Photography by Karlo Gomez
Chriss Zoe’s favorite person to get coffee with is herself. “Coffee is supposed to wake you up and put you in a more focused state of mind. I like to get into a mindset with no distractions.” When you’re a competitor in the heat for Forbes coveted “Class of 30 under 30”, you have to be able to bring your best game face.
Growing up in Houston, Texas with almost nothing to her name, Chriss knew that hard work was the path that would keep her from living that life again. She always had big dreams and bigger goals.
The bigger the dreams, sometimes the bigger the road blocks. Chriss thought she had met the man of her dreams and got engaged. But her partner revealed himself to be emotionally, and later physically, abusive. “He never uplifted me, he wasn’t there to be comforting at all. It took for me to be really strong and for me to have faith in myself and understand my beauty [to walk away] and my engagement ended. But that really fuels my message and why I’ll talk to anyone who will listen.”
Leading by example, Chriss aims to show women that they can have it all. She wants to be the avenue to encourage people, especially young women, to take that first step to live their dreams and break past what holds them back. Not only does she produce music and run a clothing line, she’s written books detailing her struggles and victories as a young entrepreneur.
Chriss has a rigorous self-care routine, making sure to sleep on time to get enough rest. When she wakes, she confronts frustrations and problems head on, because she doesn’t have time for negativity to block her from her daily goals. She finds peace in stillness and quiet, where she can visualize her path and follow it for the day.
If she could talk to her younger self, she’d say, “Buckle up, girl! It’s gonna be a crazy ride! On the other side [of the struggle], it’s all going to make sense. It’s all about character building and building myself up -- I didn’t know then how much stronger I had the potential to be.”
“I always love when people are kind. That’s always beautiful to me. I run away from people who are not nice to other people. It’s hard to trust other people, but even if I don’t know other women, I’ll always try to uplift them. I believe in women building up other women.”
“Being a woman is hard enough. All the pressure it takes to be a woman is not worth letting yourself down. Women are the most powerful thing in the world, but they’re constantly being broken down. We’ve always been looked at as the lesser. I have been through things where I realize how powerful I am. We don’t have to be bringing each other down. When we’re banded together and build each other up, we’re a powerful force.”
To see more of Chriss follow her at @chrisszoe