10 Things You May Not Know About Me


If your Facebook News Feed looks anything like mine, you’ve been learning a LOT about your friends this week.

10 things, 7 things, 27 things…we’re self-disclosin’ all OVER the place.

While some folks clearly missed my video on The TMI Test, most of the status updates I’ve seen are filled with fun, interesting, endearing facts that I really do LOVE to learn about my friends and acquaintances. It’s called vulnerability, people.

And I think it’s pretty great.

So in the spirit of sharing, today’s post will cover:

  • Why strategic self-disclosure is CRITICAL to healthy relationships
  • A super-helpful framework for categorizing the information you do (or don’t) share with others
  • 10 things you didn’t know about me (including a tattoo, a jail threat, and details of my upcoming national TV debut…what?!!)

The Johari Window

Back in my teaching days, one of the first things we talked about in the basic communication course was this concept of self-disclosure. And you can’t really talk about self-disclosure without giving a shout-out to The Johari Window. (Social Penetration or “The Onion” Theory is another goodie, but I’ll save that for another day.)

Named after its creators, Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in 1955, The Johari window is divided into four quadrants:

Open: What you know about yourself and others know about you.
Blind: What others know about you that you don’t.
Hidden: What you know about yourself that others don’t.
Unknown: What nobody knows about you, including you!

The idea of effective self-disclosure is to increase your OPEN quadrant by sharing and learning about yourself with others. That’s EXACTLY what trends like this do by making the traditionally “hidden” information public.

Likewise, when someone asks “What’s one word you’d use to describe me?” they’re shrinking the “blind” and to expand the “open” quadrant.

Get it?

The best stuff gets shared in the open. THAT’S how we get to know each other. We share information. We reduce uncertainty. I tell you my stuff, you tell me yours.

When we know each other, we can understand each other. We can work together more effectively and enjoy more meaningful relationships.

Strategic Self-Disclosure

Came up with this notion while working with my dream clients this year. We spent a lot of time chatting about what to include (and what not to include) on their “about” pages.

While you know I’m ALL about showing up in an authentic way, sometimes self-disclosure can come across as selfish. (We’ve all had – and BEEN – that Chatty Cathy who shows up to dominate the conversation and talk about herself the whole time. It’s not attractive.)

When I come to your about page after reading a super-helpful blog post I found through Facebook, I’m looking to find out more about how you can help me. I don’t care about your favorite color or biggest fear….yet.

So I recommend what I call “strategic self-disclosure.” For most entrepreneurs, it’s better to share the personal stuff AFTER you’ve established credibility and expertise.

When (and where) you’re comfortable, reveal things that you think will round out your story. What you think folks will find interesting, funny, or even inspiring. Share things that they may not expect (we like to be surprised!). As a general rule, the about page is NOT a good place for deep, dark confessions. Also a good topic for another day.

As I always like to say, “You don’t have to tell them EVERYTHING; you just have to tell them ENOUGH.” (Tweet that!)

So, while I was WILDLY tempted to be too cool for this “game,” I’m totally not.

Today I’m happy to (strategically) share with you:

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

(Complete with the not-so-subliminal messages I’m trying to send you in parentheses.)

Spelling Bee1. In third grade, I was so intensely afraid of public speaking that I intentionally threw the school spelling bee and got 2nd runner up. I couldn’t BEAR the thought of advancing to the next level and having to spell in front of an audience even bigger than the one in my elementary school cafeteria.

(I’ve come a long way, baby.)

2. Hablo español bastante bien. (Fue mi subespecialidad en la universidad.) Estudié en en Chile por el verano (invierno) de 2005, y me encanta practicar cuando tengo la oportunidad!

(My word-nerdiness transcends language barriers.)


3. I have a teeny purple anchor tattoo on my foot. Got it with a group of my Delta Gamma sisters at TCU. It’s the symbol for HOPE, and I can’t talk about it without spouting a fave bible verse: We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. – Hebrews 6:19

(I’m SUCH a rebel…totally cooler than you thought I was.)

