We had the good fortune of connecting with Alexis Interiano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alexis, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In my experience, risk-taking is an imperative act that leads to the progression that MUST come when you live as an artist. It is very easy to stagnate in your craft when you find what you’re best at creating. All of the attention and praise that you receive for your particular style can sometimes make it hard to try new things or exercise your creative perimeter, but those feelings are just fear and insecurity. Fear that when your new experiences in life evolve your art, your fandom might not evolve with you. Insecurity because we live in a time where it can feel like our worth is measured by a number of ‘Likes’ we receive on a post, or how many eyes have watched our Reels. But I believe in the great saying, “To get something you don’t have, you must do something you’ve never done.” The birth of my artistry and what made it so unique was because I decided to detach myself from the norm and take those risks. I created to heal me. I had no idea it would be something that could heal other people too. It’s nice to ride the plateau for a while, but if I stay in one place creatively for too long, I can start to feel trapped and like I’m not progressing to my fullest potential.
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 suppose it began the way it always does; I was an estranged adolescent who felt incredibly misunderstood by everyone. I was raised by an elderly woman, so a lot of my knowledge at that age wasn’t too common in my generation. I was quite fond of antiques, the Victorian era, gothic fashion, and I was never in-tune with the latest TV show, fashion trends, or pop song on the radio. I was definitely that weird artsy girl who was playing classical music on her piano and writing poetry in middle and high school. From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to be on some kind of platform and be known for something great. It was something I just felt in my bones. I actually wanted to be a singer or an actress, but I suppose something greater was in store for me. When I first discovered my love for photography at the age of 13, I was creating emotive portraits with my then (and current) best friend, Hanna. We made the craziest sets together and captured everything on these poor-quality digital cameras. It’s laughable, really. As an adult, I now know that it was my way of expressing my feelings through portraiture. I was bullied terribly for being so different and it was difficult for me to connect with others, but I’m grateful to live in a time where now the world is more appreciative of artists and their contribution to life. I know that it was much harder for those who came before me.
Art just brings people closer in unbelievable ways. People who were once my enemies have sometimes cried and thanked me with a hug before leaving my studio. It’s amazing because I feel like the world finally wants to see things the way I always have. People trust my vision so much that they’re willing to be my canvas and pay hundreds, sometimes thousands for it. It’s such a wonderful feeling and goes so much deeper than just “taking pictures.” My art is all about being introspective.
Once I learned the power of Love, I learned that I don’t need to change the whole world, just implement love and care into someone else’s. I used to stress myself out so much thinking I had to be a certain someone at a certain age or my fate would be sealed by the age of 25. Here I am, about to be 25 in less than two months and I feel the crisp brink of the beginning.
It is vital for me to me to capture someone else’s beauty because I was in a very dark place for a very long time where beautiful was something I never thought I could be. I needed that 45 year-old mother to know when she sat in front of my camera that she was more powerful and maturely blossoming than ever; or that 27 year-old woman who goes home to an abusive relationship know that she could take her life back at any moment, and come to know her worth is greater than the pain in her chest. But learning my worth as a person before being anything else was my key to a better relationship with my clients, my loved ones, my profession, and myself. You are definitely your greatest obstacle.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, at much as I do love the good old-fashioned New Orleanian cuisine down here, my city has many hidden gems in each neighborhood. My all-time favorite place to have a drink or bite to eat would be The Vintage on Magazine St. Their menu is full of delicious sandwiches, appetizers, specialty beignets, tea & coffee, cocktails, etc., and the atmosphere is perfect for gathering with friends any time of day.
If you’re looking for another family-friendly place with amazing food and drink specials, Louisiana Pizza Kitchen Uptown on S Carrollton and St. Charles is to die for! They are LGBT owned, and have some of the best food New Orleans has to offer, with an amazing staff.
Again, I’m into super unique places and people, and luckily there are plenty of shops here that cater to people just like me! Just to name a few who are run by some of the coolest people I know, Miette on Magazine St., She Comes in Peace in the Bywater, Boutique Du Vampyre and Dark Matter Oddities in the French Quarter, and our brand new black-owned tea room on Oak Street, Queenly Conjure!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I dedicate this shoutout to every single one of my supporters, past mentors, closest friends, my family, my work family, my best friend and assistant, Hanna Betz, my extraordinary make-up artist, Sydney Shearer, my loving partner, Joshua Shepley, my companion overseas, Samuel Blackwell, and my amazing great-grandmother who raised me, Joan Dubuc.
Mentors: Bella Kotak, Sue Bryce, Irene Rudnyk, Bruno Habasque, Kimberley Robinson. Thank all of you for providing me the education and resources I needed to advance my journey as an artist.
Everyday I recognize how lucky I am to have such a strong community of people who never stop believing in me, no matter where I am in life. I owe every bit of my success to those who have lifted me to greater heights. I could list names forever, but in lieu of doing so, please accept this simplified article. Without all of you, there would be no me.
Miette Jackson, Supa Cent, Jezebel’s Fascination, Jasmine Vaugnon, Ingrid Anderson, Alexis Reyes, Sydney Shearer, Brittany Rae Savoy, Loschy Designs, Faerie Things