Alex Consani, the trans trend mannequin taking up TikTok
Sometimes I get really depressed about the way TikTok is flattening the culture, the way it is bombarding its users with a completely random trend or subculture that becomes a talking point across the country for about three days and never matters again.
It’s depressing to me because the joy of TikTok is supposed to be getting lost in the middle, and yet so many of us are in the same places, even assuming that the videos we see are somehow a reflection of our own hyper-individual tastes. It’s depressing because if you spend enough time on TikTok, you’ll notice how many of the creators start to adopt each other’s cadences and editing conventions, and how an entire platform of weird and completely different content can be called “TikTok” for humor . “
But every now and then I stumble upon a TikTok user who is so fun and engaging that I completely forget about it. One of those people is Alex Consani, a model and fun town person who I started following because I needed to know where she bought a particular dress and after watching more of her videos I realized that I needed to know everything about her life.
Like all the best people on TikTok, however, she leaves the details puzzling and instead shows herself in absurd situations (the outside of the Pasadena Scientology building in a fake MTV Cribs episode where she tells people they are buying the Hunger Games book series can there for example) while contorting her face in a way that is undeniably art.
However, Alex Consani’s internet life existed long before TikTok. She went viral in 2016 at the age of 12 after a feature in Cosmopolitan Germany about her life as a transmodel. Which she’s only turning 18 now, a number that shocked me when you consider how she managed to build such a unique sense of humor and more than 600,000 followers.
From the Bay Area – despite going to college in New York City this fall – Alex spoke to me on the phone about her TikTok fame, which like many other creators, has exploded after the pandemic. The interview was edited and shortened.
Which came first, modeling or fun for work?
I started modeling around 2015. My mom saw this really scary, grubby Facebook ad for a modeling agency and she said, “Oh, Alex, would you like to do this?” And I said, “Wait, that would be fun.” It was really a really good experience and has helped me a lot in my career. It was an LA-based agency so it was a lot of traveling to LA to basically learn the threads of the industry.
How did you get started on social media?
I’ve always had a Play Doh face. I am very expressive. When Instagram peaked after Vine passed away, I tried to be one of those Finsta Instagram creators [a.k.a more alternative, edgy Instagram influencers who shitpost freely rather than curating a polished aesthetic]. I was proud of what I post because I always thought it was so fun. So when TikTok came up and we were in quarantine, I saw that as an opportunity for me to bring this to a wider audience. And of course I never expected anything to come of it, but it did. I don’t know if my modeling agency likes what I sometimes post. It can be a little crazy.
What was your first entry into the internet?
I grew up on YouTube, of course. I remember seeing a lot of makeup tutorials from the 2000s and 2010s. Also just seeing movies and TV shows like Hannah Montana where they were, texting and using social media apps and all.
What was it like when you started exploding on TikTok?
I’ve changed a lot since I started using social media. I follow my own sense of humor instead of being inspired by other creators or things like that. For that unique sense of humor, TikTok really lives. I still don’t feel like I’m funny. But once I found my ability to be comfortable on the internet and just post whatever I want right now, I started to think of myself as a fun person.
They have a popular shop on Depop; do you find most of your clothes there?
I like depop, but often I don’t find the things I want at the right price because I am very frugal with my money wherever I can. I love supporting thrift stores, and a lot of my friends sell clothes, so I just shop from them. [My style is] Kesha mingled with Rihanna in the early 2000s.
What does your For You page look like?
Oh God. I feel like my For You page is very mixed. It’s like, strange audios. I don’t really get much other than just random compilation videos of random things. I love to see hair tutorials.
How do you deal with all the brands that you approach regarding sponsorship?
I want to make sure my content isn’t branded because I like the personalized aspects of other YouTubers, and I’m most fun and positive when I post things that I really want to post. So I get these brand sponsorship offers, but it’s really hard to decide what to take on. When it comes to bigger deals, I’ll definitely contact my modeling agent to make sure everything goes smoothly.
In all honesty, I haven’t made any money, believe it or not. I’m not in the Creator Fund, I just enjoy doing it [social media] for fun. I have a feeling that there are other, more profitable, more “Alex” companies out there.
Where do you want to take your social media followers?
Modeling and content creators are very short-lived careers. I always had the goal of starting a business and that’s why I tried switching to Depop for a while just to see how I could fare in the business world. That’s something I really could do and really love, a fashion-related business. I’ve worked in fashion long enough that it could be something I get tired of quickly, so honestly I don’t really know.
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