99 KMS Dance2

4. I’ve loved my husband since I was 13. And as the resident “old married couple” of our high school, our classmates votes us prom king + queen. I share plenty more stories and embarrassing pictures on my personal blog, but in a coconut shell: He’s my lobster.

(When we got married on our “10-year anniversary,” he knew good-and-well what he was getting into. Don’t let him tell you otherwise.)

5. I’ve never dyed my hair. It started out as a light brown, then grew a red “streak” up through the middle sometime in elementary school. That said, the day is coming soon. Amidst the mass of auburn, I have an alarming number of white strands for my age. Sad face.

(Bear with me; it’s an emotional time.)

Red Suitcase0001

6. Said ‘do is naturally curly! I straighten it for photo shoots because it’s just more predictable, but I’d LOVE for someone to teach me how to manage it better. I feel like I missed an important lesson in Girl 101.

(I clearly have unresolved hair issues.)

7. I only got one B in college (master’s included). First semester. Micro-economics. I’d been on the bubble all semester, and it came down to the final exam. It was probably an 89.4; I couldn’t dare check.

(I’m a nerd. And getting that B outta the way right off the bat was oddly liberating.)

8. Over 1.8 million annual visitors have to listen to me speak for three minutes before they visit one of the most iconic sites in world history, the USS Arizona Memorial.

(I’m literally a big, 30-foot deal…at the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center.)

9. This is more of a confession: On a slow day during my 4th grade summer, I prank-called Jenny Craig. The lady who answered the phone told me she DID have caller ID and WOULD be calling the police. I cried.

(Again – total rebel. And did caller ID take the fun out of the childhood phone experience or what?)

10. My guys and I will make our national TV debut in a few weeks, as the series premiere (!!) of a new show called Buying Hawaii. (Set your DVR! Monday December 2nd at 10/9c) We’ve never seen the finished ep, so you and I together will discover if I have a boogie in my nose or if I should’ve started with the sunless tanner a few days earlier. Shorts on national TV?! What was I thinking?!

(Check your local listings to see if yours is one of the 60 million households subscribed to the channel, Discovery Destination America, and stay tuned for watch party details! I’m dreaming up something fun.)

Discovery Destination America

And that’s it. See what I did there?

Strategic Self-Disclosure

Everything I just told you was intentional. To give you a more complete picture of who I am in hopes that you’ll know, like, and trust me more as a result.

Did it work?? Hmm?

Your Turn

In the comments below, tell me:

  • Which of my “things” is your fave and why?
  • What’s one interesting, entertaining, or unusual thing that most folks don’t know about YOU?

After you leave a comment, share a link to this post and use it as as your excuse for “playing the game” with YOUR Facebook friends!

Have a beautiful week, friend.

To the open quadrant!





P.S. To watch the promo of Buying Hawaii, come visit my Facebook page. (You can also just turn your TV to Discovery Destination America. The promos run almost every commercial break!)



  1. Pramilda

    This is hilarious Nikki! I didn’t know you had curly hair! Love it!

    I too would love to just know manage my curly mop!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      heehee ;) Glad you liked it, Pramilda.

      One of my amazing dream clients (Dawn Falcone) recommended Ouidad products this week. (I noticed her GORGE curls and had to ask.)

      Totally going to give ’em a try!

  2. Pam

    Yes, Nikki, it worked. I loved you before…and the more I learn about you, the more I love you! I think my favorite thing was about how long you and your husband have been together. Something about me that very few people know? I was the lead singer in an R&B band in college! Great post! I may have to do one of these getting-to-know-me posts on my blog, too…xoxo

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Oh, PAM. What a nice thing to say :) Thank you!

      And WHAAAT?! I need a video link to check out this R&B band. I love some good slow jams. (There goes #11!)

