Cuban beauty Jessica Motes is hard working, determined and super sweet - just like her company, The Naughty Cookie. We got a chance to hang out with Jessica and try her incredibly gooey vegan cookies while shooting in Joshua Tree CA earlier this year. Her knowledge about breaking into the food industry made me curious and fascinated by her ability to turn her passion for sweets into a booming business. There is so much to learn from this girl who is wise beyond her years. In this interview Jessica dives into her start with modeling, what encouraged her to start her own business, veganism, her favorite acai bowl recipe and so much more!
(Jessica in the Amery Maxi )
+ Tell us about yourself: My name is Jessica and I am the owner and baker at The Naughty Cookie. I was born and raised in Miami, FL and my background is Cuban.
+How did you get into modeling? I was approached by a model scout when I was 15 years of age and have been modeling ever since.
+What do you like and dislike about the modeling industry? I was fortunate to travel all over the world for shoots. I met amazing people in the industry along the way and my favorite part was when I moved to Italy to work full time as a model. I absolutely loved it and wouldn’t change that experience for anything and yes, I ate all the pasta, pizza and tiramisu I can get my hands on, seriously the best 10 pounds of weight I ever gained, lol! The only thing I didn’t like about the industry at the time was the pressure to be stick thin, even at a young age and with the dream of modeling I never found that attractive and it was and still is so important for me to feel good in my own skin. Everyone will always have their opinion but you can find me at the dessert bar.
+What inspired you to start your own business? I transitioned to a vegan diet a little over a year ago and always having a sweet tooth I was worrisome when it came down to those chocolate chip cravings I have and needless to say, they happen quite often. I decided to test out the vegan chocolate chip cookie market and went to all the “popular” places to find a great vegan chocolate chip cookie, I tried big name brands which also came with a ton of preservatives (not my vibe at all) to no name brands that also lacked in flavor and texture but I’ll tell you one thing they didn’t lack…preservatives. After many failed attempts at trying to find a quality, gooey, moist and delicious vegan cookie I decided something had to be done and I was just the girl for the challenge! After months of creating recipes The Naughty Cookie was born!
+What resources were helpful along the way when trying to figure out how to start your business? The vegan community has been so helpful and supportive its something I am not used to because the fashion industry at least as a model is pretty cut throat. Every woman for herself type of thing. It was quite the breath of fresh air I needed after so many years in the fashion industry and I couldn’t be anymore grateful. I love being in the food industry and seeing the smiles on peoples faces when they take a bite of The Naughty Cookie is the best part!
+What challenges have you faced in the food industry? There will always be challenges in any industry but I am one tough cookie (pun intended)! I believe in The Naughty Cookie and the response has been nothing shy from amazing, I want the world to be able to take a piece of The Naughty Cookie home with them and I am working every second of the day to make it happen.
I do feel like I live a double life at times from baking thousands of cookies and being covered in cookie dough to modeling the next day for great fashion brands. A model who also bakes and eats cookies?? That would never fly years ago but I am so happy the industry has been empowering woman to live their best life. Its so important to feel confident and I’ve never felt better in my body.
+How do you prep your body when you know you have a shoot coming up? When it comes to prepping for a shoot, I just stick to my fitness routine that I've had since I started modeling. I eat healthy, drink plenty of water and workout daily (I love Lagree Pilates at Pilates Plus, boxing at World Champion Cardio Boxing and running outdoors.
+How would you describe your personal style? My personal style I’d say is trendy, sexy and classy, but lately my outfits have been paired with a pink apron and I love it!
+What is your favorite way to de-stress? When I need to de-stress you can find me baking cookies or laying out on the beach. I love the beach and I love cookies!!
+What is your favorite on the go snack? My favorite snack on the go aside from the casual Naughty Cookie treat would be my home made Acai Bowls, they are delish!
Which leads me to my go-to recipe for an amazing Acai Bowl. I mean, you weren’t expecting me to give away my ultimate vegan cookie recipe now, were you?! ;)
Jessica’s Ultimate Acai Bowl:
*Place an empty small bowl into your freezer*
Next grab your blender and place all the below ingredients into the blender:
1 pack of Unsweetened Organic Acai
Half of an Organic Banana
Half a tablespoon of Organic Chia Seeds
A good amount of ice (crushed ice is best for consistency)
A splash of Unsweetened Organic Coconut Water
A splash of Unsweetened Organic Hemp Milk
*Blend till there is a thick consistency to your liking.
Take the bowl you placed into the freezer and pour the acai mixture into the bowl, then top it off with some of my faves:
-Organic Goji Berries
-Organic Unsweetened Coconut Shavings
-Organic Almond Butter
+What are some of your favorite beauty products? Aside from my go to snacks I am a skincare freak and love to keep it as natural, healthy and glowy, as possible. In order to not need to wear concealer nor foundation, I get facials at my fave place Ruth Skin Care on Melrose ave, they are seriously heaven sent! Hydrated skin is the best skin so I love the Biossance line for that reason! Also, anything from the IGK hair product line, I can’t live without!
+What is your favorite place to travel and why? My fave place to travel will always be visiting family and friends in my hometown of Miami but I also love to take some time off in Tulum, Mexico, I’m obsessed! I’m a beach baby, I can’t help it.
+Any beauty secrets you swear by? I try to get as much sleep in at night as possible, its a bit tricky when I need to bake thousands of cookies but If I have a shoot coming up I make sure to get in enough sleep, I don’t know of one make up artist that is happy when a model shows up to set with bags under their eyes, I mean we are human it happens but it can be avoided.
+What is one thing most people don't know about you? One thing most people don’t know about me is that I stopped drinking at the age of 21, ironic.. I know. Side note: I was never one to drink beyond my limits. I want to live a long and healthy life, plus my skin has never looked better, no hangovers and I am always more than happy to go out, enjoy the company of my friends and family and be the designated driver. NO complaints over here.
+Where can people find your cookies?
The Naughty Cookie has quite a few pop-ups coming up this fall, I’m so excited!
*September 8th at Williams-Sonoma Pasadena, CA
*October 13th at Williams-Sonoma La Jolla, SD
*November 3rd at Williams-Sonoma Beverly Hills, CA
And theres more to come!
Stay updated via @thenaughtycookie on Instagram and The Naughty Cookie website www.thenaughtycookie.com
+What has been the most rewarding part of your entrepreneurial journey? The most rewarding journey of my business thus far has to be selling out at my pop-ups and all the festivals I’ve done with The Naughty Cookie. From Williams-Sonoma to Eat Drink Vegan to Arroyo Seco Music festival, its been surreal to see lines and lines of people both vegan and non vegan, all wanting a piece of The Naughty Cookie.
+What is your vision for your brand in the future? I will be introducing a new, exciting and delicious product at one of the pop-ups, so that everyone can take a piece of The Naughty Cookie home with them! My goal for The Naughty Cookie is to take it world-wide and I know the new product is sure to achieve that, the possibilities are endless for this vegan cookie. Maybe you’ll see us at Coachella 2018, who knows?! Or as a new regular on Sundays at Smorgasburg LA!