Will You’re listening to THIS IS HOW, a podcast about people forging digital careers for people who are taking the time to figure things out.
Zoe Whether you’ve just left school, college or uni or you’re already in a job, but you’re not really feeling it. We’ve made a podcast series full of tips, ideas and free advice from people who have been on similar journeys, change things up and gone on to work in digital roles with some of the most interesting brands in the UK,.
Will I’m Will Stowe, proudly from Hackney in every show to to those around me. I work for SNKRs as a co-host on SNRKS Live, we have regular livestreams that talk all things sneaker culture. I also write poetry, make music and throw parties in my spare time.
Zoe I’m Zoe Malatt. I’m a life coach and radio show host. My coaching focuses on helping people figure out where they are, where they want to be, and then we work out how we’re going to get them there. I also have a radio show on Foundation FM, which allows listeners to message in with all their problems, and my guests and I offer our professional advice and tips live on a mix with some bangers.
Will Welcome. Welcome to THIS IS HOW podcast. This is the first one of 2022 to so you know, I know people say it’s too late to be saying Happy New Year but Happy New Year to everyone that’s listening right now. Zoe’s here. Zoe, how you doing?
Zoe Not too bad.
Will Right now, about to bring out the one and only Alexa Kesta, co-founder and editor in chief of Wave Magazine, social editor of The Face Magazine. You probably seen her around on the gram in real life at parties. You know, she is, you know, someone to know if you don’t know her get to know her on Instagram search for her name right now. Alexa, what are you saying? Come on, step out.
Alexa Happy to be here. Thank you for having me. It’s been a while. We’ve been trying to make it work.
Will It’s just so hard to pin you down. Very busy woman and
Alexa It’s the New Year, the new year.
Will Trust Trust.
Zoe So what we always do is we like to play a little game , two truths and a lie which I’m sure you’ve played before in like zoom. So what we did, this is just a really good way for us to get to know you a bit more and for our listeners. You can you tell them to us and then Will and I are going to guess which one the lie is, and then we just pry into the storys a little bit to see if we can guess what the lie is. So what are your two truths and a lie?
Alexa OK, I worked in Pret. I’ve met Rihanna. And I was meant to shoot pop smoke for for a front cover,
Will front cover of Wave or The Face?
Will Oh OK.
Zoe Where did you meet Rihanna?
Alexa I met her at Scotch
Will Oh, that’s super believable. That’s very, very believable,
Alexa Yeah she called me a Bad B****. Can I swear? She called me a bad B.
Zoe We can bleep out, OK, so Pret
Will I feel like everyone has had a retail run.
Alexa I had many retail runs, many.
Will What Pret did you work in? Whereabouts, was it? What area.
Alexa In Wimbledon. Yeah, I’m from South.
Zoe You ever had porridge? You know, porridge is so good from Pret.
Alexa I had one just before I jumped on this, to be honest,
Will Pop smoke. What was that? You know, how far along was you in the conversations? Obviously, he passed away, sadly.
Alexa But you know, that’s that’s why that’s why we didn’t shoot him. So what happened was his death was really tragic. And what happened was, you know, he came out and he was like, this massive name and no one had heard kind of this sort of drill tape or music. And we were super excited. And then I got pitched him by a record label and then they asked me to do the shoot in two days. And I was like, there’s no way I can do this in two days, like we need a week or two weeks, and then he passed away before the shoot.
Will So I’m going to say, I believe the pop smoke one because I feel like he was getting a lot of UK love, obviously because of his instrumentals and production was very UK heavy. And then the Rihanna one is believable, but I feel like that’s like a really easy thing to say that, she said. You know, I mean, it’s very believable.
Zoe I feel like the Pret ones real
Will Yeah me too
Zoe OK, so we agreed then that we think the lie is Rihanna?
Will Rihanna is too topical at the moment as well. I mean, yeah, if you trying to throw us off.
Zoe So what is what is the lie?
Alexa The lie is I didn’t meet Rihanna
Will Pret sounds like an interesting place to work. Did you learn a lot about people working in it?
