We had the good fortune of connecting with Leslie Alejandro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leslie, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I think taking risks is essential for anyone who wants to pursue their dreams – Especially when it comes to creatives. There is no guarantee of financial success or acknowledgment when it comes to being a creative in any industry. I take pride in the risks I take. I took a risk being a career musician for the better park of my teen years and into my early 30s. Then I had a family and had to switch careers in my mid-30s when I went into beauty doing hair and makeup, which transformed me into being a creative director and editor for a fashion/celebrity magazine when I was in my late 30’s. Then at 40, I found photography. Once again, I took a risk by finally realizing that my love for photography would lead me into pursuing it full time as a professional. And most recently, I took a risk by wanting to use my love for story telling through still imagery, and applying it into filmmaking. Then at 42, I took directing courses at UCLA and finally ended up directed my first film at the age of 43 years old. Taking risks led me to place that if you told me 10 years ago I would be doing what I do now, I would think you were crazy. But I’m proud of my journey, and I am looking forward to the rewards that more risks I take in the future to come will bring me.
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 am a 47 year old Filipinx-American Director/Producer/Writer from Los Angeles. A true unicorn- born and raised in LA. I write and want to direct stories in the genre of psychological thrillers and horrors that live in our social conscience. I’m proud of the path I’ve been on that has led me to this moment in time; in my career. I accepted the challenges that life put in front of me and worked hard to be good at what I do. It wasn’t easy because not like most professions in which people started their careers early in life or went to university for, each phase in life I have been in was not what I started doing at the beginning of my path as a professional. Imposter Syndrome is real. Questioning my purpose is real. I constantly have to remind myself that I belong in the space I am fortunate to be in. Which has led me to starting a production company last year. Along with my husband, actor Kevin Alejandro and my incredibly brilliant sister, Dani de Jesus, we created Alejandro Films, a production company whose mission is to amplify diverse and underrepresented voices and stories. We are developing everything from limited series, documentaries, features, animated series, and music videos. I am proud of the work we are doing and excite for the world to see what we have created. But I couldn’t have done it without this: I live by these 3 action step in everything I do in my life: 1. Step out of your comfort zone – Staying in a space you’re comfortable in will never push you to realize what you are capable of. 2. Do the work – Working hard and educating yourself of everything you need to know in your craft will only benefit you in everything you do. And 3. Trust the process – Once you’ve put yourself out there, done the hard work that comes along with everything, then you have to put it out there and let it go. At this stage, you can be confident in everything you’ve done to get to this point, so let it go and move on to the next. My brand, as well as Alejandro Films’ brand, is to create content that acts as a mirror to ourselves and society. Telling stories in order to provoke accountability and acceptance of one another is the goal. This will be my most proud and greatest contribution.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’ve been a Westsider residing in Santa Monica for over 16 years. Everything about this town is my favorite. From the beach to the restaurants to the Venice Skate Park, this side of the 405 freeway has always been my favorite side of LA. Obviously, we are living in strange and difficult times, but when the world is safe and opens back up, this is what I would suggest: 1. Brunch at Elephante on 2nd St. is a must, then bike riding down the bike path from Santa Monica to Marina del Rey, stopping at the Venice Skate Park for incredible people watching. 2. For family fun, Pacific Park Amusement Park on the Santa Monica pier guarantees a good time. 3. Quick yummy eats would be Sunny Blue for rice wrapped omusubis located on Main Street in Santa Monica. 4. Dine outdoors at the best pizza place, PBLC TRDE on Main Street serving artisan wines and beer from local vendors 5. A drive up PCH to Malibu Farms for lunch will provide gorgeous views and yummy, healthy food options, then spending the day at El Matador Beach has always been a pastime favorite of mine. 6. Relax for great service, poolside, and a great rooftop at The Proper Hotel located on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Shoutout is dedicated to one of the more talented directors I know. If it weren’t for director and friend, Aisha Schliessler, who told me I should direct, I wouldn’t have had the guts to take that leap. Also to my husband, actor, Kevin Alejandro in which if I didn’t have his support and mentorship, I couldn’t have done what I’m doing today. The last one is to my sister, Dani de Jesus. She’s a UCLA graduate and worked as head of development for a production company who had deals with Sony and CBS, then left the industry to teach high school in Maui for 10 years. She’s back in LA now so that we could start our production company, and without her knowledge and brilliant mind, we couldn’t be where we are today.
Website: www.alejandrofilms.com and also www.lesliealejandro.com
Other: Please check out our Alejandro Films platforms as well: Website: www.alejandrofilms.com Instagram: @alejandrofilms_ Twitter: @alejandrofilms_
All Photos by Leslie Alejandro