Built by Girls & WAVE

Earlier this week I had the chance to stop by the Built by Girls at AOL office in Manhattan to check out everything they have going on! If you aren’t familiar with Built by Girls, it’s a fantastic female empowerment platform that encourages girls across the globe to truly accept and love who they are. The AOL BUILD series is just as cool, interviewing people from Bailee Madison to Kristin Cavallari about being entrepreneurs and promoting self-love. Built by Girls has a program called WAVE, which is similar to Kode by Klossy, and teams young girls up with fantastic staff of huge companies to help you learn coding, how to land your dream job, and more!

Calling all 15-22 y.o. girls! Want to be matched with an Advisor from Snapchat, Spotify, Amazon and more to help build your first network in tech and get your dream job? Join @BUILTBYGIRLS WAVE to connect with top tech professionals for in-person 1:1 sessions. Sign up by 4/20: [http://ow.ly/SiWk30jxMFh] #BUILTBYGIRLS

The Trouble Of Being On Your Own- How To Survive

I asked my friend Abie, who is an ex-model and a New York City model scout to write a post today about her life as a young 20-something year old trying to make it in the Big Apple. I think we all deserve to know that there are people out there in the same position, and that we’re all striving for the same thing: success. 

There’s a certain romance that comes with chasing your dreams that tortures you into achieving more than you ever could have imagined, in the most tragically beautiful ways possible.

I’m 23-years-old and I have been absolutely terrified every single day of my life, but I’ve gotten to live many of my hopes and dreams.

For the past 5 years, a lot of people have written to me saying they wish they could live how I am living or they wish they could do what I am doing, but they can’t because they are too cautious or their timing isn’t right or their circumstances are restrictive.

I, too, had nothing to run away from. I was so terrified of being average, I wanted to fear something real. Growing up in Wisconsin, I wouldn’t have ever imagined I’d be able to escape my small town. I would have rather been working towards something I believed in, terrified of where my next paycheck would come from, than living a normal life working towards something that would help to keep me comfortable. For some, being “normal” is so normal, but for me, I always wanted to stretch myself beyond what I felt comfortable with. 

I was lucky enough to stumble upon an opportunity that allowed me to leave behind the typical small-town blunders at age 12, and put me in a position to pursue something bigger than myself. It lit a fire in me and gave me so much confidence later on, but by first breaking me down completely. I got scouted by a modeling agency in Chicago, which is when my journey began. 

I wasn’t subjected to harsh criticism by my industry until I was about 15. Before that, things were a breeze. Everyone loved to tell me how great I was, everyone loved telling me that I was going to do great things, everyone loved telling me that I was going to be the one to do something different. Maybe even leave a mark on the world. I grew up being told I could do anything. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” But as I grew older, I was slowly educated into thinking that was outrageous. Or that it was only for special people. Or that it can happen, it just wouldn’t happen to me. Each person I met added their fear, the thing that held them back, into my head.

 Just existing is scary and it’s risky and you could fail. Doing something so different with your life and being alone while doing it? Well, take those two feelings and imagine them at the worst you ever could. I failed about 100 times so far in life and I still have a lot more failures to come.

In my industry, my success is/was measured by how I look and not on how I behaved. It was the first time in my life I was forced to learn what second-guessing myself was, and with that second-guessing came a lot of doubt in myself. And with that doubt, came a lot of thinking about things instead of acting on things.

I wasted a year of my life getting so angry and so frustrated and so down on myself when people would tell me “no,” or that I couldn’t do something. I spent that time not taking chances, not caring enough about myself to take control of my own life. I was convinced by other people not to graduate high school a year early, and not to start college sooner, not to leave college when I hated it, and not to move to New York City at such a young age.

When I made the decision to do all of these things, I was backed into such a corner that I had no choice but to make it happen and to do whatever it took just to stay happy. And oddly enough, staying happy was the easiest part.

I left home with $100, I had nothing in line, nowhere to stay, no incoming money, hardly any friends. It was winter and I was always cold and wet and stressed. I was happy. I started working 18 hours a day and I began talking to anyone who would listen to me. I stayed happy. I stressed every single day over the simplest tasks; how was I going to wash my clothes, where could I shower, where was I going to sleep, how was I going to eat, I needed more money, I hated when people, especially my parents who didn’t approve of my dreams, would ask me what was my long-term plan, and how could I someday sustain myself. 