Alexa Yeah. So I worked there because I was just finishing up uni and I was working part time Atlantic Records, so I needed extra money. So I was working out there twice a week. I think I was working and I think I was working three times a week and sometimes my shifts used to start at 6 a.m. It was interesting. Yeah, I met loads of people and you could give away free coffees. So.
Will Oh Wow Oh oh
Will Let’s get into the first few questions. Where did you grow up?
Alexa I hate saying it because I always get cussed. Ok, I grew up in Croydon in South London.
Will No way.
Alexa Yeah, that’s where I’m from.
Zoe What was that like?
Alexa It was an interesting place to live. Growing up at the time where I was growing up like gun culture was really predominant in my area. I feel like it was rough. It was a rough, rough place to be, there were loads of things that I couldn’t tell my parents or things like that, but I think it’s progressively getting better I’m not too sure. But I do know that like knife crime rate is quite high.
Will Yeah, it’s interesting that you went into music. Well, we’ll find out later on anyway. But there is a lot of like there was with groups like 67, kind of parts of Croydon. And obviously, Stormzy is like the the biggest talent coming out of there as well, amongst other names, too. So were these people in and around you? Or was it a buzzing kind of feeling of like young talent coming out of Croydon when you was growing up?
Alexa Yeah, it was around me. My my brother was a music producer.
Alexa OK, makes sense.
Alexa And he used to always just have different boys in his room, recording free styles and recording songs. And I was like 12 years old when it was happening. And then I went to Kingston College and Stormzy went to my college as well.
Will Oh, wow.
Alexa So at that time when I was in Kingston College, he was, I think, one year or yeah, it was one year above me and we used to always have him like freestyling outside of college, which is mad. And then when I went to uni, I started working with like a music group called New Gen, and my brother was a producer and part of New Gen. So I’ve always kind of had it around me to be honest.
Zoe If we go back to like, when you were in school, like what were what sorts of subjects and things were you into?
Alexa So in school, I did really kind of off really to be honest I did… Jesus what did I do? I did science. I did all of them because you get you have to do all of them didn’t you in secondary school. I did all of them. So I did drama. I was really bad at science, really good at maths weirdly enough, even though I couldn’t tell you anything now. And I was really good at English language, but not English lit. Hmm. And then in college, I did media. I did photography and sociology and English language.
Will And did you have like, did you have a clear idea when you’re younger of what you wanted to do career wise?
Alexa So I always kind of knew that I wanted to do something creative. That’s why I started photography and I did media, but I didn’t actually know what it was like. I couldn’t really put my, I mean, in Croydon, like in my upbringing, you didn’t really have them. You didn’t have people that studied fashion. That wasn’t normal in my area. So I thought it was quite out of reach for me. Like even a lot of time, when you listen to people that work in fashion or they work in certain industries, like I had a Vogue magazine and when they were young, like, I never really had those things to possess and kind of inspire me to work in that field. But I basically went to the library once and I looked at like the career section. I looked at the fashion section and they had like a fashion careers book, and I read through it, and I literally had no idea any of these like career roles or jobs even existed. And yeah, I read through them and I thought, I want to do fashion buying. And I was like, So I did a course doing it for a year at the Fashion Retail Academy because I really liked clothes. I was like, maybe I’ll do like fashion buying. And then I did that as a work experience, and then I realised that wasn’t really for me because there wasn’t really like a creative element to it. It was just literally like sourcing a product that kind of looked similar. there wasn’t enough creativity in it for me. And then I went to do fashion at uni, and I did fashion marketing. And even that I did my first year doing it and I just realised it was just too, it was just too draining for me. I just couldn’t. I wanted to be proactive. I wanted to do things. I wanted to get out and actually like, use my hands and my imagination a little bit. And yeah, marketing really wasn’t that for me. So I then moved course and then I started studying fashion promotion and imaging, which was like a really flexible course. So I ended up doing creative direction and styling because I always wanted to do creative direction and then I started styling.
Will Who were you styling initially?
