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Next stop, Rolling Stone

Shot by Alex R., Sierra at Warped Tour

If you ever have the privilege of meeting Alex R., you’ll immediately recognize her shining character and authenticity. I met Alex two years ago when she was 16. She was her own person with her own inner challenges to face.  Intellectually, Alex could run circles around most of her peers with her quick wit, sharp banter and depth of knowledge. Emotionally, she had yet to find her place.

Although she started down a dangerous road, she decided to use her smarts to change her direction. She asked for help to discover what was most important to her. Right away, I noticed that she was curious beyond belief. She was also challenging, to say the least. But, crucially, Alex was open to coming to a resolution, on her own terms, about her life beyond 16.

Alex participated in the first Passion Project. She had no problem voicing her thoughts and opinions or encouraging others. She was quite a natural at it, in fact. As I spent more time with Alex, I quickly learned that she focused more on helping others than on herself.  She often avoided taking care of herself altogether.

After a series of unfortunate events Alex asked for some one-to-one support. That began a two-year adventure of working closely with her. I can say today that I am blessed to have been able to mentor Alex.

During our time together, I couldn't help but notice Alex’s love for music. She liked to describe her feelings by posting song lyrics as her Facebook status. She was constantly listening to music and she often expressed her admiration of the musicians' creativity, dedication and individual style.

When Alex graduated from high school earlier this year she told me that she wanted to take her passion to the next level. She wanted to photograph and interview musicians. She wanted to hear their stories and she needed my help to do it. Within a week her energy and drive shifted. I made her a deal:  I would help her in any way I could, the only thing she had to commit to was her studies at university. We shook on it and the journey began.

During the world cup Alex got a job selling team apparel so that she could buy her first real camera. I told her that I would pay as much as I could afford, but she would have to at least contribute half. Motivated by her dreams, she saved enough to buy her own camera.

How did this journey end, you might ask?

It continues to be a wild ride. With our help Alex was able to get two media passes to the Warped Tour Series. Thanks to Terry McBride of Nettwerk Alex sat in on Sarah McLachlan’s media conference at Lilith Fair in Toronto. She was even featured on MTV while was she interviewed a band at one of the Warped Tours. Rockstar, the energy drink company, sponsored Uproar Music Tour where Alex was invited to shoot in September. Along with these accomplishments she was invited to sit in on a music video shoot for a local artist. This summer she also met and interviewed her favourite artist LIGHTS.

Alex and Lights

Her photos blew me away. Talk about a future at Rolling Stone.

Alex continues to volunteer her time with Passion Foundation. I promised her that no matter what curve balls life throws her way, she’s got the support that she needs to get through it and a cheering squad at her side.

Next, Alex plans to (hopefully) shine her spotlight on Dan Mangan in Victoria in early December. We are still waiting for confirmation.

I chose to feature Alex this week because she, like many others I’ve worked with, are just looking for a way to experience their true passion. When they find it, they fly.

You can check out Alex's work on her website A Girl and Her Music.

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