New York City never doubted my courage or my toughness and it taught me never to doubt that myself. Maybe some of us are born with an inner sense of self-confidence, and maybe some us develop it when we acknowledge the things we dislike about other people and do our best to eliminate whatever it is from our own personality. Maybe some of us just believe in ourselves subconsciously more than we can comprehend. All I know for sure, is that when you’re doing what you love, when you’re fighting for it, the happiness never waivers, not for a second. And even when everything in life feels like it’s falling on your head, and one of those trusty failures comes along and you’re flooded with terrible things in life, it’s a sign from the Universe that better things are coming. Every time I swear it’s the end of the road, it ALWAYS gets better. The Universe has amazing ways of telling us when it’s time to get rid of all the bad things in life, and move on. As long as you listen, and as long as you’re making time to follow your dreams, everything will work out in 1,000 different magical ways.

Xoxo

Abie

Note from Alexa: Abie now lives in a $1,600 a month apartment in Midtown Manhattan with a super small dog. 

I’m Speaking With Amal Clooney at Penn Women!

I have literally no words to describe my excitement to announce I’m speaking at the Pennsylvania Conference for Women on October 12th with Amal Clooney! 

Tickets are apparently already sold out according to their website, but I bet some will become available sometime between now and October. When I got the call last week, I was totally shocked because I didn’t even apply to be a speaker this year. The 4 conferences for women that the organization puts on in different cities always has a Young Women’s program along with the panels and keynote, which is what I’ll be speaking on. I’m Amal Clooney’s biggest fan, alongside the awesome other speakers that are going to be attending, so I hope to see you there!

Arizona Conference for Women

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at the Arizona Conference for Women. I had never been to Scottsdale before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. I was surprised at how flat Arizona is- as someone who spent years running cross-country up and down hills when I was in middle school!

At conferences, you’re either on a panel with different people or completely alone: on this occasion, I was the only person speaking, which is nerve-wracking but also gives me the entire time period to talk. Most of the discussion was surrounding my nonprofit Media Impact and Navigation for Teens, that I work on on the side of A Life in the Fashion Lane. The demographic of people in the room skewed older, with some people actually over the age of 60, so I tried to get as deep into the topic of social media without confusing anyone in the room. The ladies who were 60 actually seemed to know more than the few teens who were in the room!

I presented my TED talk powerpoint with images of what the human brain (adult vs. teen) looks like when they go on social media, along with statistics on depression and suicide in Arizona and New Jersey. After the talk, I got tons of questions from the teens and the adults on the effects, positive and negative, on social media and the teen brain. One of the males in the room, who I assume was also a school therapist or counselor, asked about why we don’t touch on too many “risky” topics during M.I.N.T. talks (I think you know which ones he meant, one in particular) and I explained that it’s because schools don’t want us to come in and talk about topics that some kids haven’t started learning about yet. He was adamant that schools should be investigating and talking more openly about taboo topics, and I agreed, but also have to abide by the schools rules.

Or I’d probably get kicked out of every talk, and I got kicked out enough during classes in high school for talking to much already.

Xo,

Alexa

Coachella with Mazda

What a crazyyyyy few weeks it’s been! I’ve been offline a bit and living more in the moment because I think that I needed to start living more in the moment and less through the lens of my camera, and I’m vibing with this way of thinking. I went to Coachella last weekend and had a few moments where I thought to myself, I’ve got this one life to live and live to the fullest, so that’s what I’m going to do! Stop overthinking and just live my life.

I’ve never been to Coachella before but wow, it was the craziest experience of my life. I didn’t go to the actual festival itself because I didn’t like the lineup and wasn’t about to spend the cost of my rent plus a few $100 extra on a festival I didn’t love the lineup for, so my friends and I decided to go and just go to the parties. Honestly, if you can get yourself onto the list of those parties, I don’t even know why you’d go to the festival. When I was 17 and living in NYC, I was obsessed with crazy moshpits and music festivals, but now I feel like I’m an old grandma who can barely stay up until 10 PM. I don’t know that I’d go to Coachella again (I didn’t find it to be totally my scene) but the experience was fascinating. It was especially interesting to see so many celebrities and “Instagrammers” in real life and realize how fake they all are on the Internet. And, most of them are on drugs. Which is kind of sad, because I know how many kids look up to these influencers they follow on Instagram.

