Coco is a Cardiff-born mental health activist and influencer on a mission to uplift people and help them to better understand their own mental health. Their brand, Talk to Coco, began when Coco took to Instagram and documented how they were feeling during a down-day. The response was incredible and now Coco’s posts have become cornerstones in many people’s own mental health journeys. As a Black, queer, non binary and neurodivergent person, Coco draws upon their own experiences to help others feel seen, heard and supported.
We had the privilege of talking to Coco about their journey, brand image and achievements to date.
Since October is Black History Month, can you tell us a bit about growing up Black, queer, non-binary and neurodivergent?
“Growing up Black and Welsh was difficult, especially in the 90s. I wasn’t Welsh enough to certain people, and others saw me as too Black to fit in, even though I’m mixed race. However, I was a resilient kid, brought up to know that being Black is beautiful, so I’m proud of my complexion – from my skin tone to my Afro hair. So, I never allowed what society was telling me to get me down, I used it to my advantage. I found so much joy through being a person of colour – the communities, the people, the music, and the food brought thousands of strangers together to celebrate who we are.
Being neurodivergent was difficult. I was seen as not enough, perceived to be someone who is clever but can’t concentrate or sit still. But, I knew I had greatness in my heart and soul, so I was wearing my differences as my super power. This kept me going during the times of judgement.
I came out at 14 years old and, thanks to my loving and supportive family, I thrived. I could finally be my authentic self and stand in my skin proudly. Even now, at almost 31 years old, I’m lucky to have the real ones around, embracing all of my Black, queer, creative, neurodivergent self.”
Now we know more about Coco, tell us about Talk to Coco.
“Talk to Coco was born when I was feeling like I wasn’t enough. I wanted to be there for people who felt like they didn’t have anyone to turn to, so one day I went live on Instagram and shared how I was feeling on one of my down days. The response was overwhelming. People from all over the world had seen my content and were so grateful for my openness about things that people shy away from talking about. From there, I began speaking to people and discovering ways to conquer what we were feeling in a creative way.
I created workshops for people of all ages, to make people feel uplifted and part of a positive, creative community. So many people have benefitted from my workshops and I have received so many heartwarming messages from people of all ages, races and religions. This has led me to many opportunities: like speaking at events and panels, partnering with amazing brands and has also allowed me to become a face and voice for so many people.”
What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?
“I guess my biggest achievement to date would be becoming a Mother; our son is everything and he is the reason that I continue to strive, love myself and creatively grow in all of my disciplines as an artist. Seeing my work on billboards all around the UK and New York was also an incredible achievement.”
What advice would you give to someone else who feels like they want to break into an industry that is currently underrepresented?
“You should always be your true and authentic self; that way, you begin to thrive. There are so many stigmas and stereotypes around everything that I am, so I always say honesty and transparency makes you vulnerable, so be honest and transparent anyway.
I knew I had to make a change and that is why Talk to Coco is so imperative to so many people. For many people, my workshops, talks and artistry are a safe haven where you can be yourself without feeling judged.”
For your daily dose of Talk To Coco, visit @talktococo on Instagram