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Because Representation Matters – Discussing Tik Tok, Confidence, and the Power of Black Women with Model, Alexa McCoy
By Devyn Bakewell, Staff Writer
Published April 1, 2022

 

“Why should anyone’s beauty take away from me?” With over seventy-thousand followers, Alexa McCoy is pushing women to be their most confidence as their complete selves. (Photo provided by Alexa McCoy)

Alexa McCoy is a vibrant personality who is dominating the Tik Tok universe right now. With over seventy-thousand followers, the young influencer, and now model, is encouraging people to love themselves through her vulnerability and voice.

Born with a passion for photography, Alexa has always enjoyed working behind the camera. However, It wasn’t until she went to college when she went from behind the camera to in front of it.

“I started taking photos on Instagram, and really loved it.” McCoy told the Los Angeles Sentinel. “I’ve always had an eye for getting a good photo, and my friends would ask me to help them with posts. But I lived in a small college town, Pullman, Washington, where Instagram wasn’t really popping off.”

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During the pandemic, Alexa moved back to Los Angeles, and while working as a sales representative for a wine and spirits company, social media became her much-needed escape.

(Photo provided by Alexa McCoy)

“My life sucked, my job drained the life out of me. But during my breaks I’d make videos on Tik Tok, and it was the only thing that really kept me going.”

With hard work and consistency came Tik Tok traction. Alexa quickly realized that the videos of her discussing her confidence, and how she went about her everyday life (what she’d wear, what she’d do with her friends, etc.), were the ones people related to most. With more eyes on her, Alexa was able to turn her new influencer title to even more when she picked up modeling.

“The first major brand I worked with was Savage Fenty, which gave me the confidence to be like okay go crazy,” said McCoy. “I started blowing off my sales job, which gave me anxiety, but I was like am I going to go to this event and potentially book the gig of my dreams, or sit in my car and sell wine bottles?”

After quitting her job, the rising influencer began dedicating her time to Tik Tok and modeling. However, with her new Tik Tok fame, McCoy began to absorb herself in the Black community of Tik Tok.

McCoy is well-known for her collaborations with Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty (Photo provided by Alexa McCoy)

Born in Palos Verdes, McCoy’s family was one of about three black families in the area.

“No one in my neighborhood was black, no one sitting next to me in class was black. There was always a part of me where I felt like I could fully express myself, ever, because I was constantly being judged or torn down.”

Alexa then confessed, “When I went to college, I was, again, not really around a lot of Black people, but I was around educated people who encouraged me to be myself. My main motivator in moving back to LA was because I needed to be around diversity, and in my first job they lied and said they were actively seeking diversity, but I was the only person of color and only woman on the team.”

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It was on Tik Tok where McCoy was able to be vulnerable with her followers about being mixed as well as being a Black girl who comes from a white community.

“Do not rely on anyone to make you feel beautiful You need to 100% pull that from yourself. If you have to come ready for set, you come ready for set, and don’t let anyone take that away from you.” (Photo provided by Alexa McCoy)

“I was coming home to a Black family, so I was around Black culture every single day, but I wasn’t often around black peers,” Alexa told LAS. “That was something I was very insecure about, and something I openly talked about on my Tik Tok – the desire for black community, and how I have been judged on both sides. Not feeling black enough or white enough and knew I could either stay in my shell and not branch out to people or I can branch out and be who I am.”

In a video where Alexa discussed this, she found that a lot of women also shared this insecurity. McCoy started a conversation in which Black women discussed mixed girls, skin color privilege, and insecurities that all different sorts of Black women face on a regular basis in their own communities.

“I think that was really the start of getting in tune with the Black community through Tik Tok, and from there I started talking more about confidence, and my struggles with it because I wasn’t fully able to be myself.”

This allowed the influencer to build a community of Black women who love and support her. Through her influencer platform, she’s now able to have a team of sisters and mentors to guide her through her new-found fame.

“If I didn’t have strong black women in my life, I promise I wouldn’t be posting anymore, I wouldn’t be modeling, I wouldn’t be doing anything because this industry beats you down. It’s not meant for us.”

In the modeling world, Alexa has also faced many adversities as a Black woman.

“Going on set, I bring my own make up and my own hair supplies. I remember after a shoot I did, I was crying because I felt like such a burden on set. No one had the right shade for me or any products for my hair. I felt horrendous and so hideous, like a fish out of water.”

It was there she realized she’d have to come prepared for her gigs in this industry. Alexa told the Sentinel, “do not rely on anyone to make you feel beautiful You need to 100% pull that from yourself. If you have to come ready for set, you come ready for set, and don’t let anyone take that away from you.”

Oftentimes, brands have been seen to have “diversity quotas” for campaigns, but Alexa shared that set crews often lack diversity. This limits models of color from looking there best on set, giving them the extra task of bringing their own supplies to ensure they’re taken care of.

Lack of diversity on set also leads to unequal treatment of nonwhite models. “There’s neglection on both sizes. Being a Black model and a curve model (most black women with hips and curves can be in curve sizes after size 6), people have referred to me not as my name but as ‘curve model’ and that’s so degrading when other women are being referred to as their names.”

McCoy continued with, “There’s a lot of putting us [black women] in a box. Of all races, black women are the most different. In our complexions and our hair textures, in the undertones of our skin…black has been a blank statement and not something that’s catered to specifically.”

With her struggles, the model has always been very aware that she is a representation of Black women. Alexa said that it was her father who pushed to instill a strong sense of pride in her.

“He’d make sure I knew that I was not only a representation of myself and my family, but also my race and Black women. So, it didn’t matter how people treated me or what was going on, I needed to walk in any room, demanding control. While some people may think being a representative is a burden, I really feel like that’s the core of who I am. It’s what keeps me centered and a good person, and what makes me work so hard.”

McCoy continued with, “He [her dad] always told me I could be and do whatever I wanted in this world, but just know that all the odds are against you, and you have to work ten times harder than the next person.”

This instills the mindset that there’s no other option but success for Alexa. She “carries the black community with me in every decision and success I get. I know that I’m doing this for something bigger.”

For young black women looking to work on their confidence, Alexa’s advice is to stay away from the “comparison game”.

“It’s always ‘I’m not pretty because these people look like XYZ’, but no one’s beauty or success takes away from you.” She shared that “everyone in this world can be beautiful, successful, kind, and smart and it doesn’t make me any less of these things. Once that clicked for me, my confidence really started to kick in.”

Alexa always advised that the moments you’re hard on yourself to look for the positives. She shared that even during her worst times, “I knew in those moments I’m a great daughter, I’m a great sister, I’m a great friend.” She believes that “there’s always going to be things on the external that we can fix, but what matters is on the inside. When you feel confident in yourself, that’s when things change in your outer appearance.”

For young black women looking to join the industry, the model’s advice is to “get up and work.” In both the social media and modeling industries, “you’ll have to start off doing a lot of free work, but get comfortable in front of a camera, build a book, and make a name for yourself. Love who you are, especially on the internet, and don’t try to be like anyone else.”

As the year continues, Alexa will be continuing to dominate the modeling industry and building her social media platforms to inspire Black women, like her. She’s dedicated to pushing through adversity, as well as representing her community. She’s also looking to entwine her modeling and Tik Tok for more behind the scenes coverage.

To keep updates on Alexa McCoy follow her on Tik Tok @flexylexxy or her Instagram @alexaaajay.

 

 

Categories: Entertainment | Exclusive (Entertainment) | News (Entertainment)
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