Pantene shot by Tom Newton
My Pantene campaign is out!! I’m so excited to finally share with you a shoot I did for Pantene, shot a few months ago in New York (when I also first discovered lindy hop dancing, on a very bold and spontaneous outing. Bold for me, that is). This campaign was shot by Tom Newton, a photographer that is kind and gentle, talented and a joy to work with. I was so excited to work with him as I’d admired his work for some time (you’ve probably seen his work for Glossier or Into The Gloss, regularly).
Thank you to the entire team for including me in this shoot, it is an honor and a dream come true! Additionally, thank you to hair and makeup artists, Clara Leonard, and Shayna Goldberg, stylist Brie Welch as well as my agents at Muse NYC.
Scroll down for official photos and bts photos!
and now, for some bts of the shoot:
As a model, my schedule is typically very last-minute and on-the-fly. Sometimes I know about jobs coming up weeks ahead, but most often than not, I’ll be notified the night before. This was the case for Pantene! I knew I was “on hold” (meaning a possible but not confirmed booking), but the job, shooting in New York, hadn’t confirmed until the night before. The next morning I packed my little suitcase, and off I was! (Earlier in 2018 Scott and I spent a few months living in New York, so by this time, I was excited to head back to my three-month-old stomping grounds. It’s comforting and fun to know where you’re going, what the airport and city look like, etc.):
This was my beautiful hotel room, with a view (though I will say it does, often, feel like a slight shame because when I fly out for jobs, I’m almost always on set for long days and only come back to the hotel to lay my head and sleep. I don’t have much time to enjoy it — and, I always feel it’d be more fun if Scott were with me. But still, not complaining here. Especially with this view!):
I woke up bright and early the next morning. If I remember correctly, call time was something like 7:00 AM, meaning I would leave by 6:30 at the latest from my hotel room, meaning I would wake up at 5:30 to give myself enough time to wake up and find some breakfast (some people can function without breakfast, however, I am not one of those. Not in the slightest, haha!). I arrived at Pier59Studios, which in itself was exciting! As a young model, I would watch modeling or Vogue documentaries and see incredible shoots happening within these studios. To think that I was one of those models that day…felt surreal. Everything is normalized of course, because life is very “normal”, even for big shoots (or maybe I’ve done so many shoots that they feel normal or second nature to me? I’d say a mix of both, probably). Yet still, little Alex was definitely pinching herself. I’ve come a long way.
I found my studio, walked onto set, met the team, and waited to go into hair and makeup. (Fun Fact: hair and makeup are almost always first in line to be done. Then styling, then shooting. This is for a few reasons, one of them being it wouldn’t make sense to sit in hair and makeup and wrinkle the clothes. Therefore, styling comes after.)
It was a beautiful, blue sky day and the mood was very relaxed and positive (my favorite kind of mood). Funnily enough, I’d actually met Brie, the stylist, earlier in the year at an event in NY! It’s always nice to feel connected to someone on set, so this was a nice surprise. The day went on, I had around three different hair looks, and it all went smoothly. Tom was great to shoot with— super friendly, gentle, down to earth and passionate about his work.
Mid-shoot and to my surprise, my photographer friend Chaunte Vaugn texted me to say that she’d also been working with Pantene the day before, in the same exact studio (she’d recognized it from my Instagram stories)! She invited me out to dinner and a night of Lindy Hop (a form of swing dancing), which at first sounded a little daunting. I’d never gone to a swing dancing class before, and primarily, I’m sort of an introvert. Putting myself out there, especially in large crowds, takes a lot of energy and will-power. Luckily for me, I’d been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone at the time, so this was my time to shine!
I said yes to Chaunte, and after wrapping my Pantene shoot, clad in makeup and huge, fluffy hair, I immediately jumped on the subway and met her in the Williamsburg area. We ate delicious Thai and she brought me to her favorite Lindy Hop place (which was an old converted church, in the middle of a bustling city). I sat there, in that bustling, joyful church, like the happiest wallflower you’d ever seen. For the first time in a LONG time, I had a smile from ear to ear, a smile so pure, a feeling of joy so pure, all from watching other dancers and people, from all walks of life and corners of the earth, delighting in their dance. It was absolutely beautiful and miraculous to watch. That something so simple, so attainable (only requiring legs and song), could unify and bring others together, so simply and intimately, leaving them all with sunshine beaming out of their faces. That something so simple would and could make joy and love shine so brightly from within my heart and out of my own face was incredible too. It was, dare I say, ground-breaking. Thank you Chaunte. Thank you!
I then wrapped my second day of shooting the next day, said my good-byes, and headed straight to the airport. My last look was a “wet hair” look, so I left for the airport with soaking hair. Luckily it air-dried by the time I arrived to the JFK airport (thank you, traffic!). And, I was on my way back to L.A. before I even knew it. What a trip!