Alex Dorschner is a Minnesotan maximalist and queer actor-model-stylist trifecta championing genuine inclusively, body positive designers, and collaboration. After getting a BFA in Acting from the Mason Gross School of Arts at Rutgers in New Jersey almost two years ago, they moved to New York City. Here’s what Alex has been up to since: styling music videos for the likes of DIY popstar Softee and musical caricature Rapper Girlfriend; modeling for designers such as gender free clothing brand Official Rebrand as well as Discount Universe, Cosmopolitan, and Tatler; taking part in the iconic Patrick Church’s a/w19 NYFW presentation; being photographed for Nylon Japan outside a Slashed by Tia runway show for her standout street style; and being featured on Manrepeller in an article called ‘4 Women on Loving and Growing Their Body Hair’. Read more about Alex’s multi-faceted career, fashion sense and inspirations (along with why you should stop underrating and underestimating Minnesota) below.
How do you navigate following a career in each of the separate pursuits of acting, styling and modeling? Are there any aspects of the three you find intersect?
Yes. I think it's really important to do many things - and it's more fun to do different things that also do intersect. For example, I was in this short film that I also styled. So, I was able to do a little bit of both. Or I will style a photoshoot or a music video and then maybe try to put myself in it.
What drew you to acting? What are your roots in acting besides going to school for it?
My whole life I've done acting - ever since I was little. I'm not a child star, but I've been doing musicals and plays my whole life and it always has been a natural thing because I am extremely animated and I think that I have a pretty high emotional intelligence so I've always been painfully empathetic. So it just kind of grew out of me and because a part of me to be an actor. It's so sexy to be an actor to me - to be able to inhabit other people or stories. So, that's really hot to me. Always has been. That's how I got into it really. I also sing. I'd love at some point to have music be made by myself, but I haven't really... You know, that hasn't come as a huge part of my life yet.
Can you tell me a bit more about your personal experience with pursuing acting as a career?
It's classic actor vibes - just trying to get booked. I do have representation, but it's tricky because I only audition for TV and film - I don't do any theatre. It's really amazing stuff, but it's extremely difficult to get booked on because it's just so huge. So, it's me out here trying my best to get booked on that and, while I am trying to do that, I find myself doing way more styling and modeling than acting right now. I think that doing the styling and modeling keeps me from feeling like I'm inadequate in my acting career.
Who are some of your favorite actors, shows or films that inspire you?
It's always changing. I'm so inspired by TV - it's disgusting. I would love to be in something like Sex Education, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Glow, or Ozark. Also, that Euphoria show with Zendaya. It's all very queer. I love the show Pose obviously. Julia Garner. Jodie Comer from Killing Eve. Pen15. Joey King. Bria Vinaite from The Florida Project. Chloë Grace Moretz. The Act. The L Word - I was pissed I didn't audition for that. That was a staple of my high school career.
How’d you first get into modeling?
I kind of started two years ago. I was still living in Minnesota at the time and figured I love clothing, and I think I'm kind of hot sometimes, so maybe it'd be good to collaborate with people? In Minneapolis, there's a lot of photographers and creative people, so we all just kind of collaborated. Then I came to New York and I wanted to see what I could do with it. I've done a few really cool things, but I don't have an agency - I have a manager, who's a friend from college, to help manage that part of my life. I do a lot of it myself - either reaching out to people, or people will just reach out to me, and then I figure out the details with them. That's pretty much how it goes. But now that I feel like I've had some experience and I have a good enough body of work, I should probably get an agent.
When you model, would you say it’s you in front of the camera, or do you develop a sort of character to embody for shoots similarly to the way that you would with acting?
It totally depends on what I'm wearing. I feel like it's just me if it's a pretty natural shoot, but if I'm wearing something outrageous, I start moving differently. Let's say I'm wearing a mullet, I kind of become a ‘mullet dude’. If something really hits me hard, I would probably come up with a name and try to really embody the outfit I was in.
How do you think being from Minnesota informs your work?
