noun || yəNG ˈhefā
At a brunch a few weeks back, I found myself at a table with several other young woman sharing photos of men (really, boys) we were dating, answering questions on how we met whomever and sharing secrets that went from PG-13 to R within seconds. Trying my best to avoid any questions, I focused my attention on who originally had started the topic. I quickly realized it was cupid in the flesh of a beautiful black woman. She everything — how to catch "them," what to look out for and most importantly where. The where being, her highly anticipated speed dating event. That was the moment I knew — in her world, the boys are constantly behaving and Cuffing SZN is every season. Sounds like a dream!
TA: What's your current hustle?
CT: I am a PR Assistant at boohoo.com. My passion project is Cuffing SZN —— I started hosting speed dating events back in November due to my long string of horrible first dates. It's turn into an all around event planning and production service. I'm also starting to get work as an event host and panelist.
TA: What is the difference between your 9-5 and your 5-grind?
CT: My 9-5 and 5-grind kind of go hand and hand. Boohoo.com is based in the UK, so it's my job to help the company get exposure in the U.S. Event marketing and consumer facing is a huge part of our day-to-day hustle. I utilize the experience I Gain with event planning/public relations at work and apply the same principles to Cuffing SZN.
TA: What has the response been (from your peers) to either your 9-5 or 5-grind?
CT: My peers have been extremely supporting with my 5-grind. The first Cuffing SZN event was promoted completely through text messages. I went through my contacts and invited all my friends personally. I also posted on my Instagram but didn't think anyone would show up. We started with about 40 RSVPs and then the day-of we reached 250 confirmed attendees. This support has continued and grown with each event. Word-of-mouth has been the biggest source of marked for Cuffing SZN.
TA: Who gave you the most memorable career advice? How has that aided you in you day-to-day?
CT: When I was in 9th grade, I told my Dad I wanted to own a sneaker store. He told me, "When you have an idea, write it down on paper. Next, you write down the steps you need to make that idea happen."
I've done this over and over again since 9th grade — It has allowed me to be intentional in the steps I take. My friends jokingly call me a "journal-ass-bih" but I also have one with me. I write down all my ideas and do a lot of goal setting. Whenever I want to accomplish something new or simply need to get my thoughts in order this helps me a ton. Sometimes, I'll go back and look at old journals and I'm amazed at the things I've manifested over time from writing them down.
TA: What has been your favorite "project," so far? Why?
CT: My biggest project has been "Chelsea." For the longest time I was my worst enemy. I would have these amazing ideas or really big goals and just doubted myself feeling like certain things would never happen for me. I was so afraid of failure that I wouldn't try things at all. Over the past 4 years, I have made a point to do things that push me out of my comfort zone. When I start feeling fear I know I'm making progress. I've battled major self-esteem issues stemming from my weight. I workout now and try things like boxing, dancing, weight lighting and I've learned to love my body even if it's not "perfect." I was also an introvert growing up and was extremely shy. Now I'm the girl hosting parties! I still have some work to do but very proud of this project.
TA: What is your dream collaboration (or with who, where, etc.)?
CT: I'm inspired by the young women who are creating their own carers and not doing things the conventional way. A collaboration with either Karleen Roy (The Vanity Group), YesJulz or Miss Diddy LA would be a dream come true.
TA: When your first direct deposit hit, what did you buy?
CT: When my first direct deposit hit, I was paying this ridiculous NYC rent. *Sigh* I wish it was something more glamorous but becoming financially independent = more bills. When the real coins eventually start coming in, I may book a trip somewhere exotic. I've been enjoying experiences a lot more than handbags and shoes these days.
TA: What do you listen to on your way to work? Music (if so, who?), Podcast? Motivational clips?
CT: 'The Read' is one of my favorite podcast to listen to in the morning and while I'm at work. Kid Fury and Crissel are hilarious and always brighten my day. I love how they discuss all the trash celebrity news, reality show gossip, but still feature black excellence and tackle political issues.
TA: If you could steal anyone's musical/artistic/visionary talent, who would it be? Why?
CT: It would definitely be Chance The Rapper or Kendrick Lamar. I love how both of these men are unapologetic in their lyrical content but also put out really dope music. I feel like Chance made it cool to talk to God in public and not be afraid to promote your faith. I'm from LA so I've always been a Kendrick fan. I love how he really paints a picture of what it's like to be black in America.
TA: Who are 3 "must-follows" on Instagram? That aid to you day-to-day inspiration/career path.
CT: My top 3 are a mix up:
@sumeet_sahni: Her body is incredible, she's super motivating and positive.
@fashionbombdaily: Claire's blog has given me insight into the fashion world from a black women's perspective for the past 6 years. I've also been featured on their page as Bombshell of the Day.
@everystylishgirl: This page is amazing! It's great to see young women who are on a mission to empower and uplift other girls.
TA: In 3 words, what would you tell your 16-year-old self?
CT: Take your time.
For more of Chelsea follow her: here!