As a blogger I never know who may be reading my work, which is why I enjoy connecting one on one when possible with you, the reader. I’ve had the opportunity to speak with people from different parts of the globe and it has helped me gain a deep appreciation for life. This week I am honored to be spotlighting beautiful web goddess Nakia Cooper, who hails from Houston, Texas. We connected via Hello Beautiful and besides the fact that I’m awe of her accomplishments and work ethic she is a very down to earth person with a beautiful and loving soul….AND she loves Judy Blume books! *throws confetti*
Get to know Nakia Cooper:
1. Tell GI readers about yourself and your hustle in five sentences by answering Who, What, Where, Why and When?
My name is Nakia L. Cooper — a true southern girl from Houston, Texas — and I am a news junkie! I come from the world of “if you don’t hustle; you don’t eat,” so I wear a variety of hats.
I am a Digital Media Producer for KHOU.com (the website for Houston television news station KHOU 11 News), the VP of Multimedia for the Houston Association of Black Journalists (HABJ) and the Owner/ Creator/ Editor-in-Chief of Lip Service: News with Attitude, my personal web/ blog site. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Texas Southern University – an HBCU that has faced certain scrutiny in the past – but I believe it is one of the best universities out there! Most importantly, I am a single mother of two beautiful children and hoping to add a “slash / mogul” to my title one day.
2. What is the biggest risk you’ve taken in your career thus far?
I gave birth to two children while I was a college student; so needless to say, a FULL-TIME JOB was a MUST! During my senior year, I gave up a job as a well-paid salesperson in the Men’s Shoe Department at Nordstrom’s in order to fill two internships simultaneously at two different news stations while juggling 17 college hours my last semester. I was broke, tired and gone from sun up to sun down, but I was determined to land a position in this industry immediately upon graduation. (Guess what, I did!)
3. Do you have any hidden talents? What are they?
I love writing fiction and poetry. I wrote my first book (not published) when I was in the fifth grade after reading Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.” I loved coming-of-age fiction growing up and, as an adult; I love novels on black relationships. I also love true-crime novels and anything written by James Patterson.
I’ve heard that I “missed my calling” as a model. Not saying I’m some “drop dead beauty,” but thanks to Tyra Bank’s ANTM, I know how to “smile with my eyes” and give you “fierce” when the cameras are on!
4. Describe the most exciting project you’ve ever worked on? The least exciting?
Most exciting: Honestly, I am overly excited about my web/ blogsite, Lip Service: News with Attitude (www.newswithattitude.com) because I get the opportunity to step away from the hard, sometimes devastating, news I write daily and write about things that I am truly passionate about—which sometimes are not a focus of mainstream media. I especially love writing about some of the “hot mess” dating exploits of single people today.
Least exciting: I don’t know if it is just my personality or what, but I actually told someone that I never had a day where I did not feel like going to work. I really love what I do, honestly. I can tell you this, however, I have shed too many tears writing about children being abused or killed at the hands of their loved ones during my “day job” at the TV station. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed, coworkers walk by the desk and have to ask if I am OK. Those are the tough days, and unfortunately, with the rise in crimes against children, those days will continue.
5. Why digital media?
In a nutshell, the web (in my opinion) is the most competitive way of getting news out today. It is now..it is fast..and you must be ON at all times. I just love to tell the story and am very proud of the station I work for. Within the last three years, I have been honored to get one Emmy, two Edward R. Murrow and one AP award under my belt, which I share with the other talented “Web Goddesses” on our small staff. And yes, we really call ourselves “Web Goddesses.”
I find it a blessing to be able to write news for a professional news organization, then turn the page and write some off-the-beaten path articles for my own personal site, especially in my “Relationship GPS” column. Digital media has a reach farther than anyone could ever have imagined. The web has taken over the world—or so it seems!
6. How do you handle stress?
I sing a lot of the Lion King’s “Hakuna Matata” and when in doubt, I close my eyes and think of words of wisdom from my deceased grandmother Willa Beatrice Rice. Sometimes, when the words don’t come, I just remember her face.
7. What does the next five years look like for Nakia?
Oh, it is going to be exciting. On my shortlist is: expanding my web/ blogsite and growing my brand, getting a staff of college students to work with me while they learn the industry, landing a job at a national media outlet, publishing my first novel (fiction) on relationships, completing my master’s degree …and when this all slows down (hopefully not sooner than five years) I want to become a journalism professor at an HBCU. I believe in GIVING BACK (if I haven’t dropped dead from exhaustion ).
8. What is the most embarrassing moment you’ve experienced in your career?
None yet, let’s keep those fingers crossed!
9. What advice do you have for anyone aspiring to follow in your footsteps?
Control your image — mainly your online profile because “Big Brother” is everywhere — hustle now; sleep later, be fearless and when in doubt, listen to hip hop! No kidding, there are a lot of “anthems” to get you CRUNK in the morning!
10. What is your main source of motivation?
This will sound so cliché, but I want my kids to be proud of me. I want my grandmothers to be proud of me. I want my mentor, Texas Southern University Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker, to be proud of me. I looked at my mother with admiration as a young child and I want her to look at me the same way now. I want to be proud of myself – and I am. Moreso, I want all black women to be proud. We have a voice and if we use it correctly – someone will pay attention.
11. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it to you?
“Relax. Your struggles will all be over soon; you are going to make it kiddo.” – Larry Fasbinder, Men’s Shoe Department at Nordstrom’s
“You can’t worry yourself over things you have no control over.” – Lilly Bell McCann, grandmother
“Chance favors the prepared mind.” Melvin Jackson, Uncle
“Get yourself together, you have to have something to offer someone else,” – Reginald Jackson.
“Honey, stop being so stiff and stuffy trying to hide yourself! Women relate to those who are like them. If you got big thighs or what you think is a roll of fat somewhere, who cares? Chances are, the woman watching you at home has a roll of fat too!” — Sherry Williams, KHOU 11 News weekend anchor
Thanks to Nakia for an awesome interview! Please visit Lip Service- News With Attitude .