Alani Figueroa - ohheygirl edit and interview
And see her #OHGedit
Please tell us a little about your back ground, where you grew up, what your family life was like and where you have lived
My childhood was spent in Brooklyn until I was 7 years old and my family and I decided to try out a life in Puerto Rico. Living in Puerto Rico was such an experience that I will forever cherish. I learned the language fluently, made so many friends, discovered a love for bike riding and volleyball, and never went a night without playing outside with my neighborhood friends. It was such a tight knit and trusting community. I was always safe. My family and I moved back to New York when I was 9 years old and I’ve been here ever since. Both Puerto Rico and New York have shaped me into the person that I am today. They’re both embedded into me.
What has been your career history, What was the dream?
Growing up, there were two things I always adored. Dancing and getting dressed. I remember being in day care and insisting that my mom let me dress myself and take me shopping with her at all times. At 12 years old, I begged my mom to take me to a dance school that would properly train me. After all, all my dancing was done in after school programs. I wanted more diversity and to learn new styles of dance. She took me to Dance Theatre of Harlem where I spent my first years of professional training. I then moved onto going to a school dedicated to the arts and trained at Alvin Ailey for my entire high school career. After high school I had dreams of getting signed to an agency and getting booked for dream dance jobs. In the midst of this, I now had more time to explore my love for fashion. This exploration evolved much quicker than expected and I now find myself more consumed with the fashion aspect than with the dance aspect. I now spend most of my time collaborating with brands and discovering new ways to reinvent myself.
What do you love about ohheygirl
Ohheygirl is such an amazing brand. The products are so eye catching and unique. There isn’t one item that I own from ohheygirl that doesn’t catch people’s attention. The pieces are so flowy and glamorous. The lack of female representation in the streetwear world continues to be a conversation but ohheygirl really targets the streetwear woman with some added glam. The brand isn’t mainstream and continuously evolves which is something I really love. The fact that it’s ran by two women adds the cherry on top! Lol
What inspired you to become a dancer, did you have a different path planned for yourself previously and how do you juggle fashion and dance?
I’m not quite sure what inspired me to be a dancer. I just remember always loving it and being enticed by it. I definitely had a different path planned out for myself previously. I wanted to become an industry dancer but have steered away from this dream more recently. I’ve been more focused now on “getting dressed”, as I call it. My love for dance will never ever fade. It’s a huge part of my identity. But I am focusing on exploring my “getting dressed” side after all these years of mostly focusing on the dance aspect. Getting dressed is something I truly adore doing. I get excited to throw pieces on and create around them. To pair colors together and create intricate looks. I’m still figuring out how to juggle the two being that they both require a lot of time and focus however, I do try to jump into a dance class whenever I have the time.
What advice would you give to your younger self, or someone starting out on the same career path as you?
My main piece of advice is to follow your heart and find what makes you happy. If it doesn’t make you happy it isn’t for you. Trusting and believing in yourself and the timing of your life can be trying but so very necessary. Patience is key and you must always remain true to who you are. Everyday should be spent on the evolution of yourself. Once you become more in tune with yourself, your life begins to fall in place for you.
Tell me what a typical day looks like for you?
There is no typical day! Lol. Everyday is different. Some days are spent strictly working. Other days are spent in meetings. Others are spent at events. But one thing always remains the same. Getting dressed! Lol. I try to give myself 3 hours to fully get ready in peace. It always starts out with one piece that I want to create around for the day and builds from there.
What are some of the things you love and hate about the industry?
I don’t think there’s anything that I hate about the industry. I do love the culture of the industry. Being around people who truly get it is refreshing. So many people outside of the culture won’t understand why a million people are in line for a drop, per-say, but we get it lol. That’s just one tiny aspect. It just feels like a separate world; and we just get it.
what is your biggest goal as a dancer and influencer?
My biggest goal as a dancer, influencer or wherever I end up is to eventually get to a place and position where I can give back to people and communities in different ways on a bigger scale. Whether it be through donations or pep talks or organizations. The options are endless. But yes, that would be amazing.
Who/What inspires you and why?
Colors inspire me. I always always say this. Colors are my main source of inspiration. There are endless ways to put colors together and so many different ways to play around with them. I love colours.
What would your closest friends say your best and worst habits are?
I just texted my girls for this question. They say my worst habits are attacking people in my sleep, road rage, procrastinating emails and getting annoyed easily :-). Haha. And my best habits are generosity, organization, getting sh*t done and being very loving. Are these even habits? Lol!
How do you define success and how do you measure it?
Personally, the way I would define my success would be through my own happiness. My happiness comes from creativity, helping others, and the evolution of myself. If my creativity is being challenged, I am helping others and I am evolving then I am happy and am successful. Success is evolution. Constantly evolving and growing would make me successful. Sounds a bit cheesy, but is 100% how I feel :-).