Create & Cultivate 100: Food: Marissa Ross

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Notes of brilliance, with a hint of sarcasm, finishes strong.  

That's Marissa Ross as a wine. *We know nothing about wine.* But we are the exact kind of reader and drinker the wine writer has empowered. Wine, for most, is a scary subject. *Do you taste cherry? Is it peppery? Can wine be fuzzy? I feel fuzzy. Why am I swirling this glass? hits floor.* 

'Cause look, shoving our nose into a glass and inhaling wine notes, makes most of us feel like imposters. Marissa has loosened up that stigma, writing about vino like as one writes about their favorite other binges. Wine and Amazon Prime, ya'll. 

She's got haters, ya-- those who says she's unqualified. And she responds to them. (SHE GIVES NO DAMNS.) She does however give great IG Story, is the author of Wine. All The Time, The Casual Guide to Confident Drinkingis Man Repeller's "go-to wine expert," and looks damn good in a red lip (see above) with a red (see above) in hand. 

Don't put a cork in her. She's not even close to done. 

More from Marissa below. 

Name: Marissa A. Ross

Instagram handle: @marissaaross

So when Mindy Kaling writes this about you, “Can I just be Marissa, please? I want to be hilarious and sexy and smart and insanely knowledgeable about wine.” Where do you go from there?

The retirement home! [laughs] You can't really top that.

Now let's back it up. When did you first realize that you could write about wine in a way that made people want to know more?

February 3rd, 2015. I'd been making videos and writing about wine since 2011, but it wasn't like a "thing." I never went viral, I didn't have insane traffic. Honestly, I'd have like fourteen hits, and half of those would be me neurotically rereading and editing my own work. Writing about wine was something I did for me because I genuinely enjoyed it, and honestly, never in a million years thought about it as a career. But February 3rd, 2015, Grub Street published an article about my wine writing and videos by Sierra Tishgart and my life changed forever. I woke up that morning to fifty-something emails from literary agents, publishers, magazines, all asking me to write about wine. It was like a cartoon anvil falling out of the sky on my head. I couldn't believe it. It's still hard for me to believe.

Why do you think wine makes people so nervous/like they have to know so much?

I think of wine and its culture on this constant pendulum, swinging between being for the people and being for status. In the 1990s, we hit a peak of wine being for status; it was used to show off money, to show off intellect, to show off "taste," just like people brag about Rolexes, Ivy League degrees or Leonard Cohen albums. People are nervous and feel like they have to know so much about wine because wine culture made sure we felt that way. Not only was "good" wine exclusive, but so was the information around it. But now that pendulum is swinging back, and people are realizing that wine is not just for them, but for everyone. It's really exciting for me to see more people enjoy wine, and be empowered by it.

"Wine is for everyone."

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Best wine night memory:

It would be impossible to choose just one. Wine is so special because it is so much about set and setting. I've had the best nights in the countryside of Umbria, the wine bars of Barcelona, just in my backyard with my husband.

Worst wine might memory:

I used to do these under $10 wine review videos for Hello Giggles called Wine Time. The first time I ever shot anything, I was being very cocky and thought for some reason I could do two episodes back to back. As it turns out, if you drink nearly two bottles of $3, you will inevitably-- and mysteriously-- end up crying on your neighbor's couch for no apparent reason and then going home to spend the rest of the evening puking straight wine. Glad I got that mistake, and valuable lesson, out of the way, right away.

How deep into a glass should one actually put their nose?

As someone who has a long nose and constantly has wine on the end of it, I say as deep as you damn well want!

What is your biggest pet peeve?

It's a tossup between winesplaining, and when finished plates are left on the table for long periods of time in restaurants.

What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?

I don't just drink wine all day. (laughs) [ed note: laughs]

IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated with other people's work?

I think it's important to immerse yourself in art that is outside of what you personally create in your career. You want to stay inspired, to be seeking fresh perspectives, to push yourself in new directions. Sometimes those directions don't work out like you'd like, but you're still moving forward, and you never know where those directions will lead you.

"It's important to immerse yourself in art that is outside of what you personally create in your career."

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What about your career makes you feel the most complete?

Five star Amazon reviews. I'm kidding! The thing that really completes me, is that I get to empower others. I meet people all the time that were so afraid of wine, that are now confident and enjoying wine more than ever because I was able to give them the tools and information they needed in an accessible, fun way. I feel really fortunate every day that I have the opportunity to tell people that think they can't, that they can.

If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?

Bourdain, of course. Who doesn't want to travel the world eating and drinking all the delicious things? Or Amy Sedaris. Her new show, "At Home with Amy Sedaris" is a dream show to me-- hilarious comedy and commentary with a midcentury slant. Like if I could somehow trade half of Bourdain's job with half of Sedaris', that would be the ultimate for me.


At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?

It was before I had a career, back when I dropped out of school and moved to Los Angeles. I had no money, no connections, no prospects. Every day I wrote and told myself I was a writer, that I was going to be a writer, and that nothing could stop me. I know my career seemingly happened overnight, but there were many failures, dead ends, and shitty day jobs before any success. I had to have confidence in my work and in myself very early on to keep going no matter what. That relentless, blind confidence, combined with the confidence of finding success by working through failure, is what makes me the woman I am today.

Every day I just wrote and told myself I was a writer, that I was going to be a writer, and that nothing could stop me.

What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?

Don't let "perfect" stand in the way of good.

"Don't let "perfect" stand in the way of good."

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When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?

I take a deep breath and I look around, and I listen. There are opportunities around us every day; we're often just too busy looking and listening to everything else to notice them.

What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?

"Forest Green" by Mike G. or "The Spiteful Chant" by Kendrick Lamar.

Photo Credit: @davisfactor

Hair & Makeup: @SmashboxCosmetics @TheGlamApp @TheOuai