For our Q&A this week, we chatted with Faith. I met Faith four years ago when working at a nonprofit. She was working as a preschool teacher in our daycare center. Four years later she runs two small businesses, and performs stand up comedy. It was so neat to chat with her about these life changes and just her life in general. Her two businesses are CincyClean and Cincy Spray Tan. You can also learn more about her comedy by visting her Facebook fan page.
Describe to me where you are in life right now?
I just finished up the first year of doing stand up comedy and running my own business. So a year ago I was just getting my feet wet and I was kind of in this unknown place. But now I feel like I really know what I’m doing with my company. I’m still learning all the time, but I feel more confident. And then stand up comedy, well people do stand up comedy for years and years before they’re actually noticed or good at it, but I’m feeling more confident in that as well.
What was that like a year ago? How did it feel to be in that place of like “I don’t know what’s going on!”?
It actually felt really exciting and good because up until that point, my life was a little bit more predictable. It felt good to have challenges and to fail a little bit, and just become a stronger person because of it.
So before you were a teacher and then you decided to start your own business. What made you want to do that?
Starting a business was something I had always thought about and my husband always said, “you would be really good at running your own business. You should run your own business.” It was always in the back of my mind, but I never knew exactly what that would look like or what business specifically there would be a need for in the market. I think I wanted to start with not something that’s new but something that could be done in a new way, which is using technology to make a business better.
Why specifically cleaning? That’s obviously something that’s been around forever.
I think I wanted to start with something that’s more service-oriented and product-oriented. I think I’ve always known a lot of people who have cleaned … people in my family, friends of mine, so I knew what that entailed and I knew there were a lot of cleaners looking for work. So I connect very quality cleaning to clients and those who need it.
I know part of it is that you want organic and environmentally-friendly products. Is that still a part of it?
That is really important to us, and that’s important to us because that’s important to people right now. There’s been a big shift lately. It used to be that just a certain group of people were worried about what chemicals they were using in their home and putting into their body, but now everyone is pretty aware. We provide environmentally-friendly cleaning for no extra cost. Some people do like you to use a lot of bleach in their home or those types of products, but we leave that up to the client.
Stand up comedy is the other one. What made you want to do that?
I’ve always loved comedy. I come from a big family and I come from a family who loves to joke, loves to watch comedy and loves to argue over who’s the funniest. So it was just a way I’ve always interacted with people who I’m close to. I became obsessed with watching stand up comedy and then I started writing my own jokes. I just wanted to try it.
So where was your first time performing stand up?
I went to the Thompson House in Newport. They have open mic comedy every Monday. It is not a friendly room but it is a fantastic place to do comedy. You get real feedback.
So what were you feeling in that first experience getting up on stage?
I felt nervous but I knew if I didn’t like it or didn’t feel good about it, I could choose to never do it again. I didn’t bring any friends or family with me. I went by myself. I didn’t want to be patronized. I wanted to see if it was something I could be good at. Something that I would enjoy.
Yeah so what was the reaction?
People’s reactions were really positive and encouraging. I was surprised by that. Jay Armstrong is the comic who runs that open mic and he came up to me when I finished and said “that was really your first time? You did pretty good!” That just made me feel good. It was just a small interaction, but it stuck with me. People did laugh, but I wasn’t amazing. I did mess up my jokes and I did stutter, but I still felt good.
So that gave you enough umph for you to go “I’m going to keep doing this!”?
Yes. It was enough encouragement for me to keep going. If you try something and you’re so good at it, where do you go from there? The point of trying new things is to build skills and experience.
What’s this past year been like? You do comedy all the time now!
Yeah I do it a couple times a week. I’ve been doing bar shows. I’ve gotten to do Funny Bone and Go Bananas. I was a finalist in the Funniest Person in Cincinnati. That was really exciting. I felt really good about that.
That’s very cool! What are you hoping to do with comedy?
I’d really like to see if I’m at the point where I could put clips online and maybe even get some work.
Yeah get people to pay you?
Possibly. That’s hopeful. And that might not happen right away, but it’s definitely a goal of mine.