Alexa So the first person I ever styled was Kojey Rdical. He was a friend of my ex boyfriend’s, so I ended up just messaging my ex-boyfriend and being like I I really want to style him. I’ve got like a project in uni that I want to do. And he’d be really good. And at that time, it was really funny. Like, I didn’t have any PR contacts. I didn’t have any money. I literally just like got a credit card, went to the bank, got a credit card. I was like I’m just going to buy him a ton of all these clothes, and I bought them and I returned them. I didn’t have a makeup artist I did the make up myself. I drove it all the way down to Dover to do the shoot. I drove him down there.
Zoe How did the shoot go?
Alexa It was good, you know, like, I look back on it now and it’s actually a really good shoot for like the editing isn’t that great and those things now, but it’s nice to look at something like that and think that was as you kind of said it like, I actually was like, Hey, I’m going to be the makeup artist and I’m going to be a stylist, and I’m just going to get money from wherever I can, and I’m just going to do it. And I think at that age, you’re like, super hungry just to make it happen.
Zoe Where do you think that that drive came from, that you just wanted to make it happen?
Alexa My mum . I started working when I was 14, but my mum made me work. I’ve never not had a job because she wouldn’t allow me. She’d go crazy . So like, the drive is always been in my family, like my mum. Even now she works six days a week, but she’s always on the go. My brother has is own business which is not in the same field as mine. Hes got like four hair salons. I just feel like I’ve always had that drive around me. So yeah, I would. I would say my mum was a really big driver and she didn’t really understand. Well, when it did, she didn’t really understand how styling, like creative fashion would kind of help me in any sort of way. And even with lightweight magazines, she didn’t really understand I was going to make a living out of it. She wanted me to do like the marketing stuff because it’s guaranteed work is guaranteed money. And that’s, yeah, that’s what she initially wanted me to do. So, yeah, that was quite a struggle. Like, even changing course was a struggle. I had to really convince her. She was like, Good luck.
Will I was going to say one thing that we noticed in the show is a lot of people, do you have that kind of risk factor? But I just thought, this isn’t working and stress out, and I feel like that’s like a really defining thing which a lot of people need to have, which a lot of people need to have. And it’s important for growth. So you kind of moved on from fashion by and studied fashion and then you went into styling and then, you know, what was the next thing?
Alexa I’ve been all. I’ve been all around the gaff haven’t I?
Will It’s good, though, so it helps that, you know, I mean, everything. I’m still.
Alexa Yeah. So when I was in uni, I also went into like music jobs because I wanted to do a blog. And at the time I was. Does anyone really read blogs? No one’s really going to read a book. It wasn’t creative enough for me as well, so I really loved music. I used to always stay up at like what time in the morning? Always researching, like young producers on SoundCloud when SoundCloud was a thing, and I realised that like I had a real passion for music and grown up with it at my house constantly. So that’s when I started working with New Gen and that’s when I also had the idea to birth Wave magazine because I really wanted to do fashion, and I also really was interested in music but like, how would I kind of combine those things together? Because what you like music is it’s just music and once you work in fashion you can work with creative talent like music artists. But yeah, I think Wave mag for me was where that kind of started. It was putting both of my influences together into one, and then I started working at a record label. I worked at Atlantic Records as an A&R scout and I did enjoy it and I had like an amazing mentor at the time. But it just drained my creativity. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t get creative with how I was, and I’d rather be on a Wave shoot than be at Atlantic records that really spoke to me and I ended up leaving. So yeah,
Will I think that kind of comes at an important point. So there’s a lot of people, I’m sure, who are in jobs that maybe they’re not enjoying so much. But you may because of my financial commitments and what kind of stuff they kind of have to stay in them. What would be your like one piece of advice for people who are kind of like scared to make that jump?
