“Bougie Girl” isn’t the most flattering term one thinks of in referring to Black women. But, fact is, bourgeoisie simply means middle class.
Alaina Alexander turns the diss positive, stating, “There’s nothing wrong with working hard and getting ahead in life. I always wanted to have a clothing line with that name. Why not?
“You see on sweat shirts and t-shirts all kinds of things like ‘Ghetto Girl’, ‘Broke’, ‘Baby Mama’ — these other things. “Why not Bougie Girl?”
Indeed. Alexander continues, “I began a blog about growing up as a [Midwest] middle-class Black girl. I didn’t grow up in the hood. Growing up, the closest thing I saw to myself on TV was The Cosby Show. Then in college, maybe Moesha.
“I didn’t see anybody like me unless they were being made fun of for [supposedly] being White. The blog was a reaction,” which generated fan mail. That equates a market base. And, with the N-word being so thoroughly transitioned from slur to acceptability, why not Bougie Girl?
Alaina wasn’t the least bit scared of starting a business in today’s economic climate. She acknowledges, “In this down economy, consumers are being more careful with their discretionary spending.” And adds, “It falls to retailers to offer great products at [affordable] prices. Bougie Girl offers something for everyone’s taste and budget.”
Merchandise ranges from t-shirts at around $20, to key chains at just under three dollars. It’s classy, adorned with a dashing logo. “The boot symbolizes strength of character and the butterfly represents the necessity of change.” For the full line of Bougie Girl offerings, access www.bougiegirl.com and www.zazzle.com/bougiegirl1.
Alaina Alexander also is the voice of UNOBSTRUCTED via BlogTalkRadio, an Internet radio community. Each Saturday early afternoon (5 pm Central time), she records an interview with one creative type or another, be it author, actor, musician, dancer, director, visual artist, chef. If it takes creativity to accomplish it, Alaina’s interested in engaging you for an in-depth interview.
She’s conversed at length with famed author and poet Sonja Sanchez, California poet laureate Al Young and neo-soul siren Lori Jenaire. Local luminaries on her guest list include spoken-wordsmith David Daniels and, coming June 13, historian, scholar and griot Mahmoud El-Kati, whose newest book is The Hiptionary: A Survey of African American Speech Patterns (Papyrus Publishing). For current and archived programs, you can go to www.ala inaralexander.com/unobstructedarchive.html.
For good measure, Alexander, now living in Sante Fe, is prepping to take the LSAT in the fall and working on her law school applications. “I’m going to finish my law degree. I tell people I’m on the 15-year plan. I’ve got that going for the fall.”
To describe her as being driven understates the case. She multi-tasks in her sleep. Almost, anyway: Alexander sleeps with a pen and pad at the ready, on her night table. “You never know when an inspiration is going to strike,” she says.
Alaina Alexander is a textbook example of applying the get-behind-yourself-and-push principle. In 2003, having graduated from Inver Hills Community College, she took her paralegal degree and departed for L.A. She aspired to the entertainment industry, not as a performer (though she’s a singer), but on a track to rise in the behind-the-scenes ranks.
With no leads outside the want-ads, no car (if you don’t drive in freeway-friendly L.A., you’re transportation challenged) and empty pockets, she lets none of it — not even the fact that buses were about to go on strike — give her pause. She bunked with friends, got acclimated to the surroundings and, barely landed on her feet, caught on at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, the home-video distribution arm of the media giant.
It took little more than a month, signing on at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment as business affairs coordinator. In give or take a year and a half, she was promoted to contracts administrator. Traction secured, Alaina soon looked around for how to further go for the proverbial gold. She worked and thought, and thought and worked.
“Then, having sized up the situation, I started planning my exodus from California to New Mexico in October 2007,” she explains. “I had a strong feeling that the economy in California was about to tank. I moved to Santa Fe [last] August, one month before the huge financial implosion.”
At length, she hatched the notion to embark as an entrepreneur. Hence, Bougie Girl, about which she readily states, “I’m gonna rock this, because this is where I come from. I intend to rock the Bougie Girl look.”
In popular parlance, does the expression “Go-girl-scared-a-you” ring a bell? Businesswoman Alaina R. Alexander in the house.
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