alaia baldwin is forging her own legacy

    one strange vine at a time

    by · March 26, 2015

    Photographed by Atisha Paulson

    In this day and age, where social media reigns supreme and there are over 3.5 billion Google searches per day, having a famous surname has evolved from being a form of social currency to what seems like a quick-pass to fame. Factor in society’s fascination with celebrity children (which we’re totally victims to) and suddenly your “news” feeds are oversaturated with the “next big [insert another famous celeb offspring here].” The seeming exception to the rule? Alaia Baldwin.

    Yes, the 22-year-old has thousands of followers on Twitter and Vine and may be a model “on da low” (which, no, is not an industry term), but she’s doing it all while flying under the radar, but maybe not for long. With a refreshing perspective on body image, a super-cool demeanor, and a strange, fresh outlook on life, we have a sneaking suspicion that big things are in store for Alaia. Whether that means she’ll become the industry’s next It girl model like her sister Hailey and cousin Ireland, or if she’ll take up acting like her father Stephen or uncle Alec, we’re not sure—we’ll just sit back, “wine til’ we die,” and watch.

    Click through the gallery to read more about Alaia.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    How did your modeling career start?I started becoming interested in modeling when I was 19, but it kind of took some time to be able to pursue it. I just had contacted some agencies and tried to get it all together. I began and took some time off for personal reasons. So now this past month, I’m starting to get back into it. It’s always been something that’s interested me for a long time, but when you’re in school and you have all your stuff to do for college, I didn’t really have the time. But I’ve always been interested in fashion and clothes and makeup, and I enjoy the creative side of it. If there’s a really cool, intense editorial and you have to get into the character. I prefer things that are a bit darker and edgier; that’s really interesting to me. And when you have a team come together and click and get it, it’s really cool. What did you study?I’ve always been interested in nutrition and health, so right now I’m in a nutrition program that’s based off Chinese medicine and macrobiotics. I’ve gone through a lot of health problems, and I’ve done every diet possible, but it’s only been recently that I kind of have begun to understand what an overall balanced lifestyle means, instead of being so extreme in prepping for a shoot or an event, and having to go to extremes to look a certain way. But when you focus on overall health, that’s when you feel and look the best. To me, that’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    What are your thoughts on the super-skinny mentality that seems to dominate the modeling industry?I’ve always been super active and I danced my whole life and my mom has always been really into organic food, but not diets; she was like, “Eat what you want, but be healthy.” When I started modeling, I went on a really extreme diet and worked out a lot every day and I was really restricted in my eating options. I started lifting weights for the first time, and it was probably the most extreme I’ve been ever. And I gained like 10 to 15 pounds. I was like, This is crazy, what is happening ? I [developed] other health problems. I realized I couldn’t be so extreme because it was lowering my immune system. I was sick every day.

    I finally really began to understand what works with my body recently. For me, it was important to take a step back and to stop focusing on the exterior and focus on the interior. And then I got the results in every way—on the outside and the inside—that I had wanted for a while.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    You said that you like how modeling allows you to take on a different character. Obviously you come from a family of great actors—has anyone in your family given you any advice on how to emulate different emotions and personalities?There are a lot of different techniques within my family–everybody has something that works for them. My dad and I have always spoken about acting in general, like I’m going to start a class or whatever, and we’ve gone back and forth bantering about what kind of class I need. It’s pretty confusing when you look at all the different methods and the instructors–it’s very overwhelming, and I think everyone’s different. I grew up dancing and the best part of that was being able to play a character and turning on a song and getting really lost in the music. When I started modeling, I realized it’s different, but it’s similar in that you have to use expression in your face. I had a lot of technical difficulties so I had to compensate, especially when I first started—I was terrible. I had to compensate for my lacking in physical attributes with my performance ability. Eventually, I got a lot better, but for me, the performance part and the acting part were my favorite parts. So I brought that into modeling, too.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    It seems like you and your cousins are all so close. You guys are all doing your own thing and becoming successful at this point. How has it been to have those people who are experiencing the same things as you? Do you go to each other for advice? What is the dynamic there?Yeah, we definitely all get along great. I have Ireland who is like my sister, and Hailey whois my sister. I think we’ve all had our own paths and learned a lot, and then had certain situations where X, Y, and Z happened, and we can just come together and be like, “This happened,” or, “I hear you’re going through this. I went through the same thing and this is what I learned and this is what I got from it and here is my advice.” So that’s how it is. I think we also really understand each other because this is something we all do, but each of us has different sides that we enjoy, so we always have deep conversations. It’s not just surface-y. We all look completely different. My sister and I don’t really look related at all so we never really had issues being competitive or anything because we looked so different. If we looked similar and she was booking something and I wasn’t, I think it would be a much bigger issue. But we look so different that it’s no questions asked. The biggest lesson for me is that everything happens for a reason—every struggle, every triumph. We’ve all been through some stuff and it’s all about timing too. When the timing is right, that’s when it’s all going to work out.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    What’s your favorite Baldwin movie of all time?I have to say Bio-Dome with my dad. I tell everyone that isn’t acting–it’s literally my dad in real life. I mean, minus the drugs now; he’s been sober since he was like 21. But the way he just carried himself in that movie, he’s always really goofy and really silly. So that one and then also, The Flintstones too. I cry every time laughing because I was six when he filmed that, and we all moved with him to wherever he was filming—I think it was California–and it was like a dream come true, being on the set. The entire set was completely constructed and there was the casino, the giant octopus thing. And when you’re this little 6-year-old, it’s like the wildest thing that’s ever happened to you. I have a lot of memories attached to that, like the making of it. And in that one too, he’s just really silly in a much more childish way. He’s always been super young at heart. I actually watched Bio-Dome the other night.It’s so hysterical! I think those are the only two movies I’ve seen with my dad–not on purpose, just like okay. And I watched it probably two years ago. And every time he would get stopped, like someone introducing themselves to him, it was always Bio-Dome or Usual Suspects. And I was like, “I need to watch this,” because it would always be young kids in their teens and in their 20s. And I was 15 years old, and I’m thinking why is this 18-year-old telling my dad he’s cool? Like, “Ew he’s my dad.” So I watched it, and I was like, “Okay I get it.”