So you may get this question a lot, but what’s it like being a female in the comedy world?
I think people almost need you to be better. It’s a little bit more pressure. I think it makes you stand out, so people are more likely to listen to what you have to say in the first place when you’re on stage. But you have about 30 seconds before they like you or decide they’re going to write you off. Women are pretty judgemental of each other and men kind of have it in their mind that women aren’t funny. I don’t think it’s my responsibility to prove that all women are funny or women are funny, it’s really just on me to prove that I’m funny.
That’s all so interesting. I have heard it brought up that women are jealous of each other and maybe that’s why women don’t always get the best reception. Why do you think that is?
I honestly think that’s the way we’ve evolved to be. I know it’s sad and I think it’s something you can be aware of and make better, but I think women have evolved to compete with each other. It might be something from the way that were bred (laughs) or protecting your children or getting resources for your children. I don’t know. I think women have evolved to compete with one another and not as much with men. Now women are realizing “oh, we could have been competing with men the entire time!” (laughs)
Yeah so what’s that like? I mean you probably feel like you’re competing with men all the time in comedy.
I don’t feel threatened by men. I just naturally don’t. I’m kind of dominant and a little aggressive. I don’t feel threatened by men, in comedy or in anything else.
That’s good! So what would you describe your comedic style as?
I think I’m still figuring that out a little bit. I think I’m kind of a mid to late 20 something-year-old woman who’s figuring things out and seeing humor in her experiences. I tend to be a little dry and a little dark (laughs).
Do you think people are expecting you to be dry and dark?
No. I don’t think they expect me to be funny in the first place, but they don’t expect me to be dark or dirty. I look pretty wholesome.
Well cool! So you have another business too. You also started Cincy Spray Tan just a few months ago?
That’s a new venture with a good friend just like CincyClean was a venture with a good friend. I’ve been getting spray tans for years. I think that tanning isn’t something that you need to do, but if you’re going for that look, it’s so much safer to get a spray tan than go out in the sun or go to a tanning bed. That’s part of why I’m so passionate about it. It’s like wearing make up all over your body. It gives you a little confidence boost. The concept of mobile spray tan I thought was a good business idea because we’re not opening up a brick and mortar. Were going to people’s homes and giving them spray tans. Its good for them because it’s a lot more comfortable to get a spray tan in your own home and it’s good for us because it gives me a flexible schedule where I don’t have to be in a shop all day or pay someone to be in a shop all day. With CincyClean, a majority of our business comes from online traffic. We want Cincy Spray Tan to be the same. People are on their phones and they’re on their computers constantly, so I think that this is the future of business. There are businesses that haven’t really been done that way yet.
Okay well I guess we can go here next. What was your childhood like?
That’s a fun question!
I know. Let’s just jump on over there!
I had a really good childhood. I come from a big family. I’m the middle child of five children. My mom stayed home and homeschooled with us. I homeschooled until high school. So my childhood was different. People have a lot of stereotypes about homeschooling. I think for my parents, homeschooling was about letting your children have some freedom to be themselves and about the majority of your love and influence coming from your family. My parents had a lot to give us. I’m close to my siblings still. I talk to most of them every day. I’m close to my parents as well. I had a very good childhood. We didn’t have a lot of money but my parents gave me so much. They instilled me with so much principle and values, and so much love.
So you have four siblings?
Yeah I’m one of five and I’m in the middle. I have middle child syndrome and I think that’s where doing stand up comedy really comes from. I’ve always been interested in theatre and music, and I did more of that when I was younger. Now it’s stand up comedy.
Yeah and wasn’t your dad like a pastor too?
Both of my parents are ordained ministers.
What was that like growing up?
It’s not always what people think. People think of evangelical Christians being strict or putting down a lot of rules. We had a lot of rules, but I think that who you are as a person isn’t really defined by your religion or by the church you choose to go to. If your values are to love other people, that’s going to show no matter what you believe.
Yeah because I remember you saying that you grew up in a religious household but you’re not so much now.
