Ajumma EXP shines a light on Jinah Kim, a LosAngeles-based mother, hustler, and broadcast journalist. You can catch her covering the upcoming Winter Olympics in Seoul, on the red carpet at the Oscars, and sometimes rocking the karaoke mic in dark, smoky bars with no windows.
Tell us about yourself
I have a lot of friggin’ titles. I’m a West Coast correspondent for NBC News, primarily reporting part-time for MSNBC and NBC News Channel. As a reporter, I get to cover fun things like the Oscars, Golden Globes and the 2018 Winter Olympics. I also get to cover not-so-fun things like massive wildfires and Harvey Weinstein.
I’m also a business owner. I co-founded WorldWise Productions in 2008, with 20 full and part-time employees. We produce kick-ass training, educational and marketing videos primarily for major educational, health and corporate clients.
I recently became an inventor, creating a line of children’s car seat covers called the Niko Children’s Car Seat Cover. I’m also mom to a beautiful, amazing 4 year old named Niko (Korean name: Dong Jin), two wonderful step-children Hanna and Jack Henry, and wife to Matt, who’s bar none the hottest man on the planet. Oh - and I hold a CA real estate license for those times when I need to buy and sell stuff.
What does being an Ajumma mean to you?
When you see an Ajumma, you instantly know. It’s like an Eastern European Babushka. When you see that scarf around their heads, whiskers coming out of their chins and thick old coat and slumped shoulders - that’s a babushka. An Ajumma is the equivalent in Korea - feisty, old-school, older-but-very-active Korean women who never leave home without a visor and never enter a home without changing into plastic slippers. That’s what I’m embodying.
Ajummas are known to have super-human strength and abilities. What is your Ajumma power?
I’d say juggling 3 or 4 jobs, being a mom and wife, speaking 4 languages and still cooking a mean-ass dinner ever night comes from my Ajumma-ness. Oh - and yes, I peel all the skin off the fruit and cut them up into beautiful slices - squatting in my chair in front of you while you’re still finishiing your dinner.
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome?
One of the saddest times in my life came when my father was diagnosed with ALS - also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a cruel disease that wastes away your muscles until you can’t breathe anymore. My dad only lived 18 months after he was diagnosed, and the last 6 months of his life were horrific. As a result, I’ve become very active with the ALS Association. I'll walk, throw an ice bucket over my head - whatever it takes - every year for the rest of my life until there is a cure.
Also, my husband and I tried for the longest time to get preggo. I got pregnant twice on my own before AND had two IVF procedures, but nothing happened. When we finally made up our minds to adopt from Korea, I got pregnant 2 months later with Niko, at 40 years old. THAT was by far the best thing to ever happen to me. I love my son more than life itself.
Sage Ajumma advice?
Women have had to put up with A LOT throughout history - mostly to do with men - and STILL kicked butt. So in the 21st Century, there should be very few excuses why you can’t be the Super Woman (or Super Ajumma) you want to be.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Puffy Cheetos all the way. It doesn’t matter what kind of diet I’m on (and let’s be clear - I’m ALWAYS on a diet), if a bag presents itself to me somehow, I never say no to this opportunity.