Mazda hooked me up with this sick little convertible that I drove around in and it was a stick shift car- so it took me a few days to learn how to actually drive the car and not crash. I would never drive this car again because I wouldn’t want to risk my life, but this trip taught me that I’m a pretty quick learner. If you put your mind to anything, you can accomplish just about anything and everything!

What My Rutgers Partnership Means

Good morning! And happy Monday! I’ve been taking some time off and it feels really good, honestly. Not living for every Instagram post or 140 Twitter caption feels like a breath of fresh air. I’m flying out to Houston on Wednesday and a part of me is dreading leave Connecticut but also OK because I’ll be at Coachella this weekend for the first time ever! My newsletter is going out on Wednesday with a longer explanation for why I (and you) should sometimes take time off. Subscribe on the bottom of the A Life in the Fashion Lane homepage.

Last week I traveled down to Princeton, New Jersey with a few of my friends to meet with the team at Rutgers who took on my company as a case study. When I first heard that Rutgers was interested, I was thrilled, because I knew that they’ve never had a company like mine be a part of their marketing plan. Usually colleges take on marketing companies, restaurants, and consumer companies as case studies during a college semester in a marketing class. It helps the students who are invested in the marketing industry understand what running a company is like as well as the decisions that have to be made behind the scenes. I run A Life in the Fashion Lane, M.I.N.T., and This is Life Unfiltered full-time, and I didn’t go to college. I’ve put This is Life Unfiltered on hiatus for a bit (it’s my baby, I love it so much) because of another project I’m hoping comes through. If it doesn’t, I’ll start TILU up again. Being in a college setting is really interesting for me because I always wondered what my life would have turned out like if I decided to go to college, and every time I’m in a school setting I realize that I definitely wouldn’t do too well in college. I’m not very studious. Though college students are really interesting to me because they’re so smart and eager to learn about the world, and I love anyone who is eager to learn.

The group of girls who are doing the research behind my brand are absolutely incredible: they’re all so inspiring and understanding about what I’ve built, which is really cool because they’ve really dived into my background and my story. I don’t like to consider myself an influencer, or even a blogger, because I have these different companies and projects that are all different yet align under the Alexa Curtis umbrella. Working with them has really helped me understand where I see my future going and how I can get there. I want to be the next Ellen, Chelsea Handler or even Oprah, which is why I don’t want to label myself an influencer because I think that word is thrown around quite a bit too much nowadays, you know?

Though we can’t all have awesome college marketing teams investigating our companies, I think it can be really useful (entrepreanur or not) to take some time and gather a group of people to get feedback from about anything you’re trying to build. We can’t fight life alone: you have to put strong and thoughtful people in your circle so that you never forget how truly incredible you are!

Social Media Culture & Depression

 Social media kind of sucks. Before you go judging me for saying that, let me explain. When I was modeling at age 15, I didn’t spend any time posting stuff on social media to get more followers. Social media definitely wasn’t as cool back in 2015 as it is now. I feel like my life has changed so drastically since I started A Life in the Fashion Lane in 2011, and I’ve grown up behind a computer screen. Sure, I chose to be a blogger, and I’m totally not complaining, but I definitely think there are things that people who live on social media should be calling out more.

For example, I’m very vocal about how obsessed I am with G-Eazy and Halsey. Like, they’re literally the only two celebrities in the world I care about. I went to an event last Monday where I met Halsey and was sitting behind her. After I left the event, I kept going over in my head why I was so freakin’ nervous to meet her prior to the event. Now that I meet so many celebrities, I realize how normal and occasionally boring (Halsey was most certainly not boring) they are. But because of social media, we’ve got this skewed perception of what real life is off of the Internet.

I woke up the day after the event and started comparing myself to everyone I follow on Instagram, which is something I frequently find myself doing. Quite often, I’m told how I don’t have enough Instagram followers to be successful (that sounds really shallow when you say that out loud, doesn’t it) and so I turn to social media to look at people who have 100s of 1000s more followers than me to try and understand what makes them have more followers than I do. Imagine if someone kept telling you that your stomach wasn’t flat enough, over and over and over again, and you finally gave up and went on a diet. But you shouldn’t- because you’re perfect and beautiful just the way you are.

20 years ago, no one would have said “I feel like crap because I don’t have 100,000 Instagram followers”.

