In the world of entertainment and modeling, there is non-stop attention, social and public pressure—and thanks to social media—constant scrutiny on how one looks, the number of Instagram followers that they have or the brand that they try to project.
Yet for all the glitz and glamour that come with being in such a spotlight, there is also a dark and dangerous side to it. Sadly, when the cameras are off, all of the makeup is washed away and extensions come off, many in the modeling world face personal demons in their own personal darkness.Issues such as drug use, bulimia and anorexia have long plagued the world of modeling, as famous models such as Kate Moss, the late Anna Nicole Smith, Naomi Campbell, Amber Valetta and Jaime King have all at one point being in the news for drug use and addiction. While they have all rehabilitated themselves now and gotten clean, the aforementioned models serve as a cautionary tale of the pressures of modeling. If anyone can serve as motivation and inspiration in going to hell, it is Scranton, PA-born fitness and bikini model Alexis Johnson. Considered by some to be too old at the age of 34, Johnson has overcome both her age and her own personal demons in the form of drug addiction to Percocet, Xanax, heroin and crack, in being clean and sober for the last 17 months after having an emergency hysterectomy. Thanks to appearing on magazine covers such as ModelsMania and City to Country LLC to being a sponsored fitness model for the clothing brand Str8shredded Fitness Clothing and appearing in music videos, the simply gorgeous blue-eyed 5’4 dynamo is redefining the word, comeback. Set to compete at Fitness Atlantic WBFF 2017 (World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Federation) in the Fitness Diva Division this coming April in Uncasville, Connecticut, a calendar shoot for Everyman’s Dream to being named the first-ever cover model for this digital magazine’s debut One-Shot Fitness Issue tentatively set to debut in Spring ’17. If 2017 is indication of anything for Johnson, the proud Penn State alum and classical beauty is living proof that redemption—like herself—is a truly beautiful thing. Below is my in-depth Q and A with Alexis as we talk fitness, looking and feeling great, winter fashion tips, her beloved Miami Dolphins, fast cars and her lifelong crush on Dan Marino. Name: Alexis Johnson Age: 34 Height: 5’4 Birthplace: Scranton, Pa Measurements: Bust 34” Waist 27” Hips 34” R.C. What kind of model do you consider yourself? (Instagram, pin-up/glamour, fashion): A.J. “Fitness and fashion. I have been very lucky to have the body type and knowledge to be able to swing back and forth between the two. The only thing I cannot do is high fashion since I am only 5’4 haha!. I am a little short for that.” R.C. What brands have you modeled for? Which one do you enjoy modeling for the most? A.J. “I consider myself a freelance model. I have a fitness clothing sponsor, Str8shredded Fitness Clothing—what’s up guys??!!! Haha!—they are beyond awesome! I have done everything from magazine covers to music videos to a movie pilot to calendars to inspirational videos and currently just accepted a position as a co-host for an informational YouTube channel about drones; am currently Miss Fashion Week Harrisburg, Pa and have another secret project in the works. I do not like to limit myself to any one thing because that is when I feel doors close.” R.C. Where has been your favorite place to shoot? A.J. “Oh my God I cannot pick just one!! I have shot everywhere from Boston, Massachusetts; to Miami, Florida; to Dallas, Texas; to New York City. Each city has its own flavor and flare, and each photo shoot bring its own personality and character to the end result. I just show up and bring mine, and the images turn out amazing. You have to love what you do and have fun with it.” R.C. What is the most exciting aspect of modeling? A.J. “For me, the most exciting aspect of modeling is networking and getting to know people in the business. Talking to up and coming photographers and talent, brainstorming ideas and coming up with images that started off as only ideas in your head. Seeing the end result makes it all worth it. Of course the day of the photoshoot is a blast, if it wasn’t we wouldn’t do what we do. It’s all the countless hours behind the scenes that go into it that makes it worth it for me.” R.C. With winter right around the corner, what fashion and style tips and trends do you have for looking good when the temperature drops? A.J. “I am a sucker for long pea coats and oversized scarves. I think peacoats are so classy looking on not only women, but men too, and for anyone who knows me, I am all about class and integrity. Nutrition wise, carbs are your friend ladies… it is ok to eat them, I promise. I’m not talking 6 and 7 donuts, but if you train hard, do not be afraid to eat and enjoy the holiday season treats. Life is short and you never know when it can be taken away, so train hard, and eat clean. I carb cycle. On the days I lift heavy, I eat more carbs, on the days I lift lighter or do only cardio, I limit my carb intake. It helps to switch it up and trick your body from time to time.” R.C. Within the industry, who is your inspiration? A.J. “I am a huge Zoe Daly fan. She is my inspiration and I follow all of her blogs and nutritional advice that she posts daily. I would love to meet her one day. She is a fitness competitor in the WBFF, which stands for World Beauty Fitness and Fashion Federation. I will be competing in the Fitness Diva Division in April, and looking at her progress motivates me to keep pushing when I feel like giving up.” R.C. What is your secret to staying in shape? A.J. “Persistence and consistency is key, and it is definitely something I struggle with. Results do not happen overnight, and you have to be patience. Once I make a plan and start seeing results, it becomes easy to stick to it and be consistent. I meal prep twice a week and plan out all of my meals for that week. I try to eat 6 times a day and keep my metabolism burning constantly. I sleep very well at night because of it!!” R.C. What is the most exciting part of working out and staying in shape? A.J. “For me, the most exciting part is pushing your body past its limits and achieving goals that I didn’t think I could achieve. There