babe love: alandra michelle

Melissa

There are some people in the world who are your friends, but offer much more than simply a friendship. It’s the feeling that you can’t explain in any other way than the phrase “we just get each other.”

Alandra is one of those women. I met her during an internship we were both a part of and we just kind of clicked. I was completely blown away by her authenticity, creativity, and perspective of the world.She is a Jane of all trades and aside from her breathtaking photography portfolio, she has two other known talents which deserve more recognition: art and writing. Her art is stunning and the words she writes resonate much deeper than surface level. She’s worked for Nobleman Magazine, Wayfare, and does freelance work for refreshingly minimalist boutiques and cafes. I had the opportunity to interview and get inside the beautiful mind of the person I consider one of my dearest friends.

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All photos have been taken by Alandra.

You’re an artist, a photographer, and a writer–how did you get involved in each one?

I don’t really know how it happened, I was just born with it. I started writing as soon as I knew how to spell. I loved art and photography; I was happy looking at pieces in galleries and museums–standing there just staring at them. I loved music, picked up the guitar a bit, and sang a bit, but I always seemed to have a camera in my hand. It wasn’t until after one of my best friends died in high school when I began to really channel into my love for photography. I took my first black and white film class sophomore year, and formed what I didn’t know would be one of the most important relationships of my life. My photography teacher, who became my mentor and biggest supporter, picked up one of my photos and said to me, “Look at this. This is good. This is what you are going to do. Now go do.” I was pretty much sold at that moment. I think of him every now and then when I feel stuck or at a standstill in my work.

Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by women who have pushed the envelope on female standards and expectations. I love women like Sophia Bush and Lena Dunham who have used their talents and fame to enhance their roles as political and social feminist activists. Art-wise, I’m infatuated with Jenavieve Belair, a Southern Californian fashion and lifestyle photographer. She is so stripped and raw with her work, which I love. I admire women who are authentically themselves, even if it probably scares them a little.

What is a song or album that describes your life?

Hmm, my life is definitely a mix of albums haha. I’d say I’m a little bit of everything. There’s some Lana in me, a little Amy, The Kooks, 1975, LANY, CHVRCHES, and of course The Lumineers.

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How would you describe your style? Do you have a method to getting dressed each day?

I like to keep my style classy with some edge. I’m pushing myself to go further out of my comfort zone nowadays, but I definitely wear a lot of black. You just can’t go wrong with black on black.

What’s the hardest part about being a creative? How do you get past these obstacles?

Two things. Fear and comparison. There’s nothing worse than the fear of putting your work out there, the fear that no one will validate your worth, or the fear that you won’t make it. Comparison is a tough one because it’s human nature, at least for women I think it is. And we tend to use the excuse that what we’re comparing ourselves to is a source of “inspiration,” but there’s a difference. If the source that is “inspiring” you is making you feel incapable, low, or worthless, it’s no longer inspiration. Get it out of your life. Inspiration should help you grow, teach you a new skill, and ignite a fire inside you that makes you want to create and share.

 

I can’t say there’s an easy or specific way to overcome the obstacles that come with being a creative, but I do know I have to keep pushing. If you love it, keep doing it, and let that carry you. It’s easier said than done, but I’ve learned that being a creative takes passion, patience, hard work, dedication, and baby steps. Once you understand that, it’s easier to accept the obstacles, because you know it’s just a part of the journey.

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Why do you think it’s so important to empower women and other creatives?

I have so much to say on this topic, I honestly think I could write about it forever, but I’ll keep it as simple as this: People have the power to lift each other up or bring each other down. Especially in this day and age, with the heartbreak that has followed politics, the rise of social media and self image, and the increased role the creative industry has taken, why would we tear each other down? What exactly is the purpose of that? If humans have the power to inflict pain, fear, and insecurity, then they have the power to fuel each other, inspire good, and support one another. Do good and be good. Not to mention, you have no idea what kind of opportunities could come from collaboration, grabbing a cup of coffee with another creative, asking for advice or offering advice. I’m a huge believer in creating community. Creatives are soulful deep thinkers who have so much to give, and inspiration is such a huge part of who they are and the identity of their work, so why not be a source of inspiration for someone else? (And this goes for both men and women. But, women especially, we do some pretty incredible things when we come together.)

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What’s something that interests you that isn’t related to the work you do?

It’s hard to answer this question without it relating back to my work because I think a lot of pieces of life are all a part of influencing what I do and why I do it, but putting creativity aside, I’ve always been interested in politics and feminist movements. ( See, that influences my work 😉 ) If I wasn’t in the creative industry, I would be involved in some kind of female activist group. I loved US History when I was in school, and I always thought if I were alive during the time of the peace protests or when the fight for women’s suffrage was taking place, I would’ve been rallying alongside the other women I would’ve held similar beliefs with. I love the idea of fighting for what you believe in. I’m so drawn to that.

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What are your goals for the future?

I have quite a few goals: be the editor in chief of a women’s magazine, travel more and take my work elsewhere, learn Italian and live in Italy for a year or two. But my main goal is to inspire women. As cheesy as it sounds, I want to make a difference in someone. Creativity is an escape for me, and it puts me in a really peaceful spot, where I’m comfortable telling a story. I want my work to evoke something inside someone else. Something real. I don’t know how to explain it, I guess I just want to make people feel connected to my work and hopefully, feel inspired by it.

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What changes do you hope to see in the fashion, art and/or creative industries in the next few years?

Honestly, I would love to see the creative industry be taken more seriously as a career. Artists, writers, musicians, videographers, photographers, and designers fill our world with the things we love. Things that bring us emotion and keep us in touch with our human souls. Creatives are responsible for incorporating our lives with personality, beauty, style, excitement, and authenticity, whether it’s through poetry or literature, movies, music, clothing, interior structure, decor, and design. And that’s not even the half of it. Creatives put themselves wholeheartedly into what they do, and they should be recognized for that.

You can follow Alandra on Instagram here and check out her website here.

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