Alexa I mean, I still I also work at The Face, so I think it’s just about finding something that, you know, being at The Face really does teach me a lot of stuff in terms of like how a company runs and like how a magazine works internally. And I started Wave magazine as like a passion project, and I didn’t really have. In all honesty, I didn’t have a vision to make it something bigger than what I actually thought it was. And it was only from the encouragement of my friends and my teachers in uni that told me to continue it. And then I started seeing the rewards of it, and I started seeing the talent that was getting on the front cover without pitching for it. And I thought, I’m obviously really doing something here. But I made sure that the job that I went to after kind of was really in line with teaching me a lot about what I can do in order to make Wave magazine something. So and I really enjoy at The Face, so I haven’t had a point at the moment that’s made me feel like it’s draining my creativity because I’ve got creative flow here. So I think of it is that you are going to be in another job whilst kind of building up what you want to do and your passion. I think it’s just about making sure it’s something that’s going to obviously teach you something that you can take something away from it or something that’s in line with what you want to do. Because I’ve been I’ve done so many things that I feel like it’s taught me a lot with the different skills, and I feel like that’s where like, I feel quite blessed.
Zoe When you were working as an inner circle, how did that kind of did that help you and set you up for Wired magazine? And how did that work? How did that kind of? How did those two like bridge together if they did?
Alexa So Wave mag actually got me my job at Atlantic Records because it acted like a catalogue of music or artists I was interested in. And at the time, the artists I was shooting were like Jay Grey very early on in her career. It was Kojey Radical, like she at the very beginning. So I think my mentor at the time could see that, like I had an ear for it. Atlantic Records really holds like as much as I didn’t enjoy as much as I wanted to. It really did help in terms of contacts, like all my PR contacts are from when I worked at Atlantic Records. So, yeah, in terms of like artists relations and speaking to us as team, I already have. Sorry, excuse me. That connection from Atlantic Records. And I think that’s what was quite good about me being there as I made sure I was on email trying to meet people and go to their offices and go for coffee and what you do. I’m an A&R scout at Atlantic, and even though I didn’t continue working there, I still have those relationships now.
Will Makes sense. Um, I was going to ask as well on kind of your upbringing and where you’re coming from. And and I can relate to what you’re saying in terms of like not seeing examples of what you wanted to do until you actually saw it in that sense. How important was it for you to kind of start wave in terms of people who were just like you coming up? From Croydon,
Alexa yeah. Really important. I think that’s why when I did, the first issue it was super important for me to kind of give people that first opportunity because. You know, a lot of people that me in this industry now, like the parents worked in fashion or that grandmas were very fashionable or had all these pieces and my family wasn’t like that. So I always knew that I felt super frustrated as a stylist. I wasn’t ever given the opportunity to put on my work or showcase my work with any other publications because I didn’t have the connects or I hadn’t worked in the industry long enough. I felt like my work, and I was really confident that my work was standard to be in a magazine. But I feel like your connections really play into that. So Wave mag for me, like the birth of it, the passion for it was first of all to kind of merge my influences, but also kind of give a platform to like young women who are probably not born in kind of a privileged way, in a sense of like connections or your upbringing and be able to give them like a platform to do it. And I remember I gave this one girl her first interview, and she interviewed Jay Grey for me, and she had never done it before. But it was a dream of hers and it was a passion of hers. And sometimes, you know, you do have a standard of product that needs to be delivered, but you always feel really good when you’ve given someone that opportunity. And if it didn’t go, there’s always guidance. There’s always ways to mentor them and to. Kind of steer them into your vision, so I think I think it’s super important, and I think that’s something I want to do more of again, and it’s just kind of creating is a platform for young women to get their first work experience out of their first print spread in a magazine. So yeah,
Will We wanted to talk about your time at Kyra, I want to talk about what Kyra was and kind of like your role there and what you did.
Alexa Yeah. Kyra, TV was like, again, a Gen-Z digital platform predominately on YouTube, but it was on YouTube and Instagram. And I don’t think anyone had seen anything like Kyra, to be honest when it when it came out, it was basically a TV show on YouTube for young fashion influencers that had individual styles. And honestly, it was amazing to kind of see them go from like partnering with TK Maxx to partnering with Gucci. That was amazing. So my job role there was I was a commercial creative strategist, so I worked in all the commercial jobs I worked and the Gucci stuff and the any branded work, basically any partnership work. And my my role was to basically come up with the ideas of what the actual show would be and what they would be doing in the show and what the challenge would be and what they’d all individually go and do when they’re creating this product they’re creating at the end of the episode. But that was only for the commercial stuff. So I never really worked on the editorial kind of concepts. But yeah, it was. It was a fun job, to be honest. It was a good job.
