Alisha Jones- Cotton: Social Worker & Lifestyle Guru

IMG_0892.JPG

This queen grinds with purpose. If you are not familiar with Alisha Jones- Cotton, this is the time to discover this superwoman. She is a Beauty, Fashion, and Lifestyle Blogger of TrickyVibes.com. She also happens to be a long-term rider on the #STRUGGLE bus (something I can relate to). I am so happy I ran across her blog, emailed her as if we were besties and waited to hear from her like a school girl, hoping for an invitation to prom. Luckily she responded. Moreover, she agreed to be profiled for my new blog, that you are now reading. Funny how things just work out. So with no further adieu, here is what I learned from this social worker by day and lifestyle guru every other minute of the week.  

A social worker by day, blogger by night- how has your day job helped to develop your lifestyle blog?

My work within the child welfare system has allowed me the opportunity to meet so many fascinating women. Over time the common theme I encountered were women who were not empowered. In fact, they were so beaten down, hurt, and abandoned that they did not believe that they could succeed. Working with clients long-term showed me that they could change their situations just by changing their outlook.  Seeing countless women make positive transformations helped me to realize that I wanted to pass on their journey of empowerment to other women who may feel like they are not "good enough," or "smart enough," or "pretty enough." I want my blog to be a humorous break from the lull of day to day life and a reminder that an empowered woman can do absolutely anything she sets her mind to do! Also, SIDENOTE:  There is a culture amongst social workers that basically says if a SW is good at their job then they are "frumpy & fat" due to the stress associated. I absolutely hate that! You can help others and still look fabulous.

Why did you choose social work? Tell me three gifts social work has given to you?

Throughout my life, my family struggled financially. We were often unstable and needed help. I will never forget that I come from VERY humble beginnings. I had a few strong women in my life who refused to let my sister and me fall through the cracks. They provided such a positive example for us despite the odds, and I want to be that positive example for others. Social work has given me the gift of purpose, opportunity, and gratitude. The social work profession is so deeply entwined in my morals and ethics. I know that sounds cheesy, but I genuinely believe my lifestyle choices, willingness to give, and selflessness are the perfect match for this field. Having the opportunity to interact with numerous families and becoming a support to them is a priceless experience. I am grateful to have the chance to "pay it forward" every single day and watch others persevere through immense challenges.

What's the best piece of advice you have received from a woman? Moreover, how have you used that information?

Growing up I was always told that I could do anything a man can do. ( I could probably do it better, let's just be honest!)  I was told that being a woman should never be a limiting factor and that my hard work, dedication, and professional attitude will take me farther than any glass ceiling. When I do interact with men, they are surprised at my level of toughness and transparency. I would show up to visits at the local county jails, and they would be shocked that I talked to them and didn't shy away from telling them (good or bad) information. Being a strong woman, ( I hate being called a 'girl' in a professional setting, btw) should be seen as an honor.

Β 

You are Black, Beautiful and obviously Determined. What other characteristics would best describe your life journey thus far?

I would say headstrong! I am a competitor. Once I have a goal in mind, I set tasks in motion to get it done. It is tough to change my mind once I have decided that I am going to start on any monumental task. Marking checks on my To-do List is so thrilling to me. Crazy, I know! "Puttin' in WERK" should be tattooed on my forehead.....except on my lazy Saturdays. 

Do you have a responsibility to represent Black women in the best way possible and do you feel pressure, now that you have a blog and you are a visible figure?

I feel obligated to share a positive perspective on what Black women can and do achieve. I give credit where credit is due.....and if it happens to be a credit to myself, then YAAASSS. LOL. However, in all seriousness- I receive such uplifting feedback from Black women. I would not be as successful as I am without the hands and hearts of women like myself. I cannot ignore all the #BlackGirlMagic; it is incredibly contagious.

Is it possible to reinvent yourself at any age?

Yes. I reinvent my style every few seasons, so it makes sense to evolve. We should all embrace change, whether it is purposeful or circumstantial. Any age is a great age to be a more authentic version of yourself. Life is too short to miss out on your happiness.

What influences your style?

I feel like my style matches my multi-faceted personality. I am a Gemini (i.e., cray cray), so my style varies from day to day. I have narrowed it down to an edgy, classy, and glam style mix. I enjoy daring looks that tow the line between classy and almost too revealing. The world around me influences so many of my looks. My clothing choices depend on how I feel when I wake up in the morning.

What does the word LOVE mean to you?

Love means selflessness. Love is seeing my wife in the morning and knowing that I would be willing to do any and everything to make her happy. Love means appreciating who you are so that you can love others in a healthy way.

Is it time for women to stop apologizing for who they are and want to be?

Pardon my French, but FUCK YEAH. Be yourself. Don't wait for others to validate you. WE are awesome, and sometimes other folks don't understand you and your decisions. NOT EVERYONE WILL UNDERSTAND YOUR JOURNEY BUT GO FOR IT ANYWAY. Haters gone' hate.  I was told my blog was a bad idea- but HERE I am, 12,000 followers later. Make up your mind and follow your dreams.

Trickyvibes is a delightful blog. Why did you start the blog and what advice would you give to other women wanting to jump out there and start their passion projects?

I started my blog to empower women like myself to be confident, successful, and positive. Empowering women is my JAM.  Best advice-Define your end goal and work backward. Make a solid plan and then start working on each step meticulously. Don't rush the process. I was so eager to be "successful" that I missed the fun of bumping my head- until I bumped it very hard (like concussion hard) and had some massive failures. Nobody has a success story without failing, so be prepared to mess stuff up. You will look back one day and have plenty of stories to share. I could make countless Youtube videos about my epic fails!

Do you believe you have a spirit animal? If so, what is it?

A bright and colorful peacock. I feel like when I am under stress or have an audience; I show all my colors! LOL, I also like that the brightly colored peacocks are male peacocks (apparently people don't know that : ) ) but that is actually my favorite part.

Be sure to check out more from this queen at: TrickyVibes !