Check our interview with Heart of Cool creators, Creative Visionary/Social Entrepreneur, Cristen Mills and Creative Director/Stylist Tasha Boué, who launched Heart of Cool in order to redefine the word cool. Unlike others, who blindly follow popular trends, Mills and Boué encourage consumers to be bold and courageous enough to think independently and express themselves in their quest to develop their own personal style.
How did the two of you meet?
Tasha: Cristen and I met a few years back in LA.
Cristen: Tasha and I knew of each other for a few years before we really got to know each other. She styled for Jamie Foxx and I was the personal liaison and project manager for COMMON. Tasha’s agent at that particular time graduated from Spelman College with me and also worked for Jamie Foxx as his right hand. We all were peers. We all were bright, creative and talented people in the process of navigating our own success in entertainment, outside of the success that we had created for our respective clients.
What is each of your backgrounds?
Cristen: I was born in Fostoria, Ohio and moved around for my father’s work. I had a pretty structured upbringing with a huge emphasis on spirituality. My outlet was the arts and I was passionate about acting and dance. I attended Spelman College, studied abroad and eventually applied to the London School of Economics and Political Science and the University of Southern California, Annenberg School For Communication for a double Masters in Global Media and Global Communications. I worked for DDB advertising for a few months after graduating and then ICM for Robert Gibbs and Dennis Ashley in the music department. My dream was to be an agent, but I everything changed when I met Mr. Rashid Lynn, otherwise known as COMMON.
Tasha: I was born in Miami I moved to LA when I was 21 years old. Once I arrived in LA I landed my first job in the fashion world with Oscar award winner Jamie Foxx.
Where did the idea to create “HeART of Cool” come from?
Tasha: The idea came from Cristen and I being fed up with the industry business model to be honest. We knew it was possible to do good business, with good people and have an incredible impact.
Cristen: Before Tasha and I worked on Wardrobe together; we actually were having meetings to figure out how we could work together in the fashion. With all of Tasha’s experience and mine combined, we knew we could create some magic. We needed and desired a movement: A movement that would not just catapult us two, but that would inspire and bring opportunity to others like us. We knew that we could be a revolutionary bridge, creating an environment where we were not put in a box; and, could truly be our authentic selves as that is where coolness really emanates from.
What were you guys doing before creating this site?
Tasha: Prior to this site Cristen and I were running our respective companies. We love being in charge of our own businesses as opposed to working for others. I came back into Cristen’s orbit as I was gearing up to design my first collection. Cristen and I had been developing our business relationship and in the process of that happening Cristen found another business called WARDROBE. I was creative director for the brand and we have been inseparable since.
Cristen: I was working on another entrepreneurial endeavor, Wardrobe. It is a skateboard accessory design company. We make skate board covers. IG: @wearewardrobe
Tell us a little about “HeART of Cool”?
Tasha: HeART Of Cool is an art, fashion and lifestyle movement that inspires authenticity in consumers and challenges innovation in creators.
Cristen: HeART of Cool is an International Fashion, Art and Lifestyle movement for the cosmopolitan and global citizen at heart. The concept is rooted in the idea and spirit of collaborative economics and social entrepreneurialism.
There are many facets to what we do. And although, we lead with fashion we cover art, innovation, life and beauty. We also create our own Cool Guide where we introduce to the world to different products and fashion designers in collaboration with our own personal creative flare and spin on things.
How often do you guys update the site?
Tasha: When we started the site we would update was every few days but at this point it is updated daily, which is a big accomplishment for us.
Cristen: Yes we update the site at least five times a week.
How is HeART of Cool different from other fashion and lifestyle sites?
Cristen: What makes us different is our commitment to being 100% authentic despite the politics that shape fashion and entertainment. We do not care if one is well known. We care about what you are known for. We care about who one is and what inspires them and how that inspiration will impact the planet and the people on the planet. We believe that, “Work is LOVE made visible”. We believe that you can be fly, cool, smart, make a beautiful living and create positive social impact without compromising what you believe in and your happiness. We believe in giving ordinary people with extraordinary ideas an opportunity to showcase their visions and products, leaving the decision of whether or not it will thrive to the consumers. There are no limitations with us and we believe in the unbelievable because we know miracles happen everyday when they are genuinely birthed in our hearts.