Will So you be good at party icebreakers and created some pretty wacky things.
Alexa Yeah, they did. Yeah, sometimes they remix it like you’d work with them. And then we knew the boys really well individually which allowed us to kind of generate these ideas. We knew Elias could do a certain thing. We knew Shaq could only do the XYZ he’s very arty, and Danny was very formal and tailored. So like you, you always had kind of like a vision for each each talent.
Zoe And what were the skills that you learnt, Kyra? What were they like, what were the main ones that you kind of developed while you like your time while you were there?
Alexa Being given a brief and being able to come up with creative ideas, basically? I’m just used to coming up with them. I never used to like getting a break from being that. I’ve got a guideline to go for. I’ve got kind of bring a brand vision to life. Essentially, when you’re partnering with brands, you’re kind of giving them something that they don’t already have. So whether that is your target market, that they want to kind of bring it into theirs or just your creative flair on it. So that was that I learnt a lot from that was kind of coming up conceptually with the ideas sometimes, you’ll sit there and be like I’ve come up with so many ideas today I don’t know how many more I can come up with I’m literally ideaed out. Pitching, pitching ideas. I’d never done that before. Pitching to a brand, which can be very overwhelming and very scary. I remember my first one, my voice was shaking so much.
Will Was this in your presentation of your pitch?
Alexa Yeah, and it was only a phone call. It wasn’t even that they can even see me, but I just was so nervous because I was speaking to big people at Nike presenting an idea that I really liked, but sometimes when you say the ideas out loud you’re like is this actually really bad? Is this a bad idea? So that really kind of gains my confidence in the pitching ideas and how to put a deck together like a pitching deck, like how to actually like, you know, think about what your ethos is and how you’re going to communicate that and what you can deliver as a brand. But I never understood that at all before.
Zoe You’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW, created by Nominet and Livity, your essential resource for finding a path into digital careers with the brands that you love. Head over to thisishow.uk to listen to more episodes and discover free training and advice to help you land your dream job. You can also give us a follow on Instagram. Our handle is @thisishow.uk to keep up to date with regular tips and resources to help you on your career journey.
Will Obviously The Face being a heavily, you know, important part of popular culture in a physical mag now coming back into this new digital space? And obviously you understand it, through Kyra TV, did you feel like you had a competitive advantage like to bring to the table?
Alexa Yeah, because there’s some things that I’ve tapped into that I know that if someone tapped into yet, which is like building a YouTube platform, like when I when I was at Kyra, we really took their following to a different level. Like we we started on nothing and we ended on like 800,000 subscribers and getting massive, massive partnerships with with brands. And you know, there’s a whole team that pushes that makes that happen. But you know, the creative idea and what that’s going to look like is really kind of what gages an audience and actually gages the brand as well. Like what you’re watching, your attention time, when are you going to tune out of it? What are different things that we can do at this time of the episode that is going to keep them watching. I knew that, you know, The Face have never really ventured out to that just yet, and they still haven’t. But that’s something that we’re definitely interested in building is video content.
Will So when you was in an interview process, whether anything was any skills or like particular expertise that you had, that they were looking at, that you were very confident in?
Alexa Yeah, it was the ideation part that I think I was super confident in and because kind of pitching ideas and video formats and visual formats or shoots or the way something’s going to visually look like kind of on paper. I knew that I was, I’ve always been quite confident in doing that. That was one thing that I kind of yeah, I knew that it would be fine with going into the interview process or even responding to the brief that they sent me to do. I’d come up with like a YouTube episode idea, which I think we actually want to do. When I when I pitched it, they really wanted to do it and I really loved it. And something that we’ve been speaking about to do. So yeah, that was something I was very confident in.
Zoe And what is your like? What was it day to day look like at The Face?
