Elevate Your Cool: Cristen Mills and Tash Boué Dopens Digital Space With Artsy, Tech-Savvy , Fashion-Forward Mash-Up Site ‘Heart Of Cool’
Bruuuhhhhh…..its taken me weeks to complete this interview. Let me tell you why.
In the years I’ve spent writing and interviewing (and I’ve interviewed TONS of folks), I have yet to encounter just one person so intricate and complex that it takes actual TIME to completely unravel the entire experience. This time…I met TWO.
When I first sat down to chat with Tasha Boué and Cristen Mills about their joint endeavor HeartofCool.com , I had no idea what to expect. After skimming through only one sentence on the site, I couldn’t wrap my brain around what real purpose this conversation would serve. Not only were our styles of content delivery so distinctly different, but, do bloggers REALLY interview other bloggers?
Luckily, Tash and Cris don’t consider themselves bloggers; at least not in the traditional sense (and now neither do I). Less than 3 minutes into the covo, it became immensely clearly, that these women were not bloggers. Not even close. They were digital revolutionaries.
In a space where many fashion & celebrity bloggers dominate the market by selling the idea of “trend as cool”, or boasting their “10 Must Have’s to Snag Rihanna’s Swag“, Heart Of Cool completely challenges the scope of socially acceptable “coolness”, redefining it as merely….being self-aware.
“Heart of Cool is a company by creatives, for creatives . its not all about being dope and fly. But, more so about what makes YOU dope and fly. And that’s just being yourself and being authentic. Doing things that really represent you and what you’re in alignment with. Understanding that coolness can’t be duplicated, its something that you harness inside.”- Cris
They don’t just go against the grain. They HARVEST those little bastards! YAASSS!
So, as you likely imagined, what began as an interview, transcended far beyond the typical “question & answer” dance and into a real dialog between creatives. It became a no holds barred space of energy, free flowing ideas and creative freedom. I was so TURNT!
As the conversation continued. I was faced with another challenge. How could I contextualize what this “interview had become? How….the… FAWK….could I capture what the snatching of my entire creative life felt like… simply using my words? How could I POSSIBLY reduce such an awe inspiring encounter into a simple “interview”
The answer was, I couldn’t and I refused to keep trying. Their auras were far too powerful for that. They’d legit Super Saiyan’d the entire shit out of my plans and preconceived notions. And I liked it.
It became less about battling the question of whether or not to feature other “bloggers” and more about discovering who these women were as human beings. It became about sharing ideas and collaborating with other creatives in an industry as selfish as entertainment. More importantly, it became about showcasing and celebrating the inspirational, trailblazing, forward-thinking women that they were.
So…. Just who ARE these chicks that I’ve just spent the last 6 paragraphs throwing my blogger panties at??? Fine..I’ll get to it
Cris X Tash…
Cris: My father was a fortune 500 hundred business man and my mom did Prison ministry and life coaching. So, they always instilled in me the importance of going to school. I started at Arista records, as an intern while I was still a senior in high school. I then went to Spelman. When I was at Spellman, I interned at this entertainment law firm called JLPC and worked with different producers like Jonte Austin. When I graduated Spellman, I went and got a double masters in Global Media and Global Communications .
I met Common at an inaugural ball for President Obama while representing my father. I was kinda gun-ho about becoming an agent at that point. But, my dad taught me to never turn down an opportunity. So, we conversed. I sent him my resume and met with a lot of different members of his team. Before you knew it, I started working for him.
About 4-5 years into working for him (Common), I had this call of social entrepreneurship. You know when you’re running someone’s life, its kinda of challenging to really run your own. So, I ended up at a point in my life where I had to make the decision to develop and grow.He gave me his blessing and it was an amicable transition.
When we met, she (Tash) worked for Jamie Foxx for 10 plus years and was transitioning into other things like creative directing. I went from being Common’s right hand, to stepping into my purpose. So, we were just really in alignment.”
