Life / The Refined Collective

CHINAE ALEXANDER // NYC PROFILE

08.24.17

Chinae Alexander // Photos c/o Kat Harris, The Refined Woman // Written by Kitty Williams for The Refined Woman

The sidewalks of Williamsburg are busy with people, some walking in groups, some walking alone looking at their phones. Sitting at an outdoor table at a small café, Chinae Alexander tries to put to words the many things she does in her life.

Alexander is an entrepreneur, a speaker, and a social media personality with a focus on lifestyle and fitness. Her career aspirations have shifted over the years from fashion magazine editor, to event planner, to where she is now. Through all of these professions, there has been a consistent and powerful driving force: people.

“I remember sitting in a diner on 33rd and Lexington and writing down all the things I loved in my life,” says Alexander. She found that human connection was the common thread. Now, she interacts with women in meaningful ways, whether in person or on social media.

Alexander emphasizes, “It’s about finding what’s badass about you and bringing that to the surface.” She notes that it already exists within everyone; it just needs to be realized.

It’s not her goal to change people or show them how to be like her, but rather to show them that the life they want is possible, and they won’t be alone on the journey to making it a reality.

Alexander believes that, while people should make an effort to better themselves, they should also maintain self-love throughout that process. She has always been a confident person, and she wants to help others feel the same.

Her confident attitude isn’t limited to certain chapters of life. No matter where she has been in her life, either professionally, personally, or physically, she has always maintained confidence as her baseline; it is not circumstantial, and that is the key.

She also hopes to be an important presence in the lives of others by simply being there. “If I can make people believe that they are not alone in their thinking, their sorrow, their joy…” says Alexander, “whatever it is, if you can tell people they are not alone, there’s hope there.” Her social media presence is an open one that invites followers to feel as though they are friends.

When with other people, it is easy to fall into a trap of not taking enough care of herself. Alexander finds that it’s important for her to eat well, exercise, and focus on community.

Taking this time for herself to relax and reset can sometimes be attended by guilt, especially when she has to say no to certain things. “I have to be a good sane person to do any of it,” says Alexander. She is learning to be honest with herself and others when it comes to what she has the time and energy for. Remembering a specific moment when she was honest with someone, she says, “It was so freeing.”

Alexander speaks lovingly of her mother, noting that her mother always believes in her. “Every time I talk to her in my life she’s told me she’s proud of me,” says Alexander. Her mother has been supportive every step of the way, including when Alexander decided to move to New York City.

Her first introduction to New York City was watching Home Alone 2 as a child. “[Life in New York] is nothing like Home Alone 2,” says Alexander. She pauses for a moment, then adds, “besides pigeons being everywhere.” As she got older, her view of New York went on to be shaped by shows like Sex and the City where she heard of “this place called the West Village.”

When she was in high school, she had the opportunity to visit New York on a school trip. While most of her classmates were off mixing into crowds of tourists, Alexander went in search of the West Village with map in hand.

Seeking shelter from pouring rain, she found herself in a French café. She remembers hearing jazz music playing and seeing people sitting around with newspapers, coffee, and friends. “It felt like a movie,” she recalls.

She remembers thinking, “I have to live in this city, and I want to be one of those people.” Now, Alexander has been living in New York coming up on ten years. “I am one of those people now,” she says. “I have become the person that I wanted.”

Pondering whether she’ll stay in New York forever, she says, “I think for the first time, I’m living freely without a plan in that way.” She loves New York, but she wouldn’t be heartbroken to leave it or spend her time in both New York and California.

“My growth is daily leaning in to what the world has for me,” Alexander says. She is welcoming of changes that may come, but she knows the most effective growth comes only when she is consistently mindful of core values and old lessons learned while effecting that growth. Helping promote positive growth in others is a natural extension of her willingness to grow herself. Her common thread remains: people.

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