Alexa First thing, I do look at the news. Not not not the news. Like the world news. I look I like the creative news, like what’s going on in pop culture. Hypebeast, High Sobriety, Complex, all that stuff the Business of Fashion as well or just go through Twitter and see what’s going on there because everything’s kind of trending on that. And then Instagram. Sadly, I can’t not scroll through it. I have to. And yet coming up with like what we’re actually putting out. What’s our output like, what are we saying? But what are we doing? Are we being reactive? Like what’s been going on this week? Like, what’s our take on it? And the site do that. They do that really well. So it’s translating that onto socials and that’s really important because you want to keep that that tone of voice really strong that they have and it’s quite a it’s a very unique tone of voice The Face.
Zoe So at The Face, like what other kind of teams do you like, communicate with and work with? And I collaborate with?
Alexa Everyone and literally everyone like the whole editorial team, the audience and development team. That’s one of the key people I work with. The design team, I mean, there’s not a team I don’t work with I literally work with them all day every day, like the commercial team, if they’re pitching my department then I need to oversee certain things and let them know what’s going to work, and what’s not going to work and how we do it. Audience & development is really to kind of understand, like what’s trending at the moment. Are these ideas going to cut through? Editorial is basically being aligned with what they’re putting on the site and how we can kind of, you know, put that out onto socials. Designers to actually give them briefs so they can create things. And you know what is if we are adapting as a design, what is it that we’re adapting and how are we doing it? And how does it still align? Literally everyone.
Will In which ways or like, how is your role creative?
Alexa It’s the creative strategy bit. If you think about, you know, consumers now they’re consuming their phones, they’re not consuming online articles. A lot of them are but you know, you’re the person that brings them to the articles. You’re the people that say “this is your taster, here’s where you can read more”. And there is a creative kind of element to that because we’ve seen so many nice like amazing like digital and social kind of activations that really kind of capture everything. And that’s the creativity in it. It’s making sure that you’ve got people where we’re in arts and fashion of music publishing company. We we create our content. So how are we kind of amplifying the content that we make? How we being a part of these cultural moments within the UK and London scene, because we’re a British magazine? It’s endless really and how much creativity you can have do even with the kind of design element of, you know, what you’re putting out there and I’m going to do a IGTV series, how is that visually going to look like? That’s what you would brief into the design team, into the editing team, and that’s how you would work with them. Yet the creativity is endless. So I think people just think that when it comes to social justice, you posting, but you know that it’s literally not that because it’s such a key thing that is being used now that social media is literally people’s lives. We don’t go days without social media. That’s where we get our sources from them. Pick something somebody up newspaper got most that people just go on the blog pages or they go and follow their favourite influencers and influencers actually have more of an influence than a lot of brands do, like a lot of brands, and that is their hub. That’s where they live. That’s their home. So it’s endless,.
Zoe So apart from like being creative, what are the other digital skills that a social editor needs?
Alexa Been tuned in like being. I think researching is definitely a skill. Being up to date with things like making sure you’re not missing something because you won’t be reactive because there’s so many different people that are probably going to cover the situation that you have, but what’s your take on it? I think knowing, I think, knowing when it’s right for you and when it’s not right for you and what your brand actually kind of, you know, what’s going to be maybe published on a different publication is probably not going to be published in ours because we’ve got completely kind of different tone of voice and just being strategic, like being creatively strategic and strategic. They work hand-in-hand, but they’re actually really different. I think that’s what I’ve learnt quite a lot is that, you know what the tactics were like smart moves that you can do with your content that creatively are really good. As we’ve seen in so many creative ideas, that are amazing, but don’t really travel that well. So what are the different things that you’re going to do and tap into to make that happen and just being aware and having your your finger on the ball because things are moving so quick, like especially in this day and age where you’re consuming so much, that means that the level of things that you’re consuming is just getting bigger and bigger and bigger. So it’s being on top of that and just being ahead of it if you can be ahead of it, but that that should be your kind of drive is being ahead of it.
Will So you’ve taken us like a massive journey of like, you know, different paths you’ve taken and the things you’ve learnt along the way. But if you were to kind of point through some of the biggest lessons and the biggest learnings and just maybe some advice you’d give to a younger Alexa, what would those things be?