Tasha: Well not to sound super confident but a lot of things make HeART of Cool different than other platforms. First and foremost is the congregation of people is electric. People that are a part of the HOC community are very in tune with life, who they are and, most importantly, the importance of love. These elements make the visit to the Heart Of Cool website an experience! We have a way of explaining things and shedding light through viewpoints that can expand people’s minds and way of thinking. All the content is either written or approved by Cristen and I. We are very aware of what information is being shared and why. To us this is the only way it can be. Here at HeART of Cool, we are truly about being authentically you. This is what makes the moments in life memorable and exciting, you are your best when you are you.
Tell us how was the event at the NYLON Magazine Grammy’s kickoff party?
Cristen: The event was one of my favorite Grammy experiences. The venue was super dope and the people were beautiful and down to earth. Everyone was ready to have a good time and let loose as they celebrated muses and music.
Tasha: Oh Nylon! We were so excited and ready for the whole thing and that is for sure, once we got there it all came together. The party was super cool and what made it even better was the people. The DJ’s were crazy and the room was full of creative. It was a great experience to say the least. We truly thank Jane Owen Public Relations and NYLON for having us.
What does fashion mean to you?
Cristen: To me fashion is a platform and opportunity to explore various components of your authentic self as you evolve from the inside out on this life journey.
Tasha: Fashion is my life! I live it, eat it, and breathe it. I could not see it any other way. It is just that serious for me.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
Tasha: The person who was a big influence to me and my life as a whole is a woman by the name of Lalette Littlejohn. Lalette really helped me see the business and myself in the business differently. She had been in the industry 25 years, seen it all and knew all the tricks to the trade. Her sharing this knowledge with me was invaluable. I was able to see the world twice with her and learn things about culture and protocol that helped shaped my mind and outlook it was the best thing that could have happen to me. The blessings she showered on me are the main reasons the sun shines today.
Cristen: There have been numerous people in my life who have influenced me greatly. The top three however would definitely have to include my mother for her unconditional love, resilience and strength; my father for his wisdom, financial literacy and discipline; and the great Dr. Maya Angelou for her bona-fide boldness, creative freedom and authenticity.
Who are some of your favorite models and designers?
Tasha: My top two model picks would be Jourdan Dunn and Kylie Jenner, which is crazy to me on so many levels! I have never met either of them but they have an energy about them that commands whatever they touch. I recently learned they are both Leos, which helped me understand myself and my affinity for them. My rising is Leo so I may be seeing a little of myself in them. My top two designers right now would be Philipp Plein and Shayne Oliver. Though totally different designers both are totally dominating in the fashion space whether they are being recognized for it or not.
Cristen: My favorite models would have to include Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls, Jourdan Dunn and Malaika Firth. As for designers some of my current favorites include Moschino. Betsy Johnson, Balmain, Dsquared2, Giuseppe, Michael Costello, Vintage Versace and Hermes.
Name three things you can’t leave home without?
Cristen: My sunglasses, a pair of Moschino Gloves and my trademark fox tail.
Tasha: My shades, phone and some sort of hat.
List three words to describe yourselves.
Cristen: I would say Majestic, Altruistic and Visionary
Tasha: As cliché as it sounds Calm, Cool, Courageous
What is your idea of a perfect Sunday?
Tasha: For me a perfect Sunday is a nice glass of champagne, a few people I love and nice tunes, perfect in any environment.
Cristen: My perfect Sunday would start attending church followed by brunch. Later a glass of wine while losing myself in a good book or movie.
What is the best advice you each have ever given?
Cristen: For the best advice I can give is to remember that love is freedom, not control.
Tasha: The best advice I have been given and continued to share is KEEP THE MAIN THING THE MAIN THING. Focus is a quintessential part of the process and will be needed.
What do you think of social media?
Tasha: I think social media is a tool, like anything else we have been given it is all about how it is used.
Cristen: I agree with Tasha. I appreciate social media as it has really democratized opportunity as well as information and art across the globe. However, I do feel that for the betterment of humanity, we need to have balance when it comes to it because it be very consuming. People sometimes find their worth with who follows them and who likes their pictures, which can be dangerous for one’s self-esteem whether you realize it or not. However, you cannot really blame that on social media as much as the end user. Social Media is awesome, but when it is used as a tool in life, not your entire life.
Where we can follow you?
Any plans for 2016 that you want to share with us?
Tasha: 2016 has already started off great we are sure it will only get better we have some cool events coming up be sure to follow us it may be in a city near you.
Cristen: Absolutely! We are dropping our e-commerce platform this month. We also are releasing some new music from LeFemme (a.k.a. TASH).
And of course you can always expect us to introduce to you up and coming cool people, products and ideas on our website.