It’s hard to take your eyes off of Khiet, who also goes by Kit. He has the face of an angel and a body built for sin. It’s no wonder that Texas-based photographer Mark Henderson, who is known for his male erotic snaps, wanted to work with him. The cover photo and some of the more sumptuous photos in the gallery below are exactly the kind of luxurious interiors that Mark likes to work with.
Back to Kit. Look beyond the muscular exterior and you’ll find the story of an immigrant who has worked hard to build not just his body but also a career.
Born in Saigon and raised in Vietnam, Kit emigrated to the US when he was only 14 years old. He graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Science – he was going to be an electrical engineer! But some years after graduating, he found a new passion instead: floral design.
This art form was a perfect fit for the Vietnamese hunk, who has always been creative as a child, he said. Through his designs, he considers himself “a messenger of love, happiness, and sometimes comfort and hope for those who have lost loved ones.”
“It’s a very satisfying feeling knowing you’ve helped to make someone’s day.”
Thank you for joining us for a feature on our website Kit! Perhaps we can start with the work that you do. What got you interested in flowers?
I kind of fell into the business actually. If you told me 10 years ago I’d own a flower shop, I’d laugh and say no way. My aunt (who used to own a flower shop for eight years) wanted to team up with my mother and myself, so it ended up being a family business. I’ve always liked flowers, I just didn’t know that I would end up becoming a floral designer and loving it so much.
Do you have a favourite flower? Why?
This might sound typical (like most Vietnamese) but I would have to say one of my favorite flowers is the lotus and anything in the lily family (rose lily, waterlily, etc), I have a tattoo of both the lotus and calla lily on my chest/arm. I love these two flowers for many reasons. It’s the national flower of Vietnam, the symbolism in it and the versatility of the plant/flower itself. The seeds can be used as food; dried lotus pods can be used as decoration, and fun fact, the lotus silk is the most expensive silk in the world because it has to be hand harvested and produced by artisans in Vietnam.
I’m curious, as a floral designer, how do you decide what kind of arrangements suit what occasions?
Ultimately, it’s all about executing visions, whether it’s mine or the client’s. I usually try my best to get a sense of what the recipient of the arrangement is like, their aesthetic, or what we think they’ll like. I usually get some sort of parameters (style, colours, certain must-have flowers, etc) and inspiration stems from there too. As far as inspiration, it really depends on a lot of different factors. Sometimes, the container inspires the flowers, or vice versa. Sometimes I even get inspiration from the way a particular branch curls or flows.
Have you made any arrangements for anyone famous? Tell us about how that came about.
Working in Bellevue, there’s no shortage of famous potential clients. I’ve sent flowers to Bill Gates’ wife – Melinda Gates, and the Nordstrom Family when Blake Nordstrom passed away a couple years ago.
I’m also currently the in-house florist for Gucci Bellevue, and I’ve sent flowers most recently to singer Ciara Wilson. The clients sending the flowers were Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union. Ciara loved my arrangement so much that she posted a photo of it on her IG story, then both Dwayne and Gab reposted that post (and of course I took screenshots of all of them lol). Ciara did an IG story span of all the arrangments she got and mine definitely was the biggest and baddest.
What’s the hardest and easiest thing about being a floral designer?
The hardest thing I’d say is how labour intensive it is. The holidays (Valentine’s, Christmas, Mother’s Day, etc) are brutal. Owning my shop, I’d be pulling 50 to 60 hours every week. You’re never really off from work. Even when I’m at the gym, I would edit photos in between sets to post on social media. In addition, At any given time, I would always have some sort of cuts or wounds from being pricked by thorns on my hands.
The easiest… Hmm, I would say, replicating a picture of an arrangement, because it’s very brainless and requires almost no design skills.
What do you want your creations to say about you and your aesthetic?
I love playing with different textures and especially combining various shapes and flows. So when I create my work, I want people to look at it and immediately be able to tell the direction of the flow, and the shape of the arrangement. In addition, how cohesive everything is, every stem is there for a reason. Last but not least, the colours are also harmonious and convey the correct mood that it’s supposed to give off to the recipient.
Interested to get to know Kit or more about his floral creations? Check out his Instagram here.
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