am not competing for that. I am going to go where the odds are more in my favor because this is not The Hunger Games: Relationship Edition and I do not want Black women to feel that way. I believe in opening yourself up to all men because it does 2 things, it gives you more opportunities and it also keeps you from feeling like you are coming from a position of scarcity and instead from a position of abundance. When you have that position of abundance your energy will be different, you are more confident, and you can walk away from something that is not serving you. You will not have to feel like you have to hold on to something because you are afraid that they will not be another one.
When you know that men are like trains and they come every hour, and you have that confidence, and you know that you have qualities that are revered by quality men, you are not going to have that sort of energy. When it comes to work, here is where I think that a lot of Black women can do better, a lot of us feel like all we need to do is go to work, do our job, and then go back home. They do not need to go to happy hour, they do not need to schmooze, they do not need to go to the corporate events, they do not need to join associations, they feel like all that I need to do is my job and that should be enough and the fact of the matter is, it is not.
Have you ever experienced working at a job and somebody who has less experience than you, but they are spending 1/3 of their day schmoozing with people, they are talking to people, they are making jokes, they are getting in good with the manager and they are promoted. Why is that…here you are being the busy little bee, working. So, what I teach Black women to do is to learn how to play the game. I have developed ways in which Black women can identify different types of characteristics of the people that they work around based on chess pieces.
There are 5 chess pieces. In the past people have equated chess with business but they do not get into the actual pieces and so I have created a concept where we go into identifying the pieces and what they represent just to help people have a little bit of clarity in how you deal with people:
- The King: represents a top down hierarchy style. That person is very direct in their communication, they tell you like it is. You do not have to wonder what that person is saying to you, they are very clear, and they do not beat around the bush. If you cross the king, you will know about it because he will tell you
- The Queen: has a communal management style, we are all in this together and she will be more indirect. She will want you to do something but will end up putting it in the form of a question or say things like, we need to get this done, when she really means you. If you cross the queen, she will come at you sideways in a passive aggressive way. That will be where a lot of confusion will come in, someone may wonder why wasn’t I invited to this meeting, how come this package did not get delivered to me, how come all of a sudden the manager wants to talk to me.
Because someone in the office said that they are really intimidated by my personality…that is the queen personality style, to get back at you because you did something to her. oftentimes, women engage in that behavior because they are taught (not necessarily Black women) because they have been socialized to tell people how it is. But when you go into different situations, confrontation is different, you do not come at people like that, people are not comfortable facing conflict head on. They take offense to that and they will either shut down or go find some way to punish you.
It is a good idea to be able to identify what type of personality style that a person has, and it is not just management, it is the people that you work around too. You can find out if this person is a king style because they are direct with you or the queen because they are indirect. Some positive aspects of the queen, she wants to know what is going on with you, how your kids are, how’s your dog that got sick last week. That nurturing quality is important too.
- The Bishop: This would be your mentor and every Black woman should have one. The mentor can be within or outside of the organization but just somebody who has been there, done that…they know the ropes and they can kind of tell you, is this normal or not, what should I do in this situation, what not to do. But they do not necessarily have any real power.
- The Knight: This is your advocate. That is the person who has taken you on in the workplace who has the power to carry you through. So think about the knight, the knight is a horse, so you are riding that knight…you are riding that horse and he or she has the power to carry you through and also the power to protect you and to block anything that could come your way or hurt you.
- The Rook: This is the troublemaker. The rook is the person that you have to look out for. Anybody who is blocking you, anybody who is trying to thwart your progress is a rook, they are also the gossip.
- The Pawn: These are your co-workers. The pawns are the people that can be for or against you. They can be used to help advocate for you or they can be rooks too. Pawns are people that work below you, they are the janitor, the receptionist, they are the people who know a lot about what is going on in the organization and they can give you a lot of information.
I have organized that in a way so that in your organization there will be a way to be able to identify these types of people so that you know better how to deal with them and how to cultivate relationships and nothing has ever been done like that before.
The Empress Dee: Absolutely! This is definitely the first time that I am hearing about this. I was taking notes very attentively so that is beautiful information. I never looked at it like that and I think that is absolutely amazing.
Christelyn Karazin: I put together a chart of the chess pieces so that my students can fill it in. Even if you start your own business, if you are consulting you need to find out who are the gatekeepers and what type of communication style they have and this will help you network and it is also going to help you communicate because if you are a direct communicator but you are dealing with a queen style, you are going to have to figure out a better way to communicate with her if you want her on your side. One size does not fit all. I am also a certified business etiquette and protocol consultant and a style coach, so I incorporate the etiquette that I have learned in terms of the protocols for presenting yourself, how to network at events, dining etiquette…something that I had no idea about.
