This just in: Gossip Girl is back online, and like a horses' stampede, I can hear her click-clattering away on her messy keyboard. Or shall I say, based on the original ending, (spoiler) his messykeyboard? Regardless, this new group of private school Upper East Siders, centers around half-sisters Julien (Jordan Alexander) and Zoya (Whitney Peak), a wealthy social media influencer and a middle-class newcomer, respectively. Addressing social media's affects in Generation Z, Gossip Girl arrives back on the interweb to create chaos amongst the group, who've known each other since "they were babies."
With the buzz around nostalgic television series reboots, such as iCarly, The Boondocks, and The Proud Family, it's only natural to find millennials resting at the edge of their seats for what the Gossip Girl revival will have in store. So, until we have the chance to see, it's only fair that we get to know who we're seeing. Or in this case, the most talked about newcomer and lead: Jordan Alexander.
Because we know you'll love her, here are 8 things you should know about Gossip Girl's Jordan Alexander. And remember to watch the season premiere of Gossip Girl, July 8, 2021 on HBO Max.
1.Oh, Canada: Jordan is repping for Toronto.
Despite America's obsessive need to claim someone as our own, rep for Jordan Alexander will have to go a little further up the map. Jordan Alexander is a Canadian actress and singer, born in Vancouver, raised in Toronto, Ontario.
2.Jordan Alexander also has the title of 'singer-songwriter on her resume.
In June 2021, Jordan Alexander released her piano-ballad single "You." In the single, Alexander admonishes herself for not being over her love. Joining the summer of breakup songs, she sings about missing her love and feeling purposeless without their existence.
Her voice is powerful and sultry, as she battles against what her heart wants and what her brain knows she needs. She knows that she will have to get over this relationship, this heartache, but also knows that it will take time to forget the love she once had. With her latest single, "Jordan Alexander creates a colorful expression for the emotional human experience."
3.She performed at Toronto Pride and opened for Kehlani.
Speaking of releasing music, Jordan is no stranger to releasing singles and performing on big stages. Though, "You" is her newest single, it is far from her first. In the last few years, she's done everything from headlining a nationwide Pride campaign for BudLight alongside Carley Rae Jepsen to opening for Kehlani for Toronto Pride 2018 to releasing an album, The Lonely Hearts Club.
4.Jordan's signature shaved head helped her reclaim her identity.
When auditioning in Toronto, Jordan Alexander claims to have seen people who looked exactly like her auditioning for the same roles. Despite being uniquely herself, she found it disturbing that she and so many others fit the same criteria box. As a sign of rebellion, and as an act to reclaim her identity, Jordan shaved her head and has never looked back.
"I think I was just having a moment. I was trying to figure out what I wanted, and one of the things that I didn't want was hair."
5.'Euphoria' was the first time Jordan saw herself reflected in media.
Indifferent to whether it is because of lack of representation or finally understanding herself, Jordan Alexander credits Euphoria for being the first show she found herself in a character. Euphoria's, Rue, played by Zendaya, is a mixed queer girl, who Alexander says she identifies with because she is also mixed and queer. She also believes that Rue is a complex character with a complex storyline that she found inspiring.
6.Her sister discovered she was casted in 'Gossip Girl' long before the announcement.
Jordan Alexander is a middle child, stuck between two sisters Sydnei (older) and Chloe (younger). Alexander names her older sister as her hero, giving her credit for influencing her career and shining within her own field. Her older sister is a nurse, and her younger sister is an "online detective," who managed to discover she was casted in GG before its announcement.
7.Jordan quit acting for a brief period of time.
Shortly after starting her acting career, Jordan Alexander left acting to pursue music. It was under her sister's influence that she continued to act after leaving it behind. She credits her sister, Sydnei, to taking images off her Instagram account and sending it to agencies on her behalf. Due to her sister's encouragement and coercion, Alexander landed a role on the Facebook Watch series, Sacred Lies.
"She's [her sister Sydnei] very much a stage mom. She's always sending me Kris Jenner memes saying, 'you're doing great, sweetie!' She was adamant for the past six years that I try acting, and her persistence broke through...well, not really. I didn't actually do anything, so she took pictures from my Instagram and sent them to agents in Toronto, corresponded with them and then forwarded it to me."
8.Jordan says her grandparents were the hardest for her to come out to.
With her two consecutive performance at Toronto Pride, it is no surprise to discover that Jordan Alexander is a part of the LGBTQ community. While asked who was the hardest person to come out to, the out and proud, queer actress-singer, claims it was her grandparents. Stating:
"I guess, maybe, my grandparents, which is funny because it wasn't hard at all. Because the people who made it hard to come out to, I just didn't, but for some reason it was hard for me with my grandparents, because we are very close. I love my grandparents so much, but they were like 'oh, okay.'"