Alexa You don’t know it all. You really don’t. It’s endless to learn things like learning does not stop. I don’t care how old you are. It never stops. But there is always something new, there’s always something fresh and there’s always something more to dissect and how you can consume that. So, I think knowing that you don’t know it all is a massive lesson because you can get really kind of egotistical sometimes and think I know everything but there’s so many things to learn. All my job grows, I’ve learnt so many things out of them, and I haven’t been the perfect candidate for all of them I can say but it’s that willingness to learn and a willingness to adapt and take constructive criticism. And if you do fail, if that’s something that you do wrong, that you don’t need to be defensive about it, you know, it’s just understanding where it went wrong. And I think what’s what’s really important is being proactive with it like, well, you know, it’s not bad to fail it’s not bad to do wrong. But like, why did you? And what is your findings from it? And how can you apply that to your ideas of the future things you do? I think that’s super important. What else would I say? Time, I think time. I’ve found that I just had been so consumed by what I do that, you know, that like I said earlier, that kind of alone time to yourself is super important. I think people who are under this kind of impression that, you know, work, work, work, work, work, no sleep, no sleep, no sleep. Like that is not realistic for a human being like it really isn’t. And I had to learn that because I was doing things and living life and then turning up to a job with how much sleep because I stayed up all night trying todo something else, and understanding that I not it doesn’t feed you doesn’t feed your creative brain, it doesn’t feed the person that you need to be to kind of turn up and be the best version of yourself when you’re going into a meeting, or you’re doing these job roles that you’re doing
Will at the very start you spoke about where you came from and not being able to kind of see other roles as options. But do you think it’s different now for people who are maybe coming up in Croydon with this wave of digital and like the things that they’re open to?
Alexa Yes and no. I think I think yes, because it gives them like a viewpoint and it creates a vision for them that they can have for themselves. I don’t think sometimes it feels reachable for them because of their current living of their situations and it is reachable but sometimes I guess when you, you know, you’re around something that’s completely in contrast to that, it doesn’t feel like it’s attainable, it doesn’t feel like it’s reachable. And a lot of these kids find themselves doing other things that are not working in their favour or not working for them at all. But understanding that you know your your situation that you grew up in is is not your situation that you’re going to you’re going to end up in. So I think also just being comfortable is quite a hard thing for kids in these areas. They’re comfortable that living their living habits, they’re comfortable being like that. But yeah, it’s knowing…I think it’s having that confidence. Yeah. If you’re from a really disadvantaged area and you’re seeing somebody on Instagram with a YSL bag, turning up to Fashion Week like you can see it and it can make you think ‘that’s where I want to be’, but it’s also going to make you feel like but I’m not. So maybe I’ll never be like that, and I think what I was saying earlier about having that vision of, you know, sometimes when you focus on what is going on now in your struggle, now it takes you away from actually seeing the perspective of the bigger picture and where you’re going to end up. And I think that really relates to it. And I think I think sometimes there’s a lot of stories now like there’s a lot of talent that we’ve seen and stuff in situations like a lot of rappers, UK rappers that are making it possible for these kids. I think that’s amazing and these are talent that we should be championing and the people that come from council flats. So you know who again awarded four Oscars, that’s incredible stuff like that. These people are very raw and they’ve got a story to tell and it relates to some people. But yeah, I think it’s a yes and no question, really. I think we just need to be a bit more. I think people that exist in these industries and have a platform that people are getting into and people watching need to have a bit more willingness to help, whether it is just a phone conversation, whether it is just a DM back, some advice that takes two seconds. I think. If we’re all willing to help a bit more and you just kind of give them a bit more faith to do what they can do and what they’re destined to do, I think that will help. But I think sometimes I think actually digital and social media can actually make people feel like they’re actually not worthy enough, which I think is the challenge that we’re facing.
Zoe OK, so we always like to round of with going through the little mini CV that you create for us.
Alexa That was quite hard, you know.
Zoe How comes you find it hard?
Alexa The part where you ask me like, ‘why should you should I should work for you?’ I was like, The one thing I hate answering.