I remember the first time that I went to a formal business dinner, if you do not know…it can be intimidating. We are judged by that…they are not going to be able to talk to you about your background, but do you understand what folk to use. Do you understand how to behave at a 5-star restaurant? That is a class marker and so you do not want to have these things that you may think are
not really that big a deal, you do not want that to disqualify you and so I have that information in there too.
The Empress Dee: Absolutely. That is outstanding and so I am glad that you brought that up too, the things that you have courses on because I was looking at some of the courses and I noticed that you are teaching a lot of things that we should have been taught but that have been missed.
Do you think that those things should have been taught in an educational setting or at home?
Christelyn Karazin: This should be taught everywhere but it is not. So we are just taught the skills, we are just taught…when you go to college, they are teaching you the skills for whatever it is that you are majoring in, but they have very little…I think that at the upper level they have more of the training but it is optional, they do not tell you that it should not be optional because this is the key to everything. It is the key to everything because if you know how to relate to people, you know how to build your network, if you know how to manage people and communicate with people, that 80,000 degree that you got, is going to get you to $1million a lot quicker than someone who thought that I am just going to do my job and go home.
How valuable is it to you to know those unspoken rules because here is the thing, it is bad form to tell people when they are doing it wrong, people expect that you should just know it and if you do not know it then you are just not one of them and they quietly disqualify you and then you wonder why…because it is not polite to tell you. So, this is me telling you because I love you enough to tell you. A lot of times, our parents just did not know. A lot of us are first- or second-generation college students and a lot of our parents just did not know.
The Empress Dee: Thank you so much for that information because it is definitely necessary and just the things that you already discussed, I know that I can say that I know that those were not things that I was taught in college or at high school or even at home. That is beautiful, thank you so much for your service.
One thing that I really love when I look at your website is that you also do retreats. Can you tell me a little bit more about that?
Christelyn Karazin: Yes, before Covid-19, we were supposed to go to Greece earlier this year. What I like to do is to encourage Black women to see the world and I love to see the world and I like to learn about things with people that are like-minded, so we did our first international tour in Italy. Thirty of us went to Rome and Sorrento…amazing, but I want especially Black women to travel more and see what the world is like outside of The United States.
It is a very different experience, and it is very enlightening and empowering and so the more that you know, the more cultured you are, the more refined and cosmopolitan your energy becomes. It is fun to travel with like-minded people and if you are single and you want to travel but you do not want to travel by yourself, I would like to give that opportunity to a group of girls to just go out and have fun. Let me tell you when we went to Italy, we stopped traffic…30 Black women in a group, literally the women were holding onto their boyfriends. When I say go where you are celebrated…these men, first of all are GORGEOUS! Gorgeous men, they are dressed well, these are the most well-dressed men that I have ever seen that were not gay (The Empress Dee laughs), they have handkerchiefs and flowers in the lapel, nice shoes and just dressed so well, smelled so good and they were MEN and they were comfortable being men and being masculine and chivalrous it was just so refreshing.
When you come from America and everybody’s like well who is the man and who is the woman…no in Italy, it’s I am the man and here is the door let me open it for you…Ciao Bella. It was great!
The Empress Dee: I am glad to hear that, that sounds like such a beautiful experience. What was the sisterhood like there?
Christelyn Karazin: Oh my goodness…do you mean like other Black women who lived there?
The Empress Dee: The Black women who were a part of the retreat.
Christelyn Karazin: We were in a big group, so it was like 30 of us. So, people did pair off because some people knew other people more than they knew others. But for the most part we did everything together and it was just a beautiful thing, we all got along there was no cattiness or gossip, like honestly the women who follow me are like me and that is what I love and so we all just vibe. We got along really well, and it was great, it was wonderful.
The Empress Dee: I am so glad to hear that, that sounds awesome. So as you stated before, you also do coaching sessions on business etiquette, like we talked about, so what is a tip that you can share that is more than likely exclusive to women?
Christelyn Karazin: That is a good question. I would say particularly exclusive to Black women, when you are talking about dealing with women of other cultures, listen more than you speak. Listen to what they say, listen to what they do not say. Be interested in what they say, keep notes of things, understand what their communication style is so that you can meet them where they are comfortable. Because when you are building rapport if you can meet people where they are comfortable, they like you and that is what you want people to do, you want people to like you. So, building rapport, listening more than you speak, let people speak for 80% of the time, be engaged with what they are saying, remember people’s names, make other people feel important and then you will become important.
So, it is not about telling everybody how great you are, they key is to make everybody else feel great and that makes you great to them.
The Empress Dee: I love that, that is very inspiring. I can tell that you are extremely passionate, so what would you say is the most fulfilling aspect of what you do?
