Today we’d like to introduce you to Bianca Alexa.
Bianca, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’m a model and full-time Mama. Known on social media as SimplyBiancaAlexa. I was born and raised in England but my family and I moved to Puerto Rico when I was ten to be with my mother’s side of the family. When I was growing up, the lack of representation in the media was intense and having straight hair was everything! I grew up getting chemical straighteners, and dying my hair blonde to try and mold myself into the “beauty” standards I had always seen shown in the media.
It wasn’t until I was almost 20 years old that I realized I didn’t even know what my natural hair texture looked like, let alone how to take care of it. As fate would have it, due to all the chemicals, straightening and box dyes I damaged my hair so much it started falling out. Unwillingly I cut it all off with the goal of growing it out and straightening it again but as my natural hair texture began to grow it looked so healthy compared to what my damaged straight ends were, which lead to my “natural hair” journey.
It felt like a painfully slow process, breaking away from all the images I thought made me beautiful. I had long straight hair for most of my life and in a way, it became my safety blanket. In my mind, my long straight hair was what made me beautiful so when I cut it all off It took me months to really learn to love and accept my authentic self. It was definitely a struggle but looking back now, I realize it was also the most amazing feeling to finally feel beautiful in my own skin and with my natural hair.
This is what sparked the beginning of my YouTube channel. I wanted to inspire other people going through the same thing, people that were struggling to accept their natural hair texture and looking for ways to care for and style it. Through building an online presence, I was not only able to connect with so many amazing people all over the world but I have also been blessed to work with brands I’ve grown up loving such as: L’Oreal, Reebok, IPSY, True Botanicals, Smashbox, Urban Decay, NYX Cosmetics, ColourPop, Honest Beauty and more.
Growing up, I never thought that I would one day be featured in magazines and billboards across the world. Seeing them still blows my mind and I’m so grateful for this journey and how far God has brought me.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being a freelance model, and black on top of that means you have to work ten times harder just to be given an opportunity to be in the room. We are constantly overlooked by modeling agencies and talent agents. Often, we are used as the token black model in a campaign full of white faces. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have to prep and style my own hair for shoots because the stylist on set doesn’t know how to work with textured hair.
I’ve been to castings for modeling agencies with my portfolio full of both national and international campaigns that I have booked solo, e.g., L’oreal Colorist international campaign (featured on Billboards, magazines and their hair box dye) and Reebok international campaign (for their pure move sports bra featured worldwide). And even with all of this in my book (among others), I still get overlooked by agencies because “they already have that look”. Meaning they already have one black model with an afro, so why take a chance on another.
This is something many black models and talent of color deal with on a regular bases which is what lead me to launch #VisiblyUS. I want to highlight black models and talent of color in the beauty and fashion industry. To amplify our talent and voices, to talk openly about what we experience within the industry and what needs to change. I’m hoping it can also be a place of resource for brands to find and work with talent of color. To create equal opportunities for us and allow us the same space they give our white counterparts.
The #Blacklivesmatter movement is a wake up call for brands because they can’t just post a black square to their feed and go radio silent. They need to actively support the movement by putting their money and actions behind it.
It’s great to see so many people and companies stepping up and speaking up about the injustices that will no longer be tolerated. It’s Important to use your voice for what you stand for, no matter how big or small your platform might be.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a freelance model and content creator. I work with brands by modeling for their campaigns and/or creating content for them to use on their social media accounts. This could be: high-quality images, captivating video content, or product review features on my YouTube channel and blog. I have been featured in TeenVogue, Latina, Essence, InStyle, Vogue, People, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Univision & Refinery29 (among others) and have worked with brands such as: Adidas, Honest Beauty, Target, Google, Olay, Aeropostale, Bumble & bumble, L’Oreal, JCrew, Urban Decay, Reebok, Volcom Women, NYX Cosmetics, True Botanicals, Smashbox, SheaMoisture, EM Cosmetics, IPSY and more.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would’ve started sooner! I would’ve done my “big chop” sooner, I would’ve started my YouTube channel sooner and kept going with it. I let fear get in the way too many times and I get really hard on myself for not being where I want to be in the moment which is so counterproductive, instead of focusing on how far I have come. Every closed door forces us to grow and learn new ways to achieve our goals, which is something I am still learning and growing through. I think it’s important to work hard but also have grace with yourself during the whole process. Start over as many times as you need to, just keep going!
- Website: www.simplybiancaalexa.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simplybiancaalexa/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/biancaalexa2o
- Other: https://www.pinterest.com/simplybiancaalexa/
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