Campus Celebrity: Ryan Cocca

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The story of Ryan Cocca seems to reinforce that dreams do come true. He was born in Chapel Hill, N.C.. As young UNC fan, he dreamt of being a basketball player; however, once his mother told him the low chances of making it to the NBA, he decided that he was going to chase a different dream.

His new dream led him to found Thrill City, which is a locally based media and clothing label. Check it out. Ryan Cocca is currently a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill pursing a major in journalism.  

Ryan is your typical Scorpio; strong-willed, determined, sarcastic, curious and with a powerful desire to change the world. Ryan is a bike-riding, photo-taking, Carolina-loving, guitar-playing and snowboarding kind of guy.

I got a chance to talk to Ryan and he told me about his business and where he hopes to take it  in the future.

HC: What is Thrill City\ Thrill Life?
Ryan: Thrill City is a locally based media and clothing entity that seeks to showcase and support everything creative, artistic and positive in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area. By combining passionate nonprofits with engaging music, art and clothing, Thrill City hopes to cultivate a socially conscious culture in which we can effectively better our community.

HC: What would is the mission of the business?
Ryan: The mission is to a have a streetwear company that uses the influence of clothing and media to raise awareness about different types of art in Chapel Hill area. When you purchase Thrill City gear it means that 10 percent of your purchase goes directly to the Community Empowerment Fund, a non-profit member of the Thrill City team.

HC: When did you know that you wanted to start a clothing company?
Ryan:  I knew that I wanted to start streetwear company when I made a T-shirt design with Kendall Marshall's nickname and posted it online. Before I knew it,  the basketball players on Twitter started to tweet about the T-shirt. I started getting orders for the T-shirt, and in two weeks I sold 150 shirts. That was like the start of the company.

HC: How old is the company?
Ryan: The company has been around since April of 2011.

HC: What are your hopes for the future of the company?
Ryan: I hope to use the influence of the company to create and make a positive social change. The point of having musicians and poets and visual art online is to bring all different mediums together under one name and one movement. Thrill City would be the place that people in Chapel Hill or visiting Chapel Hill would go to find out current events happening in area.

HC: What are your plans for this summer?
Ryan: This summer I hope to go to other cities in North Carolina, and help create something similar. I would like to spread the model of Thrill City to other areas.
HC: How many people do work with right now?
Ryan: It’s mostly me.I also have a videographer Dylan Simel who helps me out sometimes.

HC: Where in Chapel Hill can student go to pick up your tees?
Ryan: The tees are not in stores yet.  We are hoping this summer to get some of them in stores on Franklin Street. But for right now you can pick it up online. Order your T-shirt here.

HC: What other activities do you do?
Ryan: Thrill City work takes most of my time. With going to class, attending meetings and events and working on the business, it’s hard to do clubs. I am currently working with organizations such as Sacrificial Poet, Carolina Creates music, Kamikaze and Carolina Creates Visual Arts.  As you can see the groups we work with are very diverse from poets to musicians to visual artists. As the Thrill City movement grows in Chapel Hill, we hope people will continue spreading the word and supporting our "social collective" in all of its efforts-- teaching, performing, event coordinating and more.

Stay in touch with Ryan Cocca by liking his page(s) on Facebook Thrillife and Thrillcity.  Also checking out his website for updates Thrillcity


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