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Check out our interview with Model and Entrepreneur Ashley Alexiss who is one of the most prominent plus size models in the world and also owner and designer of the Alexiss Swimwear brand.

Ashley’s amassed over 2 million followers on her social media channels, puts out an annual calendar, and was a 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue finalist.

Follow Ashley @AshAlexiss

Hi Ashley, please tell us a little about you?

Thanks so much for the feature : ) I’m Ashley Alexiss, 30 & from Boston. I enjoy referring to myself as a self-made, plus-size, model as well as a “Jill of all trades.” I have 2 college degrees, including my Masters in Business Administration. My three rescue puppies are my motivation every day and I’m incredibly lucky to be married to the absolute love of my life who pushes me to be the best version of myself day in and day out.

Describe yourself in 3 words?

Passionate. Independent. Persevering.

When did you start in the business?

I’ve been in this industry since I was 15 but working professionally since I was 19. Before my 16th birthday, I entered the Miss Teen Massachusetts pageant, where I won Miss Congeniality, and had to do a mandatory photoshoot. As soon as I heard the camera shutter, something clicked. I followed the road from there with lots of research, practice, and determination. I’ve never had an agent or manager, so it’s definitely been A LOT of work!

Tell us about your company ALEXISS swimwear?

Alexiss Swimwear is my heart & soul. I always say that my main goal in life is to create something that will outlive me & I plan on Alexiss Swimwear being one of the biggest reason that goal is brought to fruition. I created Alexiss because I was tired of hearing “plus size” or “regular sized” when it comes to swimwear (among many other things, but that’s for another time.) So I decided to create a, truly, size inclusive, swimwear brand. One that really understood a woman’s need for a supportive swimsuit for ALL cup sizes. Alexiss actually goes from an A-L cup in tops & is the most inclusive, USA made, swimwear brand. My message is that “Beauty is not a Size” & I make sure to put that through in all my designs.

What are the challenges you face as a designer?

Being inventive is tough on it’s own. But even more so when you’re also a full time model, travel the world for work, take care of 3 rescue dogs, and still try to find time to be yourself. I do my best to look for inspiration in all of my days and even will ask teams I work with, like hair & makeup artists, what colors or styles they’re loving at the moment. I’m not a typical designer. I do not care about what’s the latest “fad” or cohesive collections. I care about giving women choices and speaking to their many unique tastes without having to sacrifice quality, size, or support.

What would you say a color that resonates with you the most and why?

Pink, absolutely. It’s just a very ME color. It makes me feel bold and beautiful and I believe it does for many other women as well.

Where we can buy them?

www.ShopAlexiss.com

What is fun and rewarding about modeling? And what is not?

Traveling & inspiring the model industry to be more inclusive is, by far, my favorite part of the industry. I love hearing from new clients that I’m the first plus model they’re using to test that market & then following up to hear that it’s sold out. It makes me smile knowing there are women out there loving every inch of themselves in something I modeled and hopefully inspired them to stop caring about what society says about “size.” With anything, there’s always negatives. Such as trying to please everyone & also learning things about yourself that you never knew… Good ole gossip. It can take a toll on your mental health, but I’ve had lots of years of practice to just laugh at it.

The most important thing when you are shooting is?

MUSIC! I tap into the music and it comes through in my photos. I’ve always believed expressions are the art of modeling. Anyone can pose, but truly capturing an emotion with just a simple look is important. Music helps me.

What’s your advice for the newer models? 

RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. I cannot stress this enough. There are so many creeps looking to take advantage of new models and their lack of knowledge. Please protect yourself!

What would say are the greatest lessons you learned so far in this business?

To be myself, entirely. I’m open and honest about every aspect of my life & I do that because people are always going to want to find things out about you. Therefore, I let them hear it from the source rather than get it tangled with a bunch of falsehoods.

How is your work doing with all this COVID lockdown time?