  3. Tonya Nelms

    My favorite is #8 because it was such a discovery for us! We knew you from somewhere, just couldn’t remember where!!! Until you checked the mail in uniform! We were so excited we almost asked for an autograph!
    Something interesting or unusual about me… Hmmm…. I was on the dance team in middle and high school! I was even captain of the dance team!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Pahaha I forgot about that, Tonya!

      That was hilarious. Adam asked, “So what are you doing in this neighborhood?” as if I was doing door-to-door park ranger meet ‘n’ greets. No dude, I live here. You just normally see me walking to the mailbox in my PJs.

      The hat really throws people for a loop ;)

      Miss you, Captain. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Desiree East

    Oh man, I’m SUCH a sucker for lists like this!! It’s one of my fave ways to get to know other bloggers on a personal level – so I appreciate you sharing this, Nikki!! And I gotta say, whenever I see someone’s old school pics (you are so brave!) it just brings bad memories of my 7th grade picture…in a nutshell, my best friend and I decided that it was a good idea to braid my hair into tiny little braids and then add permanent solution to it! Epic FAIL. (I wanted to get a permanent ‘crimped’ look). LOLOLOL. Anyways, it was fun reading your list!! And congrats on the TV Debut! Please, keep us posted when it airs ;-)

    P.S. Here is my list of ‘Random Facts About Desi’: http://blog.desireeeast.com/fun-facts-about-desiree

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      LOVE It, Desi! You gotta come to Hawaii in 2014, dude :)

      1. Desiree East

        Definitely planning on it…long overdue!!

  5. claire stone

    Aw, I love the cute pictures of you as a child! I remember wanting to do a prank call as a kid, but even before caller ID, I was worried about getting caught. I put some self disclosures on my new ‘about me’ page – I’d love to know if anyone else thinks that being in a world class marching band is useful information for a nutritional superhero!! http://www.claire-stone.com/about-me/

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown


      Totally appreciate a world-class marching band. My high school’s award-winning “KM4B” always got a standing O at football games!

      And I have ALWAYS been afraid of getting in trouble. This is such a random story because I was doing it by myself. My best friend was usually my partner in crime, but for whatever reason we couldn’t play that day!

      The best part is that I then LIED to my sister (who was “babysitting” me at the time) when she asked why I was crying. I said it was because I missed my mom, who had been spending time getting our new house ready for move-in.

      What a little weasel!

      1. claire stone

        Now that is brilliant – I love how quickly your brain came up with a good rational reason for the tears!!!
        I forgot that in the States, a marching band is pretty common. Here in the UK, people think it’s hilarious that I used to march around a field – at least, they do until I say how great it was, and that I met my hubby in the band!

        1. Nikki Elledge Brown

          Ha! So sneaky I was. Sad :/

          And I *totally* appreciate marching around a field. I was on the drill team (also a superstar, award-winning group…not sure how I ended up on it…), and football dances were my favorite!

          (High kicks were a specialty!)

  6. Susan

    After 50 years of research in the trenches. Data from my own use and that of many, many curly-haired girlfriends…
    For curly hair…
    ISO products
    Bouncy Creme (you put a small amount in and work thru your hair after washing)
    Be sure to finger curl (in layers) and let dry naturally if at all possible.
    If not possible do NOT dry to ‘dry’. Only to lightly damp.

    ISO also makes Bouncy conditioner (which I use) and bouncy shampoo (which doesn’t seem to make any diff).
    It’s the Bouncy Creme that is the magic.

  7. Kelly Phillips

    NIkki!! I saw the promo for buying Hawaii last night and I recognized you from that 3 second clip! Who says you can’t get to know someone just from Facebook? Can’t wait to watch it.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      That’s amazing, Kelly.

      I love that as soon as I saw “Kelly Phillips” your beautiful profile image came to mind :)

      From what I hear it may be the 2nd episode of the premiere night, showing at 10:30/9:30c. EEK!

