Alex Consani, the trans model who takes over TikTok
Sometimes I get really depressed by all the ways TikTok flattens the culture, how it bombards its users with a completely random trend or subculture that becomes a national talking point for like three days and never has another importance.
It’s depressing to me because the joy of TikTok is supposed to be getting lost in the thick of it, and yet so many of us end up in the same places, even though we assume the videos we see are somehow kind a reflection of our own hyper-individual tastes. It’s depressing because if you spend enough time on TikTok, you’ll start to notice how many creators are starting to adopt each other’s cadences and editing conventions, and how an entire platform of weird and totally different may end up being labeled as “TikTok”. humor.”
But every once in a while, I come across a TikTok user who is so funny and captivating that it makes me completely forget all about it. One of those people is Alex Consani, a model and funny person from town who I started following because I needed to know where she bought a certain dress, and after watching more of her videos , I realized that I had to know everything about his life.
Like all the best people on TikTok, however, she leaves the details mysterious and instead shows up in absurd situations (the exterior of the Pasadena Scientology building in a fake MTV cribs episode in which she tells people they can buy the hunger games series of books there, for example), while contorting his face in a way that is unmistakably art.
However, Alex Consani’s internet life existed long before TikTok. She went viral in 2016 aged 12, after a feature film in Cosmopolitan Germany about her life as a trans model. Which, yes, makes her only 18 now, a figure I was shocked to learn considering how she managed to create such a unique brand of humor and over 600,000 followers.
From the Bay Area — though she’s headed to New York University this fall — Alex spoke to me on the phone about her TikTok fame, which like many creators skyrocketed after the pandemic. The interview has been edited and condensed.
Which came first, modeling or being professionally funny?
I started modeling around 2015. My mom saw this really creepy, seedy Facebook ad for a modeling agency, and she was like, “Oh, Alex, would you like to do this?” And I was like, “Wait, that would be fun.” It was actually a very good experience and it helped me a lot in my career. It was an LA-based agency, so it was a lot of traveling around LA, basically learning the ropes of the industry.
How did you start on social media?
I’ve always had a Play-Doh face. I am very expressive. When Instagram was at its peak after Vine died, I used to try 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 the stuff I post because I always thought it was so funny. So when TikTok popped up and we were in quarantine, I saw that as an opportunity for me to post that to a wider audience. And obviously, I didn’t expect anything to happen, but it did eventually. I don’t know if my modeling agency likes what I post sometimes. It can be a bit crazy.
What was your first introduction to the Internet?
I grew up on YouTube, obviously. I remember watching 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 stuff.
What was it like when you started exploding on TikTok?
I’ve changed a lot since I started doing social media. I follow my own sense of humor, instead of being inspired by other designers or stuff like that. Having that unique sense of humor is really what TikTok specifically lives for. I still don’t feel like I’m funny. But once I found my ability to be comfortable on the internet and post whatever I wanted in the moment, I started to think of myself as a fun person.
You have a popular store on Depop; is that where you find most of your clothes?
I love Depop, but most of the time I can’t find the things I want at the right price because I’m very thrifty with my money where I can be. I really like to support thrift stores, and a lot of my friends are reselling clothes, so I’m just going to buy from them. [My style is] like, Kesha mixed with Rihanna from the early 2000s.
What does your For You page look like?
Oh my God. I feel like my For You page is very mixed. It’s like, weird audios. I don’t get much other than random compilation videos of random stuff. I love watching hair tutorials.
How do you manage all the brands that contact you for sponsorships?
I want to make sure my content isn’t brand-driven because I love the personalized aspects of other creators, and I’m the funniest and most positive when I post things I really want to post. So I get these brand sponsorship offers, but it’s really hard to choose what to take on. When it comes to, for example, big deals, I will definitely contact my modeling agent to make sure everything goes smoothly.
Honestly, I haven’t made any money yet, believe it or not. I’m not in the Creators Fund, I just like to do [social media] to have fun. I have the impression that there are other more profitable, more “Alex” companies.
Where do you want to take your social media followers?
Modeling and being a content creator are very short-lived careers. It’s always been my goal to build a business, and that’s kind of the reason why I tried to spend a bit at Depop, just to see how I could do in the business world. It’s something I could really see myself doing and really loving, a fashion-related business. I’ve been in the fashion industry long enough that it’s something I tire of quickly, so I don’t really know, honestly.
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