With a hit TV show and a burgeoning music career, Coco Jones’ star is rising. And we all know “mo’ money, mo’ boundaries,” or whatever Biggie said. This universal truth is the reason Jones has partnered with tea company Pure Leaf and their subtly sweet campaign.
In this partnership, Jones will help women learn how to say no so they can yes to themselves. The actress/singer will run a Subtly Sweet Hotline through the comment section of her Tik Tok page where real women write in about how to say no in various real-world scenarios. Jones knows all about the importance of learning to say no in her professional life.
“I’ve experienced a lot of situations where I felt like I had to overcompensate just to be in the room or I had to over accommodate, disrespecting myself in the process,” Jones tells ESSENCE. “So I love the idea of this subtly sweet hotline where I’m helping women who have been in situations like me to really choose themselves, choose their boundaries and say no in a nice way, but still no.”
It wasn’t until she realized that even though she was doing something she loved, she still found herself running on empty.
“I’m still doing something I love but I’m not loving myself while doing this,” Jones said of her former self.
When Jones found herself feeling stagnant, she started doing some internal work to address her feelings of inadequacy.
“I realized I’m in these rooms because I’m qualified to be here and I’m talented enough to do these jobs to the best of my ability,” Jones said. I had to decide what was authentic to me. And doing all that was not authentic. It had to get a little less sweet, for sure.”
Jones is hoping the Subtly Sweet hotline will help other women identify when they’re acting against their best interests.
“[The hotline] is for women who feel like they’re in these scenarios and they’re like, ‘This doesn’t feel right to me, what do I do?’ I’m hoping that me and Pure Leaf can come together and help to instill confidence in these women and give them actual useful advice.”
At this stage in her career, Jones recognizes that setting boundaries helps her be her best artistically. As she melds her love for both singing and acting can present a challenge she’s eager to take on.
“I don’t always want to stay in a place where I’m comfortable,” Jones said. “Acting is more challenging. Singing is more comfortable. I’ve learned to express myself on camera in a way that I can also translate into my lyrics and how I perform as I’m singing to make the audience feel, the way I strive to make them feel when they’re watching me.”
Pursuing both passions simultaneously, Jones has had to learn to be okay with disappointing others as long as that means she’s true to herself.
“I can do a lot of things but if I’m giving too much of myself, all those things become a little bit more mediocre,” Jones said. “Sometimes I’m going to have to disappoint people in order to make sure I’m giving the best of myself to other things. I have to find that balance and not everyone’s going to be happy.”
Putting boundaries in place and getting clear about our priorities can be scary. Women have been socialized to be liked. And no one wants to hear the word no. But Jones said saying no can lead to more yeses.
“[When] you’re saying no to a certain circumstance, you’re saying yes to yourself,” Jones said. When you’re saying yes to yourself, when you’re loving yourself, you’re going to get more out of your investment.”
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