Tash: I was with Foxx for over 10 years. I was his creative director, stylist, pretty much his everything. Anything fashion related that included him, that was me. Including Calvin Klein. I did this big deal with Calvin Klein for the Oscars and it went really well.
But I kind of hit a celing while working for Foxx. Well, that’s how I describe it. Because, I felt that, as creative as my mind was , I wasn’t going to be able to make him keep up with me. If that makes sense.
I made a decision to put my resignation in and step down from the position ; which he understood .When you’re with someone for so long, they’re able to see you evolve and gradually become who you’re supposed to become. So, I think he understood.
When I transitioned out of working with Foxx, I already knew that it would be something creative that I would embody next.
Cris: I had a think tank at Art Basel in Miami called Conspire and Tash was there. We’d known each other before but hadn’t really had any kind of creative exchange/ideation building. But there, we just became so enamored with each other and our journeys .
Tash: I think Cristen and I had a great meeting of the minds. We knew we were gonna do something together but we e just didn’t know what. And really, we were still building a friendship. I guess that’s the best way to explain it because, we had known each other, but before then, we hadn’t really hung out or had close interactions/dealing with each other. So it was like “yea, I know her, but I don’t really KNOW her” So, as we were building from a human being stand point. I think a lot of the core values that both of us hold shined.
Cris We didn’t jump straight into fashion. We knew we wanted to do something lifestly and fashion related because that’s where the culture is. But first, she became the creative director for this other company I was working with called Wardrobe . She (Tash) was so amazing and so gifted creatively, that I asked her creative direct our launch for the concept at Art Basel. After that, we decided to just wrap our minds around what we wanted to do with art, culture and lifestyle and fashion and how we want to harness our ideas.. And that’s how Heart of Cool was birthed.
Birth Of Cool
Cris: For me, there’s two things I want to do: 1. Start businesses. 2. Put a portion of the money that those businesses make into an economic fund and allow it to be seed capitol for other social entrepreneurs as well. Not just making money but building leaders ,building businesses and doing commerce together . Using our resources together to just, you know, do dope shit.
Tash: At the time, things were really taking off with Wardrobe and we’d got to LA and were like, “well what are we gonna do next” . Then, a little birdie landed on my shoulder was like “Heart Of Cool” At the time, I didn’t even know what it meant. But I remember saying to Cristen , “ what do you think about THAT?” and she was like “ I love it”.
I don’t think I expected her to say she loved it right off hand. You know, sometimes as a creative, you can have amazing ideas but, they only seem amazing to YOU. When you begin to share them with others, that’s how you truly find out where it lies. So, when she said she love it, it was like “ that’s the name of our company. THAT’s what we’re gonna call it”. From that day, we made the decision to buckle up our boot straps and hit the ground running.
What’s In A Name?? EVERY-DAMN-THANG!
Tash: I think the name, which is why I love it, embodies Cris and I . Cuz you know, what people think is cool is not always whats really cool. When you realize that just you being who you are can set the tone for what’s cool, that’s a new level of power. And that’s what the Heart of Cool really is. You can come in here and you can be yourself. You can feel comfortable. You can literally do any and everything that you want without any judgement being held against you.
Cris: For us its about being authentic. Its about being who you are. Its almost catered towards, a more educated consumer. But when I say that I don’t mean books. I mean, someone who isn’t just going to wear something because Rihanna’s wearing it. Theyre gonna research they brand. They’re gonna find out what practices the brand has and make sure thaty’re fully in alignment. They’re gonna make sure that it connects with who they are. Because, you can wear the same thing Rihanna has on but….you’re NOT Rihanna. You know?
I believe that there is no such thing as outshining people. We all have our individual light, and when we come together, we shine even brighter. So, I’m saying that to say that no one can “steal your shine’ or anything like that. So, you need to tap into your own individuality and your own authenticity and be able to celebrate all the different styles around .
Mind ……MUTHF’KIN BLOWN! #GetChuSome!
Just as inspired as I was and want more??? Visit Cris & Tash at HeartofCool.com. You might also want to follow them on Instagram for even more dope- ish @heartofcool.