While most teenagers are still trying to work out what it is they want to do with the rest of their lives, Alexa Friedman has been on her first of two career paths for several years, and recently embarked on a second. Perhaps best known for her roles such as the lead in the film Sarah Smile, the fourteen year old has now launched a music career, with her current single “Meant To Be” offering help and support to the many victims of bullying. TITL caught up with Alexa to chat favourite songs, social media and her involvement with the Make A Wish Foundation.
TITL: Please sum yourself up in three words for me.
Alexa Friedman: Believe in Dreams.
TITL: You’ve been in the spotlight now for several years and you’re still just a teenager. Being so young, how do you handle the pressures of Hollywood and fame?
AF: It can definitely get difficult sometimes. Kids at my school don’t really understand what I do or why I do it. I have been doing this since I was 5, so I guess I have just grown up to get used to it. School is my number one priority.
TITL: You’re perhaps best known as an actress and for your roles in projects such as Sarah Smile, so why did you decide that now was the right time for you to branch out into music?
AF: I love trying new things. I have been singing my whole life, but never taken it as a serious career choice for myself. I have always looked up to people who could easily perform on stage without even a second thought. I started singing as a confidence booster, to get used to being on stage and to go into more of the entertainment industry. I then met Estani Frizzell and my whole image changed. She helped me become who I am today and I wouldn’t be here without her.
TITL: Whose musical styles and influences would you say you’re most inspired by when it comes to creating and writing your own material?
AF: I love Taylor Swift’s style of music, but I also love Selena Gomez and her music. I love how they are both so attached to their followers and fans. They are a huge inspiration to me and I hope to be like them someday.
TITL: Tell me a little about your latest single “Meant To Be.” Is there a story behind it or is it written for/to anyone in particular?
AF: The song was written for me…it is very deep and personal to me. I have been severely bullied and still am today. Many people don’t understand what it is like to be told to give up, that you’ll never be anything. This song was made to show the people that they will not get to me, that they never will. I want this song to help someone who needs it. Even if it only helps one person, it’s all worth it.
TITL: In your opinion, which is the greatest song ever written and why? Which song always makes you feel good and which one can always make you cry?
AF: “Sorry Not Sorry” – the no swearing version – by Demi Lovato is an amazing song that can inspire anyone who has been told they are not valued. I tend to not listen to sad songs because I love staying strong and positive. Even if a song is sad, I try to find the beauty and message of the song. If song was about someone who was hurt, in writing that song, I know that it helped the writer, or whoever the song was about.
TITL: What impact would you say social media has had on your careers and how do you find using platforms such as Twitter and YouTube in both personal and professional terms?
AF: Social media platforms have made a huge impact on my career. It allows me to reach out to my followers and feel a personal connection with them. I want people to see the real me, not always the singer and actor. YouTube allows my music to reach around the globe. It’s really neat when I get comments from other parts of the world saying they love my songs and the messages. It makes me feel like I’m making a difference, even in the smallest of ways.
TITL: What do you most like to do with any down-time you get? Are there any particular places you like to vacation or are you more of a ‘stay at home, Netflix and chill’ kind of girl?
AF: I love to hang out with my friends. Shopping is a personal favorite of mine, but I also love staying home in my PJ’s and watch “Stranger Things” on repeat. My favorite place to visit is LA! It is definitely my second home, but my first choice to get away to. Oh yeah…playing with my dog Cinnamon is always a blast. She has tons of energy.
TITL: How did you get involved with the Make A Wish Foundation and what is it about the charity that means so much to you?
AF: Make a Wish has been a part of my life since I was 7. I started a lemonade stand one day and made over $200. I knew I didn’t need the money so I asked my mom to search local charities because I wanted to give them the money. She read me a list and what they did. Make a Wish really hit me in my heart. I instantly knew that’s where I wanted to go and we drove there the next day. I wish more people dedicated their time to charity because we have so much to give. Unfortunately, because of my age, it does limit me on how much I can physically do. So, for now I just make financial donations. Once I’m 18, I can volunteer my time to make a larger impact. Why do some get opportunities and others don’t? Make A Wish has tried to change that.
TITL: With two growing careers already established, are there any other dreams or ambitions you want to fulfil? What’s currently on your bucket list?
AF: I am currently a finalist for Miss Teen New York. I hope to win and become a representative for New York in the Miss Teen USA pageants. I feel that I want to inspire young girls and boys to understand that they are not alone. Many people have family and life struggles. It takes connecting with the right people to overcome those issues. I want to bring light to bullying and cyber-bullying as they have affected a huge part of my life.
TITL: Finally then, what advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps and pursue a career in film and/or music? Is there any advice you’ve been given over the years that you tend to think back on?
AF: Do it! I believe anyone can do anything they put their minds to. If I can do it, anyone can. My favorite saying I always say is “Practice makes progress, because no one is perfect” So practice! Start in your community. Family is your biggest support group because they love you unconditionally. I believe in you! Don’t let others get in your head. It’s not an easy road. There are days that the rejection can really get to you. I wanted to quit a few years back because I wasn’t growing. My parents told me to keep trying and to not give up that easily. I trusted them and they were right. Without them I wouldn’t be here. So, listen to your family…they know what’s best for you!
Check out the video for “Meant To Be” below and to keep up to date with Alexa, you can follow her on Twitter. Header photo credit: Nirvana Studios Hollywood.