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    Let’s talk social media. You’ve said that food selfies are your favorite selfies.Yeah, I kind of got in trouble for a while because they were like, Your Instagram is too all over the place–it’s not serious. You need to post more selfies of you being pretty or being a girl, and I was like, “Uggh, okay.“Who said that?Agents and stuff. I mean, I get it. Social media is a really strong tool in the industry. So now I kind of switch it up—I put some serious things with some fun things. I feel like it’s a platform to be yourself. I get annoyed when I go to people’s Instagrams and it’s just their faces and duck lips in every single photo. I’m just like, “You’re lame, bye.”

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    Your Twitter is super funny. And your vine. My Vine is like my life! I was like, “I hope one day I get recognized for my Vine.” Instagram, there are a lot of profiles that don’t show a lot of personality but have a lot of followers. Vine is the complete opposite. It’s just you being weird. My friend Sailor, who is Christie Brinkley’s daughter, she’s 16, but she’s like my other sister. She’s like the same as me, really weird and whatever. So our Vines–we just cry to each other laughing all the time. It’s a lot to handle. For Twitter, I have to be in a hyper-focused mood. It’s not something I keep up with, and one day, I’ll have all these thoughts in my head–it’s a Twitter day.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    Do you have tips on how to be forthcoming with these really strange thoughts in your head on social media?Everyone’s different. I don’t like seeing vines or whatever where people seem like they’re really trying to be weird. If you’re not really outwardly weird, it’s fine. You don’t have to try to be Ali Michael if you’re not, you know? Just be yourself, I guess. And I don’t really care what other people think. People say like, “Ew, you’re a freak,” and I’m just like, “Cool.” You can’t be too concerned with what other people think. That comes through very easily too. It reads on camera and in photos. So I would say just being yourself and not caring, but also not trying to imitate someone else. That’s still not you.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    You tweeted that Fifty Shades of Grey is really problematic. Can you elaborate on what exactly you find concerning about the series?I never read the books, so I can’t really connect with the characters or the story as someone who’s read it—it’s probably more exciting. But from what I saw, it just was dull overall, and I felt like there wasn’t that much of a sexual connection. Even though I was trying to get into it, it was just kind of stagnant. And the last scene was really crazy. It’s wild. Sailor and I just walked out of the theater so confused. My brain just did not process anything.

    Photo by Atisha Paulson

    If you could grab a meal or drink with anyone, what meal or drink would it be, and who would it be with?I have been going through serious marathons of Parks and Rec, so it would probably have to be Amy Poehler. And we’d have to eat something wild. It would have to be an experience. Maybe even like a Japanese restaurant, but you would sit on the floor and eat with your hands. Maybe one of those sushi places with the carousel but you’d be sitting on the floor with no shoes.

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    Last updated: 2015-03-26T17:07:07-04:00
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