Tell Coco Jones she can’t do something, and she’ll do it twice and once more with her eyes closed. The innate drive to be successful is ingrained in her blood. Born on January 4th, the Bel-air actress fully lives up to her Capricorn reputation. Known for their stoic demeanor, strong work ethic, and goat mentality, the 24-year-old singer and actress proves that success is her birthright.
Coco’s Capricorn energy radiates through our Zoom call. She is a boss living life on her own terms. Being an it girl ain’t easy, and because her talents runneth over, fans might think the journey to success was seamless. Despite any bumps and bruises accrued along the way, nothing is strong enough to keep her from being successful. Try it, and she’ll give you the fight of a lifetime. Truth be told: Coco Jones has been it.
Singing is in her DNA. When Coco wasn’t on stage competing in talent shows, she was acting on Disney Channel’s Let It Shine and was featured on Radio Disney’s Next Big Thing. She continued to follow both passions, singing and acting simultaneously until it landed her a role as Hillary Banks in Peacock’s Bel-Air.
While most of us were playing with dolls and kicking boys in the playground, Coco Jones, a skilled 6-year-old singer, captivated the audience at her kindergarten graduation as she performed America the Beautiful. Soon after, she realized her future would involve the music industry. “I was singing The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow by Annie. The energy I felt from the crowd made me feel better than basketball, and that’s the only other time I can compare that feeling of being in my purpose because I come from athletes, and my dad played football. So for me, I was like, ‘What is this? I can get this feeling from being on stage?’ And from there, I was kind of obsessed with it,” she says.
The transition from child star to boss baddie wasn’t easy. The sultry R&B songstress shed layers of herself over the years, which helped her grow into the talented, multi-hyphenate artist we see before us today.
Coco learned at a young age that self-discovery was essential to her growth. “I had a lot of trial and error in trying to figure out what I wanted to say. So for me, it was very trying and sometimes draining because I had to figure out who I was at 18 when most people are figuring it out in high school,” she explains. “I think my path is mine, and I’m grateful for it. It was a test of how much I really wanted it. The things that I say I want, you know?”
Women inspiring women
Coco witnessed success from the front seat of childhood. Her father, Mike Jones, is a former NFL player, and her mother, Javonda Jones, is a business owner and a session vocalist. Her brother, Mike Jones Jr., followed in her dad’s footsteps, becoming an LSU linebacker. Observing her family follow their dreams undoubtedly gave her a loose blueprint for following her own. “I do feel that I get a lot of my boss energy from my mom. She is one of the most hardworking attention-to-detail women I’ve ever met. She had three businesses while I was growing up. And she has one now that runs itself; the other two she sold. So all I know is how to get it out of the mud,” Coco says.
That “can-do” attitude made Coco the perfect actress to play the reimagined Hillary Banks in Peacock’s Bel-Air remake. In the updated version, Hillary isn’t the ditzy snob that can’t tell left from right; she’s the social media boss babe, capitalizing on her incredible style, talent for cooking and sassy attitude. Hillary might be a character, but the two have similarities that helped Coco bring the role to life.
“Hillary is a go-getter. She has this idea of how her life will play out, and she refuses for it to be anything different,” Coco explains, “She passes up good opportunities, even if that means making huge mistakes and realizing through the mistakes that something is just not her. She’s figuring it all out with a certain standard in mind for herself, and nobody can talk her down from it. That’s why she reminds me of me.”
Hillary Banks and Coco Jones have more than their strong wills in common; the two also take style and fashion to the next level. The Bel-Air promo run provided a chance to see a real-life Black barbie in action. From bright pinks to bold, color-blocking blues and everything in between, the actress was a sight for sore eyes during every red carpet appearance. She owes that inspiration to her character. “Playing Hillary taught me so much about fashion and about being more courageous. Because sometimes I’m like, let me just go simple black. But being Hillary, I was like, I don’t wear anything black. I want to really tap into colors, because this is so fun. And it makes me feel more alive,” she says.
Looking good is another Capricorn trait that Coco flaunts with ease. A life of luxury is their birthright, which can also play out in their physical appearance. In this case, the former Disney star errs on the ultra-feminine side of the spectrum. “I love to be girly and I love to be skin tight. Because look, I don’t be over here monitoring what I eat for fun, I’m trying to look good. So I want to look girly, and I want it to be skintight, so I can show off my shape. Especially when I’m in the gym. When I’m in the gym for real you’re gonna know about it. I’m gonna get it from the rooftops!” she exclaims.
Conquering the hurdles and roadblocks of the music industry
With that boss Capricorn energy activated, Coco made her dream a reality when she signed to Def Jam this past March, after not working with a label since she was 16. Starting her career with a world-renowned mass media and entertainment conglomerate like Disney set the tone for success, but joining forces with a legendary and multinational label is a flex not a lot of child stars can make. “Signing with Def Jam has definitely been like a full circle moment,” she says. “It feels like the right timing because I know myself more than I ever did when I was 16 and working on the channel. I know what I want to say, and Def Jam is super supportive in helping me accomplish that vision without succumbing to any of the other pressures to be like anybody else.”
