As she sat in a room in her Connecticut home some 10-years ago, then 12-year old Alexa Curtis wasn’t feeling overly brave. A victim of classmate bullies – she was feeling anything but. However, as her fingers hit the keyboard and she typed out what became the first post on her blog about fashion and style – she felt a sense of ease wash over her. “I finally felt like I had found some type of calling after feeling incredibly alone and insecure.” What began as an escape from her then-reality catapulted her career.
Her “A Life in the Fashion Lane” blog grew like a wildfire. Young women from all over the country and across the globe were flocking to read her stories and looking up to Curtis rather than down at her. She caught the attention of many lifestyle and fashion-forward brands, landing her paying gigs to post and write about the apparel and beauty items she loved to wear and use. She also caught the eye of many national television programs including Rachel Ray, The Today Show, andExtra. Suddenly, Alexa Curtis was a star. But instead of basking in the limelight and simply enjoying the fruits of her labor, she decided to pay it forward. Switching “lanes” from fashion to empowerment in 2018, Curtis changed the name of the website to Life Unfiltered with Alexa, where she would begin to share more of her real-life struggles, strategies, and triumphs to enlighten others, percolate power and steer her followers to error toward courage instead of succumbing to fear. “My manager and I were at a meeting when I told her I simply had no passion for fashion anymore, and she was said, ‘Well, you’re pretty damn fearless in my opinion so you’ll decide what path is right for you.’ The word ‘fearless’ struck a chord with me, and I was like this is the magical moment.”
After spending some time living on her own in New England (she moved to Bedstuy, Brooklyn and out of her parents’ small town when she was 17, completely broke but determined to make it), she decided it was time to fearlessly spread her wings west. Landing herself a gig on Radio Disney(she pitched and negotiated on her own) she was able to take her “Be Fearless” mantra and have an even greater impact. Interviewing young adults who she found inspirational, her show’s mission was to encourage and enlighten others through the example of others, including herself.
Curtis, still passionate about the bullying epidemic, also created nonprofit M.I.N.T. (Media Impact and Navigation for Teens) to help spread the importance of maintaining mental health and ease the pain of victims of bullying. She’s been very candid about her past struggles and present tribulations as she believes living out a public and authentic life will show others they are not alone.
Fast forward a decade later – Alexa Curtis is still striving to live a life without fear and using her now close-to-celebrity status to empower others to do the same. “Fearless is getting out of your comfort zone and having an interest in doing something that’s unexpected. Whether that’s skydiving or trying to make sushi,” says Curtis. “You don’t always have to be so outside of your comfort zone to be fearless, you just have to be different.” And she has a myriad of ways she is helping others do just that. Her blog continues to grow in popularity but instead of simply sharing stories of everyday struggles, most people cope with on a regular basis, she also hones in on body shaming (focusing on her own and her love of chocolate), the woes of being an entrepreneur (not getting paid on time and how to combat, negotiating partnerships and dealing with rejection), how to land a dream job and control your destiny. She openly shares all: the good, the bad and the ugly and she continues to be touted by the media, as a result. CNN, Forbes, Cheddar TVand more continuously look to Curtis as an entrepreneurial go-to to speak to trending topics, weigh in on headlines and share her own recipes for success.
She’s extended her blog reach by creating a podcast – This is Life Unfiltered, or TILU, where she interviews other business leaders, innovators, and trailblazers. The podcast is growing swiftly and not surprisingly one of Apple’s top choices for young adults. “I launched This is Life Unfiltered over 100 weeks ago. The concept was to bring people into the life of founders, something I’ve been passionate about since the beginning. I wanted to avoid showcasing the classic Instagrammer or influencer and focus on people who not only inspired me but were changing the world with the company they’ve created.”
And, finally, perhaps the project she’s most proud of to-date, her “Be Fearless Summit,” now in its second year. “The Be Fearless Summit was an idea I had for more than a year before I finally brought it to life! I didn’t go to college, but since I speak to college students all the time, I was constantly thinking to myself what I’d need if I was in college. I’d need help, guidance, financial aid, advice on dating! So, I brought all of these topics together into a one-day summit.”. The first event was held at Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2019 and drew hundreds of students and aspiring business leaders to come and learn from Curtis and others how they achieved success, dealt with pitfalls and propelled. Again, attracting national media attention, Curtis was able to share her “be fearless” philosophy with millions. She’s now gearing up for the 2020 summit – taking place on April 1stat the University of California, Berkeley. The day-long event promises to share messages of positivity, power, and purpose. It’s also nearly sold out and has the support of major household brands like Hanes and Morphe. “There’s a glamorization around being an entrepreneur and I think it’s in part due to social media. I see why! I’m lucky to get to partake in what I do for a living, but I can’t preach enough that I built this brand for 10 years, hard work, sweat, and tears were a daily occurrence in my life, and I’m finally seeing results. Success doesn’t come in one hour, one year, one day. You need a purpose and you need to let that lead you to the success you’ll find. What do you really want when you’re at the top? For me, it’s never been about the money or the cool, fun events. They’re all a result of me pursuing my passion.”
The lane certainly doesn’t stop there either. With a plethora of digital projects in the works with national networks, more Be Fearless Summitson the horizon and much more – the sky’s the limit for Curtis. The only thing stopping her would be fear – which is clearly an accessory this fashionable self-made star does without.
By: Dr. Robi Ludwig
Podcast: This is Life Unfiltered
Instagram: @Alexa Curtis@befearlesssummit
Facebook: @Alexa Curtis
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