Hometown: Medfield, MA
So you know that dream that you’ve always had to strut down the runway in fabulous clothes? Alex James has made that happen! Currently a sophomore, Alex balances her work as a Finance major, singing her heart out at choirs around campus AND modeling part time. Luckily she made time to stop by and talk about her amazing experience in the world of modeling.
How did you get into modeling?
I was into acting at first, so I would always go online and look up how to get into more acting opportunities, and how to get an acting agent. It just goes hand in hand, you hear about modeling through acting. So I figured out a couple of agencies we had in Boston, (this was about when I was in 8th grade) so I went to the open call and ended up getting a call back and they signed me. I never really did anything with that agency but when I went off to college I wanted to get back into it, I really enjoyed it. And now that I’m at at college I can kind of do my own thing, and get on the train and go to Boston if I have to. So I went to another open call for this agency and then got signed by them.
What agency do you currently work for?
Clique. They do print work, runway and promotional.
What kind of work have you done in the modeling business?
So far I’ve done runway.
How do you like it?
I love it, it’s really fun. I think it comes kind of naturally to me.
What would you say is your most memorable experience with modeling?
Probably Boston Fashion Week. I modeled for a designer named Michael DePaolo. And that was really cool, because it was the first legitimate fashion show that I did. I was getting paid for it, it was real. It was so crazy backstage, they were literally picking my jewelry about 2 seconds before I went onto the runway. I also got to try on a lot of fun clothes. And I met a lot of fun girls there.
Alex James at Boston Fashion Week (wish I had that dress…)
Photo Credit: Stuff Publication
Do you have another gig coming up in the near future?
My mom went to this hair salon in Boston on Newbury Street, and she just happened to mention that her daughter models. And the hairdresser said that they always need models for their hair salon. What they’ll do is that they’ll cut your hair for free if you model for them; that’s what I’m hoping to do soon. I mean they’ve already given me the free haircut so I have to do it at some point.
Are there any stereotypes about the modeling business that you can bash?
I’ve never been asked to lose weight, or have been told that I can only eat certain things. Maybe in New York it’s different, but in Boston they’ve been very supportive. They promote exercising, but I’ve never had a lot of pressure on my weight or anything.
What else do you do on campus?
I sing in Concert Chorale, Women’s Choir and Liturgical Choir. I’m also in Colleges Against Cancer.
How do you find balance in your schoolwork, modeling and extracurricular?
I’ve definitely had to miss a few classes in the past for traveling, especially to take the train into Boston and then a bus into New York. It is hard, and you have to make certain decisions to balance the time. If I was out of school it’d be easier because I’d have more time to devote to it.
Do you want to continue this after you graduate? Any plans of what you’d want to do after graduating?
I would want to devote more time to it after college. You do reach a certain age where it’s tough to break into the industry. I really like fashion as well, so even if I wasn’t modeling I’d want to intern with a designer or something.
How about acting? Is that something you’d like to continue at some point?
I did a lot of acting when I was younger, but I kind of stopped doing it. I don’t know if I want to do theater acting, but I think modeling leads to acting at a certain point. If that opportunity ever came up I’d definitely take it. But I’m majoring in finance because I want to eventually be a film producer; I’m hoping to take film production classes rather than acting classes.
Is there anything you’ve learned from this whole experience?
Strange as it sounds I’ve learned a lot about make-up. I never really cared about what make-up I wore until I went to these modeling jobs and they would put on different brands and tell me how to apply it. I’ve really gained an interest in it. And I’ve learned a lot about fashion as well.
I’ve noticed that you take awesome pictures around campus. How is that experience?
It was brought up last year that I model, and my friend loves to take pictures and asked if I could take pictures with him. I did that last year with another friend of ours, and we did it again this year. We’re a good team, he’s a great photographer. It’s also really good practice.
In her spare time, Alex takes amateur photos around campus. FIERCE.
Photo Credit: Zachary Gavry Photography
Do you have any advice for those who want to break into the business and want to pursue it?
Start researching, you can look online and look up local agencies. You have to be really careful though, you can run into a lot of scams out there. If they ever ask you for money up front, don’t even bother with them, they’re most likely a scam. Just make sure they’re part of the Better Business Bureau. Go for it, it’s a lot of fun! Don’t be discouraged if an agency doesn’t like you; there are a lot of different agencies out there and they’re all going for a different look.
Any parting words for our readers?
“Don’t compromise yourself, you’re all you’ve got.” (Janis Joplin)