Coco Jones is, undeniably, a woman to be admired. From her captivating vocals to illustrious acting skills, Jones also manages to balance the heights of stardom while building a direct, impenetrable connection with her fans. And with her latest partnership, Jones is kicking that connection up a notch.

The star of the critically-acclaimed “Bel-Air” reboot — who played Hilary Banks in the Peacock series — has signed on to serve as the operator of TikTok’s Subtly Sweet “Hotline” in partnership with Pure Leaf, the beloved iced tea company. The initiative is one that aims to battle the “societal pressure for women to always be ‘too’ sweet.” As part of the initiative, Coco Jones will invite TikTok users to share their “am I being too sweet?” questions in her page’s comment section. Jones will respond with her resolution to the conflict – with just the right balance of “subtle sweetness” and “bold boundary-setting.”

And yes, ladies — no matter what you think, there is indeed such a thing as being “too sweet.”

In this exclusive interview with 21Ninety, Coco Jones shares why it is so important for her to be a part of this initiative. Also, how she has gone about boundary-setting in her life and career, and more!

Jadriena Solomon: You are going to serve as the operator of the Subtly Sweet “Hotline,” offering advice on TikTok to users who need help battling the societal pressure for women to always be “too” sweet. With this initiative, you’re striving to show others how they can develop the “right balance of subtle sweetness” with “bold boundary-setting.” First and foremost, can you tell us why it was so important for you to partner with Pure Leaf and be a part of this initiative?

Coco Jones: I loved the motivation behind the Subtly Sweet “Hotline.” And I think Pure Leaf has done a great job of helping to encourage women in a very real scenario. Personally, I’ve experienced plenty of times where I felt pressured to overcompensate, be overly accommodating, or to give so much of myself in exchange for leaving me with nothing. So I really love the message behind the campaign. And I think it’s important to push the message of: even when you’re saying ‘no’ to a certain situation, you’re still saying ‘yes’ to yourself.

JS: In this initiative, you of course are being the connoisseur of boundary-setting. But we know every great teacher was once a student. Was there ever a time, in life or career, where you noticed yourself being a little too sweet? And how did you implement boundaries moving forward?

CJ: In my career, I felt like I was always a ‘yes’ woman. I was always like ‘I’ll do the job, I’ll take that responsibility, I’ll go above and beyond’ – and I had to realize that was me overcompensating because of a lack of belief in myself and my talents. If I was really confident in myself, and felt that I was more than qualified to be in these rooms [and given these opportunities]  then I wouldn’t feel the need to overly give of myself. 

I had to learn that through always saying ‘yes’ to things and then relaxing afterward that I was working myself extremely hard, but not working smart because I would feel drained.

Coco Jones behind the boards
Courtesy of Pure Leaf

JS: I know fans are going to be so excited to get real life advice from you. Can you tell us how the Subtly Sweet “Hotline” works? As well as how fans can access it, and submit questions via TikTok?

The hotline will live on my channel. I’ll be looking through the comments, and finding scenarios and those that I can share my advice with. So I’ll be pulling straight from the comments and directly interacting with fans.

Courtesy of Pure Leaf

JS: You were recently nominated by BET for “Best Actress” as Hilary Banks in ‘Bel-Air.’ You released your major label debut single, “Caliber,” earlier this year. You recently showed off your fire freestyle skills on Nick Cannon’s Wild-N-Out. And of course, you’re stepping into this role of mentor with the Subtly Sweet “Hotline.” Not only are you multitalented. But you’re also a positive pillar of representation and authenticity in all that you do. When you sit back and look at it all – what do you enjoy or love the most about everything that you’re able to accomplish and life and career?

CJ: Whoa. Oh my gosh. That is a great question.  Music is what I’ve been doing the longest – before I was acting, I was rapping and singing. And that is home to me. So I’m very proud to see my music come to reality. “Caliber” is the first song that I put out in years – which is crazy to me – but I love the reaction that I’m getting from my music. 

I’m equally as proud of the reaction I’m getting from my persistence in the industry. I didn’t think that I would ever be a mentor to that degree. But I think because I was honest and transparent about what has happened along my journey, it has inspired a lot of women who look like me, and who don’t look like me. to continue to pursue their endeavors. And that’s the type of motivation that I can remember looking for. So I’m so happy to be that for the next girl that’s striving to pursue her dreams.