are so many times I wanted to quit and give in, and I didn’t. When I started seeing results and knew that the hard work was paying it off, it became that much more satisfying for me. It made me want to push myself even more and set higher goals for myself.” R.C. With winter coming up, what fitness and workout tips and tricks do you suggest to keeping in shape? A.J. “Winter is a great time to focus on putting on lean muscle mass and building strength. I have starting prepping for my first competition in April, and have starting adding more carbs into my diet and heavier workouts to add a little bit more muscle to my frame. Winter is a great time to focus on taking care of your body. Focus on hydration and moisturizing, keeping all aspects of your body healthy, not just nutrition and fitness. I don’t tend to do a lot of things outdoors during the cold months, and have turned my second bedroom into a make shift gym, with a punching bag, a jump box, weights and kettle bells so I have no excuse to not get a quick work out in if need be. I tend to focus a little more on heavier weight training throughout the winter, then higher reps, lower reps come spring to get that more toned look. It seems to work best for me!” R.C. Describe your workout routine: A.J. “My workout routine is set by my trainer, who is just absolutely awesome and I love him to death. What’s up Ryan!!! My off day is Tuesday since I work 11 hours at work. Then I start with Back and Delts on Wednesday, then Legs on Thursday, Chest and Arms on Friday, Shoulders on Saturday, Booty and Hamstrings on Sunday, and 30 minutes of HIIT (or High Intensity Interval Training on Monday). That is my routine which I am officially starting this week along with the nutritional plan he has started me on. I will follow this protocol until things start to chance closer to my competition where we start to manipulate carbs, water and sodium to get that hard, toned look to step on stage.” R.C. You seem to have some serious fitness style, what is your take on the growth of sportswear or fitness fad? A.J. “I think it’s neat to a degree. My clothing sponsor, Str8shredded has done it right. It should be stylish and comfortable but not trashy. We’re there to work out, not pick up people in a club. When I’m squatting, I don’t need guys to see my ass cheeks, but I can bucket squat 275 when I’m at my fittest and I want to be comfortable doing it, if that makes sense. Fitness should be fun and stylish because it is a serious commitment for us that costs us a lot of time and money, and for some of us it is a career. But I don’t think it should turn into a fashion show at the gym.” R.C. What is your secret to staying in shape? A.J. “Consistency, and my ambition because it’s my dream.” R.C. As someone who is a bit of a car junkie, what is my favorite sports car? A.J. “My favorite sports car would be a Lamborghini Aventador and for old school muscle would be a 1967 Mustang Shelby GT 500. Drool.” R.C. Outside of modeling, what are your hobbies? A.J. “I absolutely love to travel. I have been to nine different countries and all over the United States. My bucket list includes Dubai and Iceland. I am huge into horse racing. My father and I used to own race horses, and I would love to get back into it. My ultimate dream is to own a Triple Crown Winner. I am also a published poet, and I love to write poetry. I have also started writing my autobiography, and hope to finish that by the end of next year since I have a very interesting life story. I can literally say I have been to hell and back, and suffered experiences people have nightmares about.” R.C. Sports question: Who are your favorite teams and clubs: A.J. “I am a HUGE Miami Dolphins fan, and have been since 1992. I had a crush on Dan Marino, and have been loyal ever since. I have been to Miami several times, and that is my dream city to eventually move to. Also, as I mentioned before, I would love to get back into horse racing, and hope to do that this summer.” R.C. As a life-long Dolphins fan, and the recent season ending ACL injury to Ryan Tannehill, do you think he ever lead Miami to a Super Bowl? A.J. “Honestly, I have no idea. He comes and goes in spurts. Dan Marino was one of the best quarterbacks to have ever lived and he didn’t win a ring with the Dolphins, so I don’t know what I think about Tannehill. There are days when I see him play and I think, yeah, he can get it done. Then there are days I think absolutely not. There’s no way. They can never seem to get it together. I think maybe over the next few years if he heals right maybe, but the Dolphins haven’t had a solid quarterback since Marino. So I don’t really know what to think.” R.C. Do you think Ryan Tannehill is the QB to lead Miami to a Super Bowl someday? A.J. “Jury is still out: I don’t honestly know what I think of him 🙂 “ R.C. What are your favorite cities to travel to? A.J. “Miami is all my all-time favorite city in the world. I can’t explain it, but the peace and happiness I feel when I get there, I just feel right at home. My other favorite cities I’ve been to would be: Ibiza, Spain; Interlaken, Switzerland; Rome, Italy and I lived in London for 6 months when I did a study abroad program back in 2005. I am very fortunate to have traveled all over the world.” R.C. What advice would you give to women aspiring to get into modeling? A.J. “My best advice would be to research, research and research. Study photographers that emulate styles and photos that fit your passion. For a brief time, I had wanted to do high fashion and glamour, sexy photography, and I tried to starve myself and stopped working out to get that body type and became miserable. I try to stay away from sexy, nude type pictures as much as possible because it’s just not my style. Follow your heart and do what works for you and DO NOT compare yourself to others. Modeling is a passion and should be enjoyed… I love doing it as a side job and will do it as long as the industry allows me. I wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season!!! Thank you so much for this opportunity!” Special thanks to Ms. Alexis Johnson for her time and assistance during the interview process. All images are used with permission and are the property of their respective owners. Follow Alexis on Instagram at @alexisjohnson6371 and on Facebook here.