Zoe So we’re going to go through and we’re going to ask you a couple questions each, and then at the end, we decide whether we should hire you or not. Wow. Yeah, it’s pretty intense. Pretty intense. Wow. That’s that’s intense. So can you? What would you say has been your biggest career highlight?
Alexa So I wanted to say something, right, but he’s kind of cancelled, so I don’t want to say it, but it was really pivotal for me and my and my career and life magazine. But I don’t want to say it because he’s been cancelled. I hate using that word, but he’s upset a lot of people who are unhappy with him who is Da Baby. But that was such a pivotal point for me in my career, and I’m always at this point where I’m like, I feel challenged, like, do I want a flaunt that that was like the first kind of globalised that I ever put on the front cover of my mag? Or should I not flaunt that? But I think it was quite impressive that I had done what I only had UK artists before and then stocking the magazines globally distributing them globally was a big moment for me.
Zoe Hmm. OK. And what was your best piece of work?
Alexa I’ve written this down so I should know this but I would say, that the Da Baby shoot was really good, but I actually think getting Gorillaz on the front cover was my best piece of work. I that’s mad. Yeah I thought that was quite crazy. I used to listen to them growing up. But yeah, they’re not like new and fresh so I thought maybe they wouldn’t want to do it. I think that was my favourite piece of work. We collaborate with the illustrator. Their iconic illustrator. And that that was a moment for me because we didn’t just get given these press images that we actually created that front cover with the illustrator. So I think that would be my favourite. I think I wrote something completely different to that but yeah.
Will You did, but this is great.
Zoe What would you say your best failure has been?
Alexa My best failure…losing out on pitching is it’s not a good failure, but it puts things in perspective I feel like always makes you and like drives you to tbe better the next time. I think losing. I think when you start like a brand from the ground up and you’ve got like seven people working for you and they’re all your friends or, you know, you get quite comfortable with your team members actually think sometimes losing something gives a bit more growth and a bit more drive and a bit more perspective. I don’t know. I don’t know if they’re failures, but
Will It’s all on how you look at it.
Alexa Yeah, I think I think at that point I was really scared about some of these things and I was a bit disappointed. But after a while, I think that when I looked at it from a different angle, it’s actually as it taught me quite a lot and I actually think we’re better and stronger of it so.
Will So the final question is why should be hire you?
Alexa OK. I’m a very driven individual. I’m fun to be around, you know, you always need a fun person on your team. I am determined every time I have a vision to do something I make it happen. And if I don’t, that’s going to be another way to do it. I’m really big on researching which is good. Guys you really put me on the spot because I haven’t had to do this is in a really long time.
Zoe I think you’ve already smashed it anyway! Because your career highlights your best piece of work.
Alexa I hope so, because I haven’t had to do that in a long time. Basically, I’m Alexa, and that’s why you should hire me.
Will a good answer. That’s a good answer, I call. So Zoe, what do you think? I’m going to give it three thumbs up. Well, two thumbs up I don’t have three thumbs but two thumbs up, what you saying?
Zoe Yeah, yeah. One hundred percent. You’re hired.
Will Cool. You got the joke. You got the joke.
Will You start on Monday. Don’t be late. What’s the salary? We’ll talk about it later on this. It’s competitive, but
Zoe it’s a lot of 0s.
Alexa Oh, oh, one hundred thousand.
Will But thank you very much. Was great speaking to you. Thank you so much for joining us.
Alexa Thank you for having me. I’ve really enjoyed this. Was quite nervous for it, but I enjoyed it.
Will It’s only me and Zoe
Alexa I know, it’s a bit like hanging out with my friend.
Zoe I love that! That’s how it’s meant to feel.
Will who you’ve been listening to THIS IS HOW, created by Nominet and Livity. If you’ve enjoyed this conversation and you’re feeling inspired to develop your own digital skills, head over to thisishow.uk where you can find more information on all the helpful tips and advice shared on today’s podcast, as well as trying our new THIS IS HOW quiz to uncover more about what you’re good at and what job roles could be a good match for you.