  8. Chantelle Adams

    HAHA, loved them all!!!! You and your hubby are SO cute… seriously that is so amazing… goosebumps like crazy. I am all about love stories!

    My little known fact… hmmm… that is tough… I was chosen as Miss Kamloops and even got Miss Congeniality (which I guess had never before been awarded to the same gal). But don’t think this is a huge thing because Kamloops is a small town and it is not your typical pageant…. no bikini contest or evening gowns here… just a speech, talent and interview… so it was about the brain not the beauty and I was good with that!!!! I still have the tiara and like to tell my boys that I was a real princess once upon a time :)

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Kamploops!? Do you know Erin + Lisa of http://www.themilkyway.ca? Totally where they are too, I think!

      And dude. It’s totally a big deal. Beauty AND brains is your winning combination!

      (I still have my tiaras and sashes from high school in a box at my parents’ house. Even if I never have a daughter, I’ve got 8 nieces who will love to play with them :))

    2. claire stone

      Awww, Kamloops – we toured there in our marching band (see above) in 1985 – and I remember having so much fun there. I hope it’s still a wonderful place.

  9. Nika

    Hi Nikki,
    Your childhood photo is SOOOO super-cute, love it!
    I only saw one other friend posting this game this week, what surprised me about it was what I had in common with her and with you also,
    #2 #3 and #4 are all true of me too!
    my tat is of course different but I have a very small tattoo in my inner ankle of a little blue crescent moon and star,
    In love with the hub for 20 years, married after 11,
    y tambien hablo español desde pequeña pero tambien hablo muy bien el Pourtuguese que lo estudie en la universidad y fui a vivir en Brazil.
    I would never want to post this game on Facebook,
    which is why I never post anything on facebook other then gigs when I am working for myself.
    congrats on your T.V. show, I will be watching for you if possible. and I can’t believe that hair color is natural I totally thought that auburn hair was a myth like unicorns!!!
    love and light-xoxo

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      jajaja (get it?) YES, auburn hair like mine occurs in nature. I’ll be sad to dye it one day, but it’ll be fun to play with shades of my darkest brown and my reddest red. Like my curls, my color has a mind of its own!

      Gracias por compartir, Nika! (Or should I say obrigada?)

  10. Wendy Mak

    Love love love! Gosh I hope they bring Buying Hawaii down under so I can watch it!!! Nikki on TV – what else could I want? :-) xx

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      So great to see you here in the comments, Wendy – I miss you!

      Will definitely see what I can share for those of you who can’t catch the episode on the tube ;)

  11. Kaye Putnam

    My absolute most favorite thing about this post is when you say you were wildly tempted to be too cool for the game. … because that’s EXACTLY what I was thinking when I saw everyone doing it (even while secretly loving learning the fun facts). Thanks for calling yourself – and me – out.

    P.S. We’re closing on a house in Westloch/Ewa right now. I can’t wait to see your house hunting adventure.

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Ha! Happy to call us out, Kaye :)

      Congrats on the new house! We’ve got plenty of buddies out in Ewa.

  12. Karen Taggart

    My fav is the fact that you’ve loved your hubby since you were 13! I’ve loved mine since I was 16 and he was 15, so you’ve got us beat. :)

    Something most people don’t know about me: I appeared in the Guinness Book of World Records (sometime in the 70s…ugh!) for the most people doing the same dance at the same time (Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis) and I appeared on the TV show Discoverama also dancing. Sadly we lost out to a dog act. Hahaha! Wish I had a video of either one to share, but alas…I do not. :)

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Aww man, Karen. I would love to see the videos! You’ll just have to make another dancing premiere :)

      Now that I think about it, my FIRST national TV appearance was on TRL in May 2004…I went to NYC and my girlfriend and I got seated in the front row in the studio. Had my sister record it, but never got to watch before it was accidentally deleted. Womp womp.

