As someone who studied psychology in college, Natalie Alexa has a deep fascination with the human psyche.
Which is why she puts a lot of thought into her social media brand and into Instagram in particular. Since joining in September 2012, the Somers native and self-proclaimed fitness addict has more than 64.7K followers as well as more than 7,000 Facebook friends.
The Upper West Sider, who's also a model, relied on Facebook initially to grow her brand -- she goes by Natalie Alexxa -- and then slowly branched out to Instagram.
"It really started out, and still is, a social experiment," she said.
"I knew how to be unfiltered and free in my Facebook statuses, but I had no inkling as to how I should convey myself to millions of strangers out there coming across my Instagram page."
So, she posted the typical things with the obligatory hashtags. "I had already dabbled in photoshoots as a hobby but Instagram made me literally face myself, imperfections and all," she said.
After some awkward selfies -- that garnered her fair share of comments and critiques -- she started to feel more natural with her posts. She relied on honesty as she charted a fitness journey that entailed losing 30 pounds after what she describes as "a very dark breakup."
"I want to make people feel uncomfortable and inspired, to make them question their comfort zones and stagnant lifestyles.
"So I started posting whatever I felt: anger, seduction, depression, motivation, humor and many other emotions."
The followers followed, leading to her social media influencer status.
Alexa believes new media is a business force to be reckoned with -- and one she's still navigating. In fact, the 29-year-old has turned down a lot of business offers because she's still a work in progress.
"My brand is kinda all over the place and not an easy one you can place in a neatly fitted box," she said. "I think that’s what draws my followers to me.
"I enjoy posting interesting content that some people are hesitant to try such as microblading, trendy piercings, body mods, or tons of fitness motivation and advice."
At the moment, she's juggling several projects related to fashion, makeup, and fitness. "Basically whatever captures my interest," she said.
"People like when you keep it real, but they also clearly enjoy hedonism, sexiness, transcendence, and pushing boundaries."
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