Childhood is a time when kids are meant to grow up in healthy, happy, loving homes. It’s a time when families make memories, kids learn how to grow and thrive, and they are meant to look back at their own childhoods with happy memories and a smile. For Karrine Steffans, however, childhood was anything but happy. Her childhood was traumatic, devastating, and upsetting, and it also paved the way for her to make decisions for her own life that would change the course of her own future. Some kids grow up and repeat the cycle their parents lived – whether it’s a cycle of being a positive, loving adult or one that is detrimental, dangerous, and disgusting – and Karrine Steffans is a woman who chose to break the cycle. She’s an author, an actress, and she is a music video star. Who is she, though?
1. She Was Born in the 70s
Karrine Steffans was born on August 24, 1978. We don’t know much about her parents, whether she had any siblings, or what her family did for a living. What we do know is that she grew up in extreme poverty, and her mother was an alcoholic, which does imply she likely did not work or, at the very least, had a difficult time keeping employment.
2. She is From the Virgin Islands
It might sound like being born and raised in the Virgin Islands is a wonderful thing, but it was not for this young woman. Steffans was born and raised for the first decade of her life on the island of St. Thomas, and then her family moved to Florida where she continued to grow up. Her childhood, however, was anything but enjoyable.
3. Her Childhood Was Horrifying
Growing up, Steffans faced things no child should ever even realize could happen to them. She was abused both emotionally and physically. She was raped at the age of 13, and she ran away from home by the time she was 16. She took work as an exotic dancer to make money to purchase food and take care of herself while living on the streets.
4. She Was Homeless
Throughout a portion of her childhood, she didn’t have a home to go home to. She was homeless, living on the streets, and dancing for money. Her future was anything but bright, and most would assume she’d grow up to become very much like her own parents. Thankfully, she did not allow her former circumstances to pave the way for her own future.
5. She Was In a Troubled Relationships
When she was only 17, she moved into the home of rapper Kool G Rap with whom she began a relationship. It was not a good one, however. It seems as if she was repeating patterns from her childhood where she became involved with a man who was no good for her. Their relationship was tumultuous – in her words – and she moved out after her boyfriend abused her so badly she was hospitalized. They’d already had a son together at that point, so she took her son and she left.
6. She Went Into Music Videos at 21
The only good thing that came from her relationship with her abusive ex was not just her son, but her introduction into the rap community. It was from that she was able to pull together her resources and used what she’d learned and who she’d met on the way, and she landed a role in a music video for rapper Jay-Z. She was only 21, and she was starring in his “Hey Papi,” video.
7. She’s a Best Seller
From the ashes often rises something so much better, and this could not ring more true than it does with this woman. She took her life, the lessons she learned, and the things she did, and she began writing books. She started with her 2005 book, “Confessions of a Video Vixen,” and she kept going. Her books made a difference, they were a huge hit, and they landed her speaking gigs and so much more. She landed on the New York Times’ Best Seller list more than once for her writing.
8. She Donates the Proceeds From her Book Sales
The proceeds from her first book – the book she dedicated to her little boy – go straight to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Steffans grew up in exceptional poverty without anything to hold on to but a dream and hope for a better future, and she wants to be sure she’s able to provide some hope for other kids who might be in a similar situation.
9. She Started a Business
How that she’s a successful author and Best Seller, she’s also a publishing company owner. She started her own company in 2008. She calls it Steffans Publishing. She makes it a point to do what she sees fit, and she’s doing it well.
10. She’s Very Open
One thing that Steffans is good at doing is sharing the details of her life so that others can learn from her mistakes and the things that worked in her favor. She knows she sometimes allowed herself to be used in a way that she might not be proud of, and she knows she went through things that might not resonate with all, but she also knows that she did what she did, she cannot change it, but she can write about it and hopefully provide some insight into the lives of others.