  13. Linda

    Nicky, you are so right about the progression of your audience’s interest. At least you got me done. First read (watched) something super helpful. Came back for more. Then, now, just went to your about page to find out more about YOU. And even that is fun, engaging, AND a teachable moment! One thing I can’t find is that it seems from testimonials that you do one on one coaching. But it’s not offered. However, I know I can reap heaps more benefits staying with the suggestions I have from you already. Thanks soooo much for what you offer!

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Thanks for the kind words (and insight), Linda!

      My first several months in business were all about the one-on-ones, and now it’s time to share what I learned from that on a bigger scale. This year the lion’s share of my work energy is directed at my dream *students* via A Course About Copy :)

  14. Lisa

    Your confession about prank calling Jenny Craig. Prank calling was a fun part of my childhood-no caller id and no call waiting.

    My interesting fact: I studied abroad in Tours, France for 3 months during my sophmore of college. I received a BA in French.

  15. Laurisa Condray

    I spent a summer in Chile in 1999! LOVED it! Sadly, I have managed to forget most of the Spanish I learned…although it is in there somewhere because I occasionally dream en Español!

  16. Susaye

    Wow! Nikki, I feel like I know you even better. Funny. I can relate to the B story. When I got my first and only B, I had an hour-long conference with my prof. I swear my obvious devastation was nothing she had seen before.

  17. Katriin


    I have crazy curly hair too, I’m about to take a about me page picture and really thinking about keeping it straight on a photo, cause they usually dont photograph well :) so I know what you’re talking about :) .

    1. Nikki Elledge Brown

      Totally get it! I like to know there’s a variety of photos available so that people know what I MAY actually look like if they see me at the grocery store :P

      Check out ACAC member http://sionasammartino.com/ for #curlygirl inspiration! (We need her secrets :))

  18. Nikkita Hope-Brown

    I LOVE this Nikki. It’s so funny. I actually first watched a video you did with Carrie last year and told a friend to watch it because you reminded me of myself – it was a bit weird! A good weird. And now, I’m doing ACAC (amazing btw!!)

    I love the tattoo story – it’s awesome!

    Re curls – I’ve got ’em too! Sometimes I fuzz my hair up a’la lion’s mane and, when I want to look less like a wild animal, I opt for a Brazilian blow dry. Do you have them in the US? It’s a conditioning treatment that takes all the fuzz out of your hair. Read: being able to blow dry your hair without using straighteners afterwards and not looking like you’ve been electrocuted! Bliss.

    Anyway, I better get back to re-writing my site. Thank you for being you – you really are amazing :-)

  19. Chance

    Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this website before but
    after browsing through many of the articles I realized it’s
    new to me. Regardless, I’m definitely pleased I found it and
    I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  20. Jane

    Thanks Nikki! I’ve been to Pearl Harbour and I THIIIIINK I remember your face. (I do remember it being the hottest longest public bus trip in history to get there!!) Thanks for the great info on your site. It’s all fantastic.

  21. Jesse

    Well, I loved it. Sadly, I pranked and refused to admit that to anyone beside the 4 other hoodlums I was hanging with. I absolutely hate disappointing, so heaven forbid I would have admitted that to someone before now. Another embarrassing story…I answered the phone when my parents were gone when I was in third grade. Back story, I have 5 brothers and there was a LOT of arguing and fighting. As the only girl, I had just told my older and younger brothers what they should be doing, but of course, they weren’t listening. So back to answering the phone. No one responded the first 3 times I said hello. So then, I proceeded to yell like I was yelling at my brothers. Finally, someone answered and I hung up. I was so completely embarrassed (didn’t think it could get worse). Well, it got worse. I saw the older girl who called at school the next day. She began to ask me about the conversation or lack there of. I denied it all because I was so ashamed of my behavior. 10 years later, I was dating a guy and they were best friends. Nope, never told him the whole 8 years I was with him. Now telling the story doesn’t sound so bad, but my stomach wrenching and temperature change begs to differ.
    Thanks for the great stories.

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