Women @ Work: Chasity Cooper of #WineWithChas
You know the bougie cousin who knows alll about wine? That’s my friend, Chasity Cooper. We first met on Twitter through our mutual friend and former Women @ Work feature, Anuli Akanegbu.
Chasity is a real one who always keeps it 100 no matter what the setting. So when she launched her weekly wine-inspired newsletter last year, I was all for it. Read on to learn more about this oenophile.
Name: Chasity Cooper
Where You Know Her From: #WineWithChas
Where to Follow: @chasityscooper
Your newsletter is one of my favorites. What inspired you to create #WineWithChas?
I wanted to create a space where I could share my love for wine with others, but not in a pretentious, stuck-up way. I fell in love with wine during a trip to Spain in 2010, and since then I've just been fascinated by how it’s made, the different varietals and debunking the myth that you have to make hella money in order to enjoy good, quality wine. #WineWithChas is my gift to those who want to expand their knowledge for wine, challenge their palates and support those who are blazing trails in the industry.
What do you know now that you wish you had known when you were starting out in your career?
Two things: that I'm going to make mistakes (and it is okay) and letting go of ideas you once believed in does not mean you have failed. More importantly, it's totally fine to pivot and have different interests. Our culture has gotten so caught up in seeing the final product on social media that we forget that it actually took practice and discipline to get to the finished line. TAKE YOUR DAMN TIME. Don't let the Internet rush you into doing sh*t.
What is the best advice you've ever received and who gave it to you?
I've received a lot of great advice in my day, but I think the best piece of advice that I've received in recent years is "Do it scared." That came from a tweet by @JasFly and it has held strong with me ever since. Whenever I'm feeling anxious about getting an answer to a question or applying to a position that may seem a few steps above me, I just have to remember to shoot my shot and accept that whatever is supposed to happen will happen.
Love that advice! What is your personal mantra or favorite quote and why?
"To whom much is given, much is required." - Luke 12:48. Not only is it one of my favorite Bible verses, but it's a constant reminder that God didn't make me to be ordinary; He made me EXTRAordinary in order use all of the gifts that He has given me and to share my light with others. It may seem like a lot sometimes, but I'm never given more than I can handle.
I think we could all use that reminder sometimes. What are some obstacles you faced in your career? How did you overcome them?
Where do I begin? From being fired twice, to "not being a great fit, to being the only Black woman in the office, to feeling stagnant in one -- I think I've felt all of the feels in these last eight or nine years. What has helped me overcome the challenges is having great friends and family who are supportive, encouraging and who remind me that most of those obstacles will pass. The tough boss who is giving me a hard time? It usually has more to do with them than it does with me. Feeling like i'm inadequate or not qualified? Those are lies that I need to not accept about myself and flip them into the truth. I haven't gotten to this point by any means alone and I'm grateful for every person who has and continues to pour into me.
What keeps you going when you feel like giving up?
My faith in God...and loved ones, for sure. I remember the sacrifices that many of them made for me to even be here and I pick up that pen or open my laptop and get back to work.
What are you most proud of in your career or personal life thus far?
Moving to NYC without a job almost two years ago. It wasn't until I wrote about my experience in Essence last year that I realized that it was a pretty big deal for me to a) trust myself and b) trust God for what He was going to lay in my path. My experience in NYC hasn't been perfect, but when I take a moment to think back over the last 19 months, I've achieved a lot and I should absolutely be proud of myself for not giving up.
Oh wow, I can’t believe it’s been two years already! You’ve lived in several major cities -- Chicago, D.C., and New York -- which is your favorite?
I love D.C., and I think it is because I lived there during the Obama years (lol, nah - but seriously). Living in The District allowed me to build incredible relationships and experience so many different things. It also played a very integral role in my growth as a young woman and I'm grateful for every moment and every lesson that it taught me.
You’re always hustling, what do you like to do when you're not working?
When I’m not working, I'm usually in my bed watching Netflix, tbh. I love interior design, food and architecture -- so you can catch me watching a show related to one of those things. I also love to journal and I want to read more, so I'm working on that.
What advice would you give your 25-year-old self?
Ask for help when you need it at work. Stay your ass at home one or two weekends out of the month. If you're having a hard time personally, don't be afraid to speak up to the people that matter most to you -- they cannot read your mind. Oh, and sometimes chasing that bigger bag isn't always worth it.
What is your best advice for balancing a side-hustle/passion project with a full-time job?
Remember to make time to REST. We only have 24 hours in a day, and most of them are spent commuting, working or scrolling on social media. Rest doesn't have to be taking a nap, but it can be going for a long walk or reading a book or coloring or meditating. We don't have to be grinding and hustling all the time -- too much of that and life just might pass us by.
I cannot agree with you more there! So I have to ask … what is your favorite wine and why?
Ha! An Argentine Malbec because it has the right amount of fruit and spice and goes with anything.