Alexandra stands out in the streets of New York City and she is exactly how you’d imagine a native Dane; tall, blonde, and incredibly cool. She is artistic, expressive, and exudes an effortless chic attitude when it comes to fashion. Alexandra spends her days surrounded by a community of creative actors that contribute to what makes NYC the most unique city in the world.
Tell us about your background.
I was born in Denmark and moved to the States when I was eight years old. My dad is American and my mom is Danish; they met when he was a Captain for Pan Am and my mom was working as a flight attendant.
Working for Pan Am they both got to travel the world. Sometimes they got to stay foreign cities and exotic places for days until their next assignment.
Your parents’ story sounds like it came right out of a storybook.
It does! But it’s funny, I knew a bunch of kids just like me growing up — with American dads and Scandinavian moms who had met while working for Pan Am in the 70’s. We were spread out all over the world, but we were definitely a specific little community.
Why were so many flight attendants working for Pan Am from Scandinavia?
I think because they were so clever and tended to speak so many languages — Danes are pretty famous for their English. Also, it didn’t hurt that they were beautiful blondes who craved the sun and sea and wanted to get out of the Arctic circle.
What brought your family to America?
My dad moved to Delta, he was allowed to choose a hub in the states and ended up picking Atlanta. I remember the day I stepped out of the plane. It was so hot in Georgia, like walking into a wall of wet heat.
How did you end up moving to NYC?
I’m an artist and went to school at Brown. A lot of my friends and colleagues from college moved to New York after graduation so I had a community here when I decided to move and pursue the arts.
Tell us about what you do in New York.
I’m a graphic designer and theater artist in a theater company called Piehole. I joined shortly after moving to New York, but we’ve been around since 2008. We make original, independent theater.
What audience does your theater group attract?
A pretty wide range, actually. A lot of different types of artists…our core audience is made of the people who have been coming to our shows for years.
We create original devised work. We also use a lot of multi media, combining hand made objects with live feed projection and animation. Part of our ethos is hand-making everything we work with. We try to make shows that leave you asking questions but we also want to make sure sure you have a really good time.
What is your favorite part of living in New York City?
I take for granted being able to create art with people I love and respect, but New York City is what brought all these wonderful collaborators to the same place. I’m so grateful for that.
It’s also just mind-boggling how many talented, hard-working artists there are here. It’s competitive, but it means that on a random Tuesday night, you could end up seeing something that leaves you breathless.
Is it challenging surviving in NYC while working as an artist?
Yes, most people I know, myself included, work a combination of jobs. I’m lucky that my work as a graphic designer is also a creative outlet. In terms of my career, my goal is to make art I believe in, and try to do so sustainably.
I try not to think of my day jobs as something to just get through, otherwise I alienate myself from a whole swath of my life. On my better days, I’m trying to follow Fellini’s advice and live spherically, in all directions, to my fullest.
If you separate yourself from what is your real work and what is your pretend or creative work, you are alienating yourself from your day-to-day life.