I’ve been incredibly blessed with a hamster that constantly runs on a wheel in my brain to help me come up with new ideas to innovate whatever comes my way. COVID was no different. My husband & I created a home studio & had all of my clients, all over the world, ship up their product, and we shot it for them since they couldn’t produce photoshoots. It was a way for us to help everyone involved & keep ourselves working while we were at it. I will say, it’s incredibly exhausting. The 2 of us doing the work of 6-7 people I usually have on set. From tanning myself to hair & makeup to wardrobe, lighting, and then the photography too. I’ll never take having a team for granted again!

What is the key to your success?

Happiness. I truly love what I do & it fulfills me, which makes me strive to be better every chance I get.

What do you think is the secret to have a successful Instagram account?

Boobs help lol All kidding aside, remaining true to who I am. I believe people are often conditioned to believe that influencers have these glamorous lives and it’s because it’s thrown in our faces all the time. But there’s much more, including bad days. I share all of that. The good, bad, ugly and I stand up for what I believe in. I feel that has had a lot to do with my success on social media.

You are followed by so many people. How do you feel about that pressure of doing always the right thing, and encourage people to follow their dreams?

I don’t ever feel pressured because I share what aligns with my values. I think of social media as an outlet rather than a task or job. Who I am is shared in each and every post.

How would you explain your fashion style?

Honestly, I’m not big on fashion. Shocking, I know. I live for comfort. If you catch me out, you’ll most likely either find me in sweats or a maxi dress and always in flip flops. Don’t get me wrong, I can dress up and have a shoe collection that’ll blow your mind, but I have so much else to worry about than putting together a fancy outfit to just run to the grocery store lol.

What is your own definition of happiness?

Happiness is in experiences, not things.

What is next for Ashley Alexiss in 2021?

I’m manifesting rookie for SI Swimsuit.

Something people don’t know about you?

I struggle with anxiety & depression. I’m pretty open about it but just recently because I was in denial about it & I’m a “fixer” so I kept trying to fix it on my own without understanding that my brain needed actual, professional, help. By far, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

What would be a deal breaker on a first date?

Physically, teeth! I cannot handle someone who doesn’t take care of their mouth. Mentally, egotistical. Just a big “no-no!” Emotionally, not engaging in eye contact. It shows that they’re not truly interested in who I am. Sexually, a bad kisser. Ooofftt. Need I say more?

Which project is still on your bucket list?

Continuing to create something that will outlive me.

In five years from now, where do you see yourself and your career?

I see myself inspiring all types of people to follow their goals & hopefully speaking about it on a more public platform. Also, branching my business, Alexiss Swimwear, into other categories, while traveling the world & meeting new people and understanding new cultures.

What music do you like?

EVERYTHING! Seriously. Modeling has opened my mind to so much music to help me really tap into my emotions. It truly depends on my mood.

What do you like to watch on Tv?

“Friends.” That’s it. That’s the answer.

3 things you can’t leave home without?

My phone. Lip Balm. & a mask. See what I did there? lol

Idea of a perfect Sunday?

FOOOOOTBALL!!

What do you think of Social Media?

I think it’s an incredibly powerful tool. It’s given me everything I have without the help of any agent, manager, or someone to put me up for jobs. But with every good thing, there are bad things. It can be toxic because it’s always in your face and shapes the way you think of yourself by comparing yourself to those you follow. I think it’s soooooo important to take breaks from social media to just come back to reality & realize that you, yourself, are enough.

Where we can follow you?

Instagram: @AshAlexiss
Twitter: @Ashalexiss
TikTok: @AshAlexiss
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/ashleyalexiss

 

Favorite Quote: “BEAUTY IS NOT A SIZE!”

Favorite Actor/Actress: Ryan Reynolds. Rachel McAdams

Favorite Drink: Clase Azul Reposado Tequila

Celebrity Crush: Justin Timberlake

Favorite City: I don’t have a favorite city, but I have a favorite country (so far) South Africa

Favorite Sport Team: Patriots

Favorite Song: “Bittersweet Symphony” – The Verve