After speaking with my therapist this morning AND meditating (both in one day- I feel very proud of myself) I constantly am reminded how I have to stay in my own lane and focus on my own goals. There will always be noise around you, and tons of noise on social media, but you don’t have to listen to the noise. Follow your dreams, and focus on what you’re trying to accomplish in life. Nothing else really matters, trust me.

Tackling Teen Skincare with Kyle Richards & Alexa Curtis

Photography by Jillian Moffa

I flew to New York last week for a panel I was asked to participate in on teen skincare & acne with Clearasil. When I was asked to be a part of this, I was absolutely thrilled, because many mainstream brands don’t focus on body image and mental health. They focus on affordable products that you can buy at the local drugstore. As convenient as those products are, many of them don’t tackle the meaning behind why consumers buy them! For a brand like Clearasil to take part in the revolution behind body image is a huge deal, and really shows how important body image truly is.

I flew in to NYC a few days early for some events and meetings, and woke up eager to attack the day on the morning of the 22nd! Clearasil was kind enough to send me a bunch of product to test out in my hotel room, so I spent the night trying their entire product line. My mom was even excited when I got asked to participate because she grew up with Clearasil too- and it’s the kind of brand that is truly a household name. The Gentle Prevention pads are my go-to, when I’m on the go, walking out of the gym, or heading to a dinner date!

They rented a super cool space on the West Side, and had mini cakes, donuts and kale salads for lunch so that the audience could eat up! Of course, I dove right into both the cake and the kale salad because #balance is key.

On the panel was Kyle Richards from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, along with Barbara Greenberg and Jennifer MacGregor, and myself as the moderator. I got right in to asking the ladies about how they teach their kids about proper skincare, and body image, from a young age. All three of the moms agreed that the earlier you can introduce the topic of body image into the conversation, the better skills your teen will have as they get older.

Check out my video below for my entire adventure!

5 Tips to Stop Procrastinating

Whether you’re a child, adolescent, teen, adult, or elder, everyone procrastinated at one point or continues to procrastinate in their daily lives. Procrastination, while a natural tendency, can have major negative influences on one’s life. This habit can get annoying for an individual or those surrounding them, so it’s important to figure out ways to break it when needed. If procrastination is never fixed it can end up harming one’s reputation, time, anxiety, and will cause more stress than what’s necessary.

1. Set a Schedule

If you’re having trouble making time for your work or simply don’t want to complete it, creating a schedule can help. A schedule consists of a set time for everything that’ll take place in a day. For instance, most people eat breakfast between 6-8 a.m. so for a schedule, that would be the allotted time to eat breakfast for most days. Besides eating, you may reserve time for break, showering, school, work, and then for the tasks that need to be done and not procrastinated. Everyday, set a specific time to complete or continue the tasks that need to get done, and try your hardest to maintain and comply to that schedule.
Procrastinate 1 schedule

2. Work With Someone

Working with a friend, schoolmate, acquaintance, parent, or anyone else is a fantastic way to get work done, as long as you concentrate. Together, you and your schoolmate(s) will be able to conquer the tasks, and will keep each other focused on the work.
Procrastinate 2 work together

3. Remove the Distractions

If you’re procrastinating because your phone keeps buzzing, you’re too busy watching TV, or you’re too much into a videogame, then those are distractions that can easily be avoided. Turn off the phone, mute it, turn it over, put it in a different room, anything will suffice to make it not so tempting. If possible, sit somewhere that isn’t full of disturbances such as a classroom, outside, or even in your attack. Turning off or even getting away from the diversions can make a task get done a lot quicker, faster, and with less stress.
phone off

4. Have Enough Energy

When you’re completing a task you can easily get sidetracked if you’re tired, hungry, or thirsty. Be well prepared to work by getting a good night’s sleep or taking a long nap beforehand so you can concentrate and won’t get sleepy. A stomach growling can also cause a lack of working capability so eat before you work and make sure to have something to drink nearby incase you get thirsty.
procrastinate drink

5. Get Comfortable

Being in the right setting while working is mandatory to have the best quality of material produced. If you’re uncomfortable where you are, your nervousness, stress, and anxiety will most likely resemble in your work. If you don’t like working outdoors or at a local coffee shop then work in your home away from distractions with a full belly in a quite location. Make sure the temperature is right where you won’t be too hot or cold, and have everything necessary to work, such a pens/pencils, laptop, paper, etc.
Procrastinate Comfort