“There's no way I would be the face of Cheeselandia. Why would they want me? You know, I'm just a girl from Georgia living in Tampa.”

- Charlesea’“Charlie” Stephens of Charlie Chows Down food blog, on the idea that food blogging would lead to representing brands from across the country

New people are being recognized thanks to the reach of our new video conferencing world.

A Tampa Bay area food blogger is the new face of Cheeselandia—a group promoting Wisconsin cheese.

What You Need To Know

And it’s all because she rocked a cheese board on a Zoom call.

Charlie of “Charlie Chows Down” food blog moved from Georgia to Florida about six years ago.

Her family got to know the area by trying new restaurants. And she faithfully documented things, as her hungry family waited to dig into their hot meals.

(She super duper appreciates them.)

How much does Charlie like food?

I waited four and a half hours in line for vegan hamburgers,” she said. “It was worth it. It was worth it.”

(It was a food truck from Atlanta - “Slutty Vegan.” They came to Tampa last month—and so Charlie waited in line in Ybor for a taste of the Hotlanta popular food. This made me think of the classic Simpsons episode in which Homer follow a rib sandwich’s limited release on a deadhead-like tour. Homer’s physiological response to the Ribwich sandwich is animated in close-ups: Homer's mouth takes a bite, his eyes dilate, his blood vessels constrict and then flood with pleasure hormones, as drool dribbles from his partially open, food-drunk mouth. )

Okay, back to the Zoom call that made the cheese connection.

COVID-19 restrictions meant eating out for food bloggers morphed into video cooking demos and “boho” picnic take-out layouts.

She joined a Zoom call with other food bloggers to make a cheese board.

And the hosts — Cheeselandia — approached her to be a spokesperson for their brand.

She said initially, she was shocked.

I mean, would she have believed this if someone told her six years ago where her food love would lead?

“There's no way I would be the face of Cheeselandia. Why would they want me? You know, I'm just a girl from Georgia living in Tampa,” she said would have been her reaction.

But it’s happened.

She is going on TV to talk about cheese.

(She says it’s easy because it’s good.)

Charlie says as a woman of color, she wants to encourage people who don’t look like the majority of the country.

Charlie of “Charlie Chows Down” food blog moved from Georgia to Florida about six years ago.

“I know that when you see in food ads and commercials, a lot of people won't look like us. And I know that doing food blogging, I can take that opportunity to be a face of, say, Wisconsin cheese, you know, or whatever restaurant or brand that you would like to be,” she said.

And she also credits her family for their support.

Charlie brother’s told her about people in L.A. with real and successful jobs as food bloggers; and how her parents for countless pictures of hot meals for at least the past six years.

Since March of 2019, Virginia has been talking with Tampa Bay area people about persevering during Life in The Time of Coronavirus.

You can find more stories like this one here.