I’m not religious. I’m not religious. I wouldn’t consider myself an atheist, probably more agnostic or even pagan (laughs).
But you’re still close to your parents. How do they feel about that?
I think that in our society, there’s this idea that if you don’t agree with someone, you hate them or you don’t like them, and that’s just simply not true. You can completely disagree with someone and love them for who they are and accept them.
So they just accept you for who you are?
They would prefer I be more like them just like someday I’ll prefer for my children to be just like me, but they are still able to listen to me and accept what I think with kindness. They’ll still talk to be about what they believe and what’s important to them and they should be able to do that and I should be able to do that too because we’re adults. Your relationship with your parents and siblings shifts when you get older and it should.
So it’s still a very good relationship?
It is and I’m not against what they believe. I think that biblical principles are things you can apply to your life and your values without being a born-again Christian.
So what was it like going to high school after being homeschooled?
I’ve always been naturally pretty social. I was weird, but I think I would have been weird even if I had gone to elementary school (laughs).
What high school was it?
I went to a baptist school that doesn’t even exist anymore. Central Baptist Academy. The good thing about them sending me there after being homeschooled was that compared to a baptist high school, my parents would seem really relaxed and free-spirited (laughs). I went to a very strict high school.
How was it strict?
Oh my gosh. We had a very strict dress code. We actually had uniforms. Girls had to wear skirts to their knees. We had to pray before every class, we went to chapel every Thursday. It was very strict. I did get in trouble a little bit my first year there. It was an adjustment period.
What sorts of things did you get in trouble for?
I got in trouble for swearing. Got a Saturday school. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. I got in trouble for talking in class, I got in trouble for not asking to do things. I just wasn’t used to it and that’s okay. The good thing about my parents is they didn’t take my side over the teacher’s side or my principals side, even though the school was strict. They said “we’ve chosen to send you here so we have to follow the rules now. Do what you’re supposed to do.” I think that’s a really valuable lesson.
What’s being a woman mean to you?
I think that being a woman means to me is you have to be your own person. At the end of the day, you’re only going to look yourself in the mirror. It’s just going to be you and yourself. Our society tries to tell women what they should be like, and that’s on both sides of the spectrum. What should a woman be like? You have to be yourself and you have to love yourself, and be your own biggest advocate. That’s important.
What are you most passionate about?
I’d say my relationships with other people and making sure they know that I care about them.
Who are your most important relationships right now?
My husband is my most important relationship. We’ve been together since I was a teenager. We have a very special relationship. He’s my biggest supporter. When you really love someone, you just want them to be happy. He just supports me in everything that I do and I try to do the same for him.
How did you know you wanted to spend your life with him?
I’ve never respected anyone my age as much as I respect him. I know that sounds weird and I think he’s said the same thing. We genuinely enjoy being together, not because we’re the same but because we respect each other. There’s nothing boring about him to me. He’s interesting and he’s fun.
What has had the greatest impact on you?
I’d say my parents had the greatest impact. They just loved their children unconditionally and love other people. My mom homeschooled us, always volunteered in the church and worked with people with special needs. She’s just a giver. I think I’ve always admired that and it stuck with me.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
I remember when I was 12 and I was at a pool party. I was changing in my friend’s room and I didn’t lock the door. A boy I liked walked in on me. It was embarrassing but it also just felt so vulnerable. And when you’re 12 and 13, your embarrassing moment never just stops right there. When you’re an adult and something embarrassing happens, people are usually pretty kind and just let it stop. But I mean it was just weeks of people asking him what I looked like naked (laughs).
What do you think our world needs more of?
I think that people need to realize that their life and their feelings are their own responsibility. It’s important to just be responsible for yourself. To be there for those who need it. I generally have this idea that everything that happens to me is my fault. It’s not good, but that’s how I feel.
How do you feel when you put on a dress?
I love wearing dresses. I feel pretty, I feel womanly. But it also just feels right to put on a dress. It feels good.
Anything else you wanna add?
No I appreciate you interviewing me. When you said “do you want to wear dresses and talk about yourself?” I said “well of course I do!”