At 14-years-old, Karla Moy opened up a dictionary and searched for a new persona. She would pick random word pairings, quickly search the new name on Google and see what came up. She stumbled across “hustle” and was impressed by it’s multiple definitions. After the required search returned little, hustleGRL was born.
So who is hustleGRL? The better question might be who is she not? She lives by the fact that the average millionaire has seven streams of income. A graphic designer by trade (before I showed up for our interview, she was working on a flyer for Toronto Raptors’ forward Amir Johnson’s birthday party), she has her own lifestyle blog, is a program leader at Toronto’s The Remix Project, promotes and shoots concerts and manages digital marketing for the singer JMSN, just to name a few of her self-described hustles.
She’s also one of the biggest names in Toronto’s hip hop scene. She created Drake’s first fan site, before Comeback Season was even released (and he called her out on Queen St. for it). She’s got her ears to the streets and has coordinated trips through the city for Mac Miller, J. Cole and Odd Future. She puts on an annual Canadian Music Week showcase. As Complex writes, “what she says is what goes in Toronto.”
The hustleGRL brand is built on her love to share music with her city.
“I love Toronto. It’s a beautiful city inside and out. The people are beautiful, the city is beautiful, I spent most of my childhood here. It’s the city that shaped me into who I am today, so I have so much love for it.”
“There’s so much talent here. The more platforms you create for these artists, the more people know about them. If I could do it for free I would. When I hear new music it creates a vibe, it creates a feeling and I don’t even know how to explain the feeling, but it feels great … I want to be able to share that moment with people.”
Setting the tone is what hustleGRL does best. She shies away from the spotlight, and is much more comfortable behind the scenes.
“You can be an artist but you’ll only last for so long. But if you’re being the person behind the scenes, those are the people that matter. You’re creating superstars, you’re keeping the ecosystem going, you’re creating the momentum. You’re the one collecting paycheques at the end of the day. You’re making shit happen. You’re a boss. I like to be a boss.”
“Boss” is a good way to describe the way hustleGRL carries herself. She’s an influencer. Just ask her 15k+ Twitter followers or the students peering through the office window of The Remix Project.
“The thing that inspires me is seeing the influence I have on others firsthand. When I see another young woman come up to me and compliment me and telling me they want to do what I do and I helped them become a better version of themselves — that to me is everything.”
“To be able to give back and to be successful, and to be able to inspire others based off what I do and I do what I love is amazing. For me it’s not even like I’m trying to be the best, I’m just being myself. And I want to be great, I want to be able to inspire others. To see that response, it keeps me going.”
The world is changing. It’s no longer weird to have multiple projects on the go. In fact, it’s becoming the new normal. Embrace the side-hustle. It can be the best way to explore your interests, get creative, and be a badass boss like Karla.
Image provided by Karla Moy.