Model Alexis Manson in the interview series What She Thinks.
What She Thinks is a series of interviews with women who inspire me about life, career, relationships, and style.
Today's heroine is Alexis Manson. We've met recently on a shoot and connected immediately. She is kind and warm but don't mistake these qualities for weakness, as you won't see it there.
Now, let Alexis tell you her own story. I hope you'll enjoy this conversation, as I certainly did.
B: In a few sentences, present yourself. Where were you born and raised? Where do you live now? What do you do? And how people can find you (social links, website)?
AM: My name is Alexis Manson, friends call me Lexi, but my family renamed me to Lec. Apparently, I wasn’t the law-abiding child my parents hoped for, constant yelling was the norm in my household resulting in my name getting half pronounced. “A..lec”, forget ‘xis’; I knew at that point I was in trouble.
I was born in Bloomfield, CT. I was raised by a mother who was half Ngabe and a country father from Fort Valley, GA. I had an amazing childhood, to say the least! My pops moved back to GA and I remained here with my mom, she is by far my biggest inspiration. She is my energy source which kept me in boring hole Connecticut.
I used to hate the question, “what do you do”? up until this year. I finally decided to use my talent as a graphic designer to benefit myself in my personal journey to become a discovered model.
The start of this year I launched my brand and online platform called, Voguish Grace – publicizing my journey as a represented model while collaborating with individuals within my niche to merge and expand our networks. My passion has always been modeling. So, when my new friend, Bogdana asks me, “what do you do for a living?” I proudly answer, I model!
B: What do you like about your job?
AM: I absolutely and wholeheartedly LOVE the opportunity of meeting individuals within my passion arena: photographers, makeup artist, fashion designers, stylist, models, and fashion bloggers.
I gain many of my collaboration opportunities on my Instagram account. I set aside time each day to respond to all those who took the time to like or comment on my journey. People do not realize how important it is for me to hear such positive feedback, it fuels me.
B: Are there any obstacles you experience often in your work? What are they?
AM: When I was a teenager hearing "No" was a huge obstacle for me but now as an adult, I see it is difficult walking in woman's skin all day and every day.
The filthy truth of the world’s Inequality against women pushes me to unravel knotted secrets of legendary women who battled courageously and indefatigably to affirm themselves as individuals and whizzes in their career focus.
We as women have to find the time to engrain ourselves within their souls, stimulating a metamorphic phenomenon – we can become them. Dive into the soul of women such as:
- Emmeline Pankhurst, co-founder of the Women’s Social and Political Union, we (women) vote because of her;
- Amelia Earhart, the first female to fly across the Atlantic Ocean;
- Elizabeth I, an intelligent and restorative figure who reigned 44 years exacting record-breaking societal change causing her method to be named the ‘Elizabethan.’
- The story of Malala Yousafzai propels me to keep reaching, no matter what injustices strike our path. Malala said, ‘I don’t want to be remembered as the girl who was shot. I want to be remembered as the girl who stood up’. This tenacious young girl was shot three times in the head because she professed her firm stance in girls receiving an education in Pakistan. Today at the age of 22 she has won the Nobel Peace Prize and the 100 Most Influential People in the World award.
All these women share two obvious common success factors - bravery and self-confidence. We have to strive hard to develop these qualities in ourselves so we can truly fulfill our destiny.
B: How do you overcome these obstacles to keep a balance?
AM: I decided to overcome the obstacle of being a woman by first saying "so what" and then creating a quote that would fuel my drive to become a discovered model – “When all else seems to fail, enlighten the world with your presence.” It is imperative for anyone who has a passion to take hold of it, never wait for society or obstacles to dictate your destiny.
B: If you could have an alternative career, think anything that already exists or completely fictional, what would it be?
AM: I would advocate for woman in business. I would create an initiative that would charge an army of successful women entrepreneurs in various field industries to Code Connect – an exclusive social platform network that connects, collaborates, learn, and creates the next generation of entrepreneurs. The initiative will work underground, devising an economical storm that will flood the minds of unbelievers.
I am kind of doing this already…but trust and believe I haven’t even touched the surface of my initiative's potential. I am going to need an army for sure,.do you want to join?
B: When do you feel you’re yourself the most?
AM: When I am behind a camera. I come alive!
It took a long time for me to except my freckled face and mountain-like cheekbones. But when I met my mother’s people, I said to myself “My God, I love my genes; I love my family.” When I see the photographs of my various shoots, I am truly amazed and proud to walk in the genes God decided to give me. #Ilovemygenes
B: Same questions but from the style perspective. What clothes make you feel your best?
I feel the best when I wear the brand Free People! I believe if you find a brand that pushes you to accept exile, you except living your own free life. I love my bohemian style, it is so effortless, carefree, and it has the genuine feel to it – it makes you more approachable.
B: What do you think of modern culture and the role it plays in our womanhood?
AM: It takes a village to raise our young girls today. The media consumption statistics are heavily on the rise; millennials are bombarded with what they believe is “reality.” Let’s take for instance the shows: Keeping up with the Kardashians; The Real World; Love and Hip Hop; etc. They portray women in a degrading light, and the youth want to look and act like these classless women, utterly shameful. Shows like these twist our young girls into believing sex, violence, alcohol, and smoking pot are the ingredients to being successful. That harsh and undeniable reality is truly alarming.
They portray women in a degrading light, and the youth want to look and act like these classless women, utterly shameful.
Teach girls to balance and how to acquire wisdom by questioning everything, practice the healthy skepticism. This day and age our children are not avid readers, find another way to reach them. Encourage girls to listen to Podcasts that are packed with great content designed to be impactful with women as the lead behind the media output.
My podcast suggestions are: The Big Leap Show; She Did it Her Way; Call your Girlfriend; Be Amplified; Creative Living. My favorite podcast show is called the Big Leap Show. It is full of inspiration and stories on how women have made big leaps to pursue their passions. Good media does exist, but we have to train and direct our girls on where to find them.
B: And finally, who would you invite to your dream soiree? (Think of anyone dead or alive)
AM: I would invite Ronnell Braxton the love of my life. A dream soiree doesn’t exist without my best friend!
Photography by Bogdana Ferguson