Project - Alexis Chanelle is a demonstration of those acts. The biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout this month-long journey is that action is the only solution to problems. I cannot solely breathe and write my way through healing my inner child, I must act on her behalf. Since I’ve already confessed one childhood secret of mine, here’s another, one of the first books I ever bought with my own money was Seventeen Magazine’s fashion essential handbook. It was about 100 pages of what every girl needed in her closet. Sublimely influenced by Seventeen, Project - Alexis Chanelle features three episodes of my Doing The Most style series. Doing The Most is series a videos where I take one piece of clothing and style it multiple ways, #doingthemost.
is series a videos where I take one piece of clothing and style it multiple ways, #doingthemost.
DOING THE MOST is a social media fashion series where I show my audience how to get the most out of their closets. After years of putting the idea of making content for a living on the back burner, I am choosing to partake in the business of using the internet to make money because as a black woman, statiscally, it will take me a year and seven months to make as much as a white man does in one year. (source) Pulling from artists like Petra Cortright, Theaster Gate, and Martine Syms, I am in the process of discovering ways that my art practice will demonstrate how artists can monetize the production and accessibility of their work. One of the most lucrative and feasible ways, I've seen this done is through Instagram influencers which is another reason why I am partaking in this system.
“Take yourself seriously.” I remember when I first learned that Kimberly Drew aka museummammy would be coming to campus. I was having a studio visit with one of my professors and she recommended I make Drew’s upcoming lecture a priority. I had visited musemummamy’s instagram a number of times but honestly, had no clue who was behind the aspirational carefree black girl, artfluencer feed. I didn’t know museummammy was Kimberly Drew, a girl who transformed her Tumblr into a full time job working for, one of THE most world renowned museums in the world, THE MET, then decided to ditch that career and employ herself as a lecturer, influencer, and community advocate. Had I not went to her lecture her life would have seemed unattainable. But the one thing we both have in common is our access to the Internet. Drew used her social media platform, Tumblr, to showcase Black contemporary artists which led to career and life changing opportunities and a major contributing factor was her decision to take herself seriously. To believe that she deserved to be a part of the artworld. After Drew’s lecture, I thought about the ways I could amp up my social media engagement in order to become a fashion influencer.
After reading Digit@l girls : fashion's new tribe : risk takers, rule breakers, and disrupters, I felt motivated and inspired to tackle the gram. Digit@l girls is an anthology of some of the first and most popular fashion influencers in the world. The book interviews about 20 women who revealed their journey to social media success. Majority of them started off just having fun and posting pictures on their blogs, then they took over Instagram, and boom! They became full fledged, front row at fashion week regulars. Once I closed the book, I thought I was ready to show the world what I got. So, my first proposal was based around cracking the Instagram algorithm, wondering if consistency and commitment would increase my visibility and engagement on the app but over the course of this project I discovered that I needed to commit to healing my own wounds before I could consistently post. Luckily being ordered to stay at home facilitates many hours of reflection which resulted in me realizing that my relationship with myself and social media had roots in fearland.
Since I was about 10 years old, I knew I wanted to be a vlogger. Vlogging was not a term at the time but I knew I wanted to have a camcorder with me at all times so I could capture moments with my family and friends. For Christmas that year, I got two camcorders, the luxury of having parents who were separated. I vividly remember opening my screen door Christmas morning and my dad hanging me the pink dxg camcorder, the exact one I wanted. I can still feel the sense of surprise I felt holding the camera I was hoping for in my hand. With the privilege of having two camcorders at my disposal, one would have thought I would become the next vlog star. Regretfully my mind's nemesis, fear, made a home in my head and began making rooms of what other people would think and as fear would have it I rarely used my camcorders. With the guilt and regret of not starting sooner weighing heavy on my shoulders, I could not move forward until I released those emotions. Through meditation and journaling I have been able to detach from my shoulda, coulda, wouldas and move into action based reactions.
The best part of creating Doing The Most is conceptualizing the outfits, figuring out how to get the most of each article of clothing. On the flip side, the most challenging part is quieting my little voice of fear that would say, “none of these outfits are doing the most/ they’re all kind of basic/ noone is going to watch this or wear this/ blah blah blah.” Out of all the “how to be successful on social media” videos I’ve watched, none of them warn you about the biggest obstacle you will face daily, yourself.
What started as just a way to increase my Instagram presence has morphed into a self-healing journey, a journey of return. Returning to my inner child who saw herself as this personality ready to take on the entertainment and fashion industry.