There are so many talented people from Minnesota - so many creative people, and a ton of singers too. I definitely resonate with the 'Minnesota nice' thing. I think that's why New York can suck my ass sometimes. Like, it just really kind of hurts because people are so intense. But I also hate the 'Minnesota nice' because it's really passive aggressive. People don't actually have any confrontation. I think I carry the nature, and the bugs, and the animals, and the beautiful landscapes, and all of the culture that lives there - I have taken all that with me. A lot of people don't even know where Minneapolis or Saint Paul are… They don't even know where Minnesota is. There's just so much there that's not like a lot of the other Midwestern states. And, I'm not trying to sound elitist, but there are so many museums, and places to be an artist, and so many theaters, and music spaces. People really underrate it and underestimate it. But I carry all that with me in New York. And I think the niceness does help because you're able to not be a bitch... I've met so many people who don't know how to collaborate and have fun while they're doing it. If I'm working, I want to have fun and I want to put my best face forward. I think that comes from Minnesota’s culture of humility, and being approachable and kind. Everyone just wants to be nice.
Do you like living in New York now?
You know, it's a love-hate. That goes for a lot of places, but New York is just pretty wild. It’s so expensive, and there are just so many really intense people here - it’s just kind of hard to deal with sometimes. But I do love it because so many people who do the same thing as I do are here, and it’s an important place, and one where I feel relatively safe. I think it's where I need to be right now. I don't know if I want to live here forever, but I definitely want to be here for a good amount of my young life.
Where do you source inspiration from for styling? Do you have any style icons?
Grace Jones is dope as fuck. I'm a big fan of @uglyworldwide. She's so cool. I've loved her for years and I think she's other worldly. I like buildings, and underwater life, and vintage things. I'm a huge vintage slut. I thrift most of my clothes. I'll pull from different vintage stores or independent designers that I really like. A lot of sustainable inspiration, and tons of colors and textures all the time. I'm not minimalist whatsoever.
Working as a model and a stylist, how do you think the fashion industry impacts you as a person?
There are so many different brands now that are more inclusive and more exciting to be around - and I've tried to find those people. The garbage kind of fashion; the one that's only skinny and tall people - that's not inclusive, and it’s a detrimental environment to grow up and be in. I've tried to really steer clear of that. I try to work with as many queer and body positive designers as humanly possible. I'm excited for a lot of new brands who are questioning fashion in general and trying to do something different with it.
Is there anything in particular you think about when you're dressing yourself?
I usually want to wear something I've never worn with the pieces that I have. I try and either use as much color as possible, or create as many shapes and textures. It really is a whole experience getting dressed.
Item of clothing you’re wearing a lot right now?
Peignoir nighties. A lot of 50's, 60's, 70's peignoir. I'm obsessed.
I saw you modeled for gender free clothing brand Official Rebrand and you’re a fan of The Phluid Project, the first gender free storefront in Manhattan.
Official Rebrand is amazing. They were one of my first relationships with any kind of fashion brand in the city. The Phluid Project, of course, is just so brilliant. I love going there. I love all the people who work there. They're so fucking nice and they're so giving. They have a great mixture of pieces that are made by individual designers, and then they'll have Champion or Fila mixed in, so there's a great range of style.
You have a strong sense of your own personal style. Do you have any advice to people trying to find their own personal style?
Keep trying a lot of different things. You have to be able to play - and also not spend a ton of money on it either! Finding a balance of buying a statement shoe and then going to Beacon's Closet, L Train Vintage, or Buffalo Exchange and getting something for under $7. It's a real mix and match process. Mix until it matches!
What are your favorite brands or online shops?
Via's Vintage in Minneapolis is where I have gotten a lot of things because I used to work there and the owner is incredible. I find so many things from Beacon's Closet. I have a couple of Official Rebrand pieces. Love Doc Martens. Love Jeffrey Campbell - I just ordered their lime green platform sandals called Jock. I'm going to get a pair of Buffalo London shoes. There's this shop called The Break - they're kind of minimal, but it's hot. I love Adidas. Thrifting is really my big go-to.
You’ve mentioned the word 'hot' a few times. What’s 'hot' for you?
I would just say it means 'it's working for you' and it's a state of mind. Like, my pet lizard is hot. He's basking in the sun right now. His name is Hermie and he's my child. He's so fun and he's got a great personality, so that's hot.
courtesy ALEX DORSCHNER
interview AUDRY HIAOUI
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