Coco has witnessed a lot of changes growing up in the music industry. For her, it is vital that she stay authentic to herself, rather than rely on gimmicks to sell records. “Things are better, so I’m not going to sit here and complain. But things aren’t as equal as they should be. It’s crazy because I look at my brother (Mike Jones Jr.) and his industry (current LSU linebacker). And I’m like, man, you can just bulk up, increase your speed and tenacity, and all the things you do well to get the job. It’s really about who’s qualified over there. Like who can do the job the best. Lucky you. But over here, it’s not like that. There are so many outside qualifications that have nothing to do with talent at all. Which is not cute, but it’s where I want to be for the outcome I want, so I’m here.”
Coco’s dedication to her craft might be strong, but it was definitely met with a few pitfalls and bumpy roads. The star’s richly melanated skin, almond-shaped eyes, and full lips guarantee that her face card will never decline. Despite her near-perfect looks, history has taught us that darker skin isn’t always appreciated.
“It plays a huge part in my journey; adjusting to the setbacks you didn’t choose is an instrumental part of my joy, journey and story. And the lesson I hope to continue to press on is that there will be things in life that are out of your control. But what’s in your control is how you respond to what’s out of your control. And if I had let my unfair disadvantages that had nothing to do with how hard I work, how well I sing, and how much I love it keep me from continuing, then I’d just be out of the game, but the game would continue,” she explains.
Unfortunately, colorism plagues all cultures, not just the Black community. As women navigate a space that doesn’t champion them because of their complexion, Coco would be remiss if she didn’t offer encouragement.
“Keep showing up,” she advises. “There will be many, many, many, many, many times where you’re just not considered because of how you were born. But there will be times where you are way beyond considered — you’re chosen, chosen by God for specific opportunities. Keep showing up until you get to those opportunities. They are few and far, but they are life-changing. And they’re life-changing for the next dark-skinned girl who’s looking at you, thinking if she can do it, so can I.”
Her love affair with music has helped her produce works of art that come straight from the pits of her soul. You can expect all of that and more with her upcoming EP. “I’m in the studio pretty much every night, until the morning. And we’re working on finalizing the EP.”
Remaining encouraged through evolution
Evolution is a never-ending process. Life demands disparate versions of a person, and it’s up to them to decide if they will lean into the change or fight it. Evolving requires uncomfortable moments that force a person to shed skin so they can become the best version of themselves while reaching the end goal. For Coco, the gleaming light at the end of the tunnel is what keeps her encouraged when the journey seems unclear. “I’m motivated but there are times where I’ll just sit and imagine where I know I want to be, and that’ll help me to keep going on that specific day. You know, I know what I have been working towards this whole time. So for me, it just seems like there’s no other option but to continue towards what I’ve already been working towards –a long time at this point,” she says.
Coco’s support system helps her stay afloat, but she also relies on herself to remain encouraged. Over the years, self-care has become a buzzword used to prioritize self-preservation. Because people are aware of the power words have over their lives, affirmations are used as a way to direct a positive inner dialog. “I love me some affirmations. They’re like vitamins,” Coco says with excitement. “I have this app, it’s called I Am. ‘God has called me to live in peace,’ ‘I do not limit my vision of all the available possibilities,’ and ‘I am not attached to a specific outcome,’ are some that I say to myself.”
The actress is part of a generation that prioritizes mental health and self-preservation over the survival tactics our parents used to get by and make ends meet. Self-care and positive self-talk weren’t always taught at home because women were used to prioritizing their household, leaving them with little to no time to pour into themselves. At some point, life encourages you to be kinder to yourself. You either choose to listen, or you don’t. “I think these are things that you have to learn the hard way. My mom didn’t teach me these things, but she didn’t know, you know?” Coco explains. “And so our job is to learn more so that we can teach the next generation too.”
Sky’s the limit, or is it?
Coco has countless versions of herself that she has yet to meet. People say the sky is the limit, but truthfully, it’s just the view. It won’t take a lifetime for the multi-hyphenate to reach her goals; in fact, her upcoming EP is already generating tons of buzz. The singer has dedicated countless hours in the studio to perfect each hook, verse and melody. Season two of Bel-Air is slated to return in 2023, which means we can expect to see more jaw-dropping style, partnered with Hillary’s hustler’s mentality that only Coco can bring to life. She’s yet to hit a quarter of a century on earth, which means there’s nothing but space and opportunity waiting for her.
“If I wasn’t singing or acting, I’d have to be a boss of some sort. Work my way up in some sort of company about something I’m passionate about like makeup, maybe eyebrow products or something I really understand like script development,” Coco says.
Spoken as a true Capricorn. Hollywood has another young, Black, powerful mogul on their hands.
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