We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexa Harris and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Alexa, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Hey Blaxicana is about my identity. My identity is the brand. It’s simply me telling a story about my journey and remaining true to that. Authenticity is my number one goal. Whenever I have tried anything that is not true to who I am, I was always unhappy with the results. Fear stopped me in the beginning. I kept starting and stopping because I kept trying to be something I was not. Finally when I authentically expressed myself, my community began to grow. For anyone that is starting a brand or wanting to do more self-expression on social media, get comfortable with yourself. All of a sudden, you will notice things easily falling into place. I am reminded of a quote from The Mastery of Love by Miguel Ruiz: “Trying to be what you are not expends all your energy. Being what you are doesn’t require any effort.”

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I worked in non-profit and education for about ten years. In the last five, my professional life was dedicated to helping folks returning home. I started off as a job coach in that reentry org but ended up doing much more outside of my job description to get the site up and running. I ran around all over LA county! A few months in, I was promoted to program manager, a huge step in my professional career. Though I was killing it professionally, my trauma that was suppressed for years started to catch up to me. My coping mechanisms were not great and I pretended like everything was okay. I sacrificed my mental health for a few years to show up to work and complete my Masters degree. My rock bottom was when I became afraid to leave my room and started binge eating. Everything became so hard to do. I had to take a pause. In 2018, I finally started to get help through an amazing Black therapist and took a break from work.

It was during that break when I became more vulnerable online and started sharing my story on Instagram. Though I originally saw myself as a professional in the social justice world, I quickly realized that being creative+using art was my passion. I enjoy telling my story and helping others. We are taught to hustle and grind but I am proud of myself for recognizing that I needed help. Now I am all about self-care (I think most Taurus’ are). I often share ways to take a break and chill out. My favorite healing practices are taking a bath, smoking cannabis, and journaling. I hope in the next few years, I can build my business even further. I see myself in the future as a shop owner helping other people heal through cannabis. And I see myself bridging my professional life to my creative life by hiring folks returning home. Not only must my work be authentic but also be based in community, love, and care. I am here for the people by the people!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love showing people a good time. A good time to me always involves good eats! I would take them to Little Ethiopia for a veggie platter, sambusas, and honey wine, to Simply Wholesome for Caribbean food and natural products, Ackee Bamboo for Jamaican patties, grab a drink at Perch and see the city at night, walk the boardwalk in Venice (maybe roller skate too), have coffee at Find Your Hilltop, attend a drum circle in Leimert Park, check out a Black exhibition at the Broad Museum, eat yummy Mexican food and Cadillac Margs at Pacos Tacos on Centinela, check out The Salt Eaters Bookshop (can’t wait for it to open), and Josephine and Billies for cannabis (another upcoming spot opening soon).

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am not the woman I am today without the unconditional support from my loved ones. My family and friends have supported me through my darkest times and happiest times. I particularly want to thank my three brothers, Alfred, Drew, and Sean. Our family has been through a lot, especially in our childhood. We continue to stand by each other and hold each other down with love and encouragement. I am so grateful for mis hermanos!

I also want to shoutout my mother, Maria Luisa Marmolejo (Marylou) for her sacrifices and strength while raising my brothers and I. Though our relationship is strained, I continue to love her dearly in my heart and pray for her safety always. Thank you Mommy!

Instagram: @heyblaxicana

Youtube: Youtube.com/heyblaxicana

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