Christelyn Karazin: Somebody got married last week because of me (she smiles).
The Empress Dee: Tell me about it.
Christelyn Karazin: There is this young lady who has been following me since high school and she got married to this really cute guy who is successful, she met him on Tinder. He is a cyber security guy, and they are young, and he makes like six figures and he is just in love with her, this beautiful chocolate, dark-skinned girl who is being loved and cherished by somebody. She took the original Pink Pill and utilized the tools that she learned in there to cultivate that relationship and also to solidify relationships with his friends and family that was really helpful for her and she got married. I have a lot of those stories; a lot of people have gotten married or just met people or have gotten outside of their comfort zone because of me. Even on a personal note, I apply the things that I teach to myself so yesterday I was on ABC News last night because I joined an organization, which is something that I encourage Black women to do too is to join organizations because that is where the networking happens.
It is unfortunate that it is not about how hard you work but it is about who you know. Because I joined an organization that just so happened to have a news anchor there. I just mentioned to her what I did, and she thought it was great and the next thing I know, I am on prime-time news. I joined that organization and I learned how to network, and I understand that it is a reciprocal thing where I help you and you help me, and we help each other and we both get further along. So, it is really gratifying that what I teach, I apply it, and it actually works.
The Empress Dee: Absolutely and it is so funny because that leads me to my next question. I understand that a lot of times that people in the field of work that you do are used to seeing other people’s lives change. So, in what aspects has The Pink Pill changed your life?
Christelyn Karazin: I think that The Pink Pill developed because my life changed and not the other way around. So, my life changed, my life evolved…I learned more and because of that the franchise grew. It has been very successful financially and I have to say that if you can find a job where you are genuinely helping people change their lives and then it helps you pay the bills, that is the best job in the world. So I have the best job in the world. But The Pink Pill was created because I changed…I evolved.
The Empress Dee: That is a beautiful answer, I am so glad to hear that. This was a question that I meant to ask earlier on, what made you come up with the name Pink Pill?
Christelyn Karazin: A friend of mine. I was talking to someone and I was like, you know…it started when I wrote the book “Swirling” at first there was a lot of opposition to it, and then over time, people starting to see their friends with non-Black men, they saw the marriage rates going up and then they became open to the whole ‘swirling’ thing but (they would say) I am just not comfortable being around white people, I am not comfortable being around Asian people, I am not comfortable around Hispanic people…whatever I am not comfortable being with people outside of the Black community. So, The Pink Pill started to help Black women to feel comfortable getting out of their comfort zone. That is really what it was and not being constrained by cultural barriers and so when I realized that once women were open to dating and making friends from the rainbow, a lot of them felt afraid because they did not feel comfortable.
So, my goal with developing that from a person who grew up pretty much in white, “Whiteville” until the 90’s. I grew up in Antelope Valley in Lancaster, CA., in the 80’s and it was really white when we first got there and it was very Brown when I left but when I was there I was often the only Black person. I had to learn how to adapt, it was either that or die. Learning that but also being true to myself…being married to a white guy does not mean that I am not Black anymore, being around white people does not mean that I do not care about our experiences as people of color. There is a way that you can integrate all of that and your passions. But what I tell Black women to do is that it is not your responsibility to take on everything and that once you get to a position where you are doing well then you can pick your passions, a la carte. This was me picking my passion.
The Empress Dee: That is so amazing. Well you have been such an inspiration. I am so glad to have been able to speak with you and do this interview with you, you are so amazing!
Christelyn Karazin: Awe, thank you!
The Empress Dee: Of course, so can you please tell us where we can find you, The Pink Pill, your books and all these amazing things that you are doing?
Christelyn Karazin: I have a website, www.christelynkarazin.com that has pretty much all of my socials. But if you want to know about Pink Pill, you can go to www.getpinkpill.com and you can get everything that is new with me, that is going on with me on my Instagram and Twitter and it is @christelyn so those are the places where you can find me, I make it pretty easy.
The Empress Dee: Thank you so much again for the opportunity to be able to speak with you, this has been such a wonderful interview and thank you again for your inspiration, you are so awesome.
Christelyn Karazin: Thank you and you are adorable. You are absolutely adorable…you are my favorite graphic, what are you like 20 something? You are the younger spectrum of the girl that I am trying to reach and so I have a heart for you.
The Empress Dee: You were definitely preaching to me today. I am definitely going to try to get these classes because I am blown away by the stuff that you taught me today. Hopefully, all of your business ventures will be successful, I know that you are such a success already but thank you and I hope that you have a beautiful day.
Christelyn Karazin: You too sweetheart and thank you for the opportunity.