Alexa Gesyer is a philanthropist, model, and brand ambassador who has raised over $50,000 for The Thirst Project. Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge spoke to Alexa to learn more about her remarkable achievements and what drives her.
Q: You’ve been heavily involved with The Thirst Project since the age of 9. What first drew you to this project and this cause?
A: I saw that I was the same age as those girls giving up their lives to carry water for their families. That was the impactful moment where it was totally relatable to me as a young girl, and the realisation that other people struggled with this while I’d lived a fairly sheltered life from that kind of struggle.
Q: Since that time, you have raised over $50,000 for 7 wells. How rewarding is it to see your work is already having such a big impact?
A: When I look at the number of people still in need of clean water, I recognise that there is still much work to do. While our impact is great on those we have helped, and we get to see that reward through the videos that Thirst provides of each well drilled, when you look at the big picture, we just have to keep working.
It does feel good to make a difference, and I feel fortunate to take a bit of time to celebrate that.
Q: I saw you were recently at the first Thirst Legacy Summit. How was that experience and what have you taken away from it?
A: It was truly inspiring to be included, and Thirst put so much thought into how to be inclusive and make this fun and rewarding for those who participated. Being there enabled us to focus on how much good we can do as a group when we come together in a positive environment and I try to take away that positivity in the face of so much continuous bad news in the media.
Because I have been home schooled most of my life, and have never had a high school type experience, this was a totally new environment for me and I was pretty nervous participating. Since I’m 14 and was one of the youngest people there – most were 17-20 – I didn’t expect to connect so deeply and make friends that I hope to be with for years to come and maybe even team up with in the coming months to more fundraising for Thirst.
Q: When I was your age, I was wrapped up in playing sports and video games. What drives you to achieve the things you have at such a young age?
A: I never was very good at sports, and fundraising was something I connected with. I definitely feel much better about myself at the end of a day in which I have done something to help others, but just to be clear, that is not every day. I do spend days just scrolling on Instagram and binge watching Netflix.
What drives me is the impact I hope to make and feeling accomplished when a plan to raise money actually works out.
Q: As well as your incredible charity work, you are also an up and coming model who has worked with top industry professionals such as Marcelo Cantu. What do you enjoy about modeling and the lifestyle that comes with it?
A: I wouldn’t say I’m an accomplished model, I’m just starting out and I haven’t had much modeling “lifestyle”. However, I love the clothes, and the make up and beauty aspects of modeling make it fun and so different from an average day. Working with Marcelo was amazing, because he has this vision for how to make you better as a model and he’s incredibly sweet and patient.
Q: What is next for you? Any plans or ambitions to share with us?
A: Marcelo, his brother Mauricio, and I are working on an art installation concept for charity now that should be fun and different from anything you’ve ever seen.
The Legacy Summit has also inspired me even more to focus and raise money for more Thirst projects in the next few months. The Thirst Project has a gala every year that is open to everyone, and showcases all that Thirst does throughout the year in so many countries and in so many ways. This year’s gala will be September 28, 2019 and will be held in Los Angeles. The event is inspirational and one of my favourite days of the year, so I’m really looking forward to it.
Lastly, thanks for taking the time to listen to me and to cast light on what I’m doing.
Title image by Marcelo Cantu