Featured image by Dia Dipasupil/WireImage
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Taysha Robinson is a writer and high school English teacher, based in metro-Atlanta. A self described philomath, you can find her reading books and articles of every genre, attending educational conferences, and hiking wherever the terrain will allow.
This was first evident more than a decade ago when she quit her job as the corporate executive of a Fortune 500 company during a Periscope livestream. “I’m not sure if there’s an alignment of [our] future trajectory. I’m going to work for myself. I'm promoting myself to work for myself,” she said at the time before flashing a smile at the viewing audience. As she resigned on camera, a constant stream of encouraging messages floated upwards on the screen.
By 2021, she’d fashioned her work as a corporate consultant and her personal life with her husband and three adopted daughters into a reality show, She’s The Boss, for USA Network. This year, she released the New York Times bestselling memoir Nothing Is Missing, written as she was in the process of getting a divorce and dealing with her eldest daughter’s struggles with substance use.
Convinced that there’s no way the 39-year-old has achieved all of this without intentional strategic planning, I asked her about it when we spoke less than a week before Christmas. I’d seen videos on social media of her working on 2024 planning for other brands, and I wanted to know what that looked like following her own year of success.
She listed a number of goals, including ensuring that the projects she takes on in the new year align with her identity “as a Black woman, as an African woman, as a mother, as someone who has lived a [rebuilding] season and is now trying to live boldly and entirely as themselves.” But, I was shocked by how much of her business planning also prioritized rest.
Despite the bestselling book, a self-titled podcast, and working with numerous corporations, Walters said she’s been taking Fridays off. This year, she doesn’t want to work on Mondays, either.
“A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement,” she said, noting that she’ll check in with herself around March to see how successful this plan has been. The goal, Walters said, is to only be working on Tuesdays and Thursdays by sometime in 2025. “It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to have happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change.”
"A lot of us think we work hard until retirement hits. I want to progress towards retirement... It is intentionally building out what I know I would like to happen and not waiting for exhaustion to be the trigger of change."
Walters said the decision to progressively work less was partially in response to her previously held notions about her career, especially as an entrepreneur. “When I first started, I thought burnout was a part of it,” she said. “What I didn’t realize is that even if you’re able to bounce out of burnout or get back to it, there’s a cumulative impact on your body. If you think of your body as a tree and every time you go through burnout, you are taking a hack out of your trunk, yes, that trunk will heal over, and the tree will continue to grow, but it doesn't mean that you don’t have a weakened stem.”
But, the desire for increased rest was also in response to the major shifts that occurred three years ago when she was experiencing major changes in her family and realized her metaphorical tree was “bending all the way over.”
“One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity,” she added. “That is some language that I think is just now starting to really get unpacked.” In recent years, there’s been an increased awareness of achieving balance in life, with Tricia Hersey’s “The Nap Ministry” gaining attention based on the idea that rest, especially for Black women, is a form of resistance. Even online phrases such as “soft life” and “quiet quitting” have hinted at a cultural shift in prioritizing leisure over professional ambition.
"One of the things we have to recognize, especially as Black women, is that there is this engrained, societal, systemic notion that our worth is built around our productivity."
If companies are lining up to consult with Walters about their brands and products, then women have been looking to her for guidance on starting over since she invited them to livestream her resignation 12 years ago. As viewers continue to demand more from content creators in the form of intimate, personal details, Walters has navigated her personal brand with a sense of transparency without oversharing the vulnerable details about her life, especially when it comes to her family.
The entrepreneur said she’d been approached to write a book for several years and was initially convinced she was finally ready to write one about business. “I started to do that, and then I went through my divorce. When that happened, I said, why would I write a book telling people to get the life that I have when I’m not sure about the life that I have,” she said.
Instead, she decided to write Nothing Is Missing and provide a closer look at her life, starting with being born to immigrant Ghanaian parents (“You need to know my childhood to know why I’m passionate about entrepreneurship.”) through the adoption of her three daughters and eventual divorce. Despite her desire to share, however, she said she felt protective of the privacy of her family, including her ex-husband.
When discussing this with me, Walters said she was reminded of a lesson she learned from actress Kerry Washington, who released her own memoir, Thicker Than Water, just a week before Walters’ book release. Washington’s memoir grapples with family secrets, too, specifically the fact that she was conceived using a sperm donor and didn’t learn about it until she was already a successful TV star. While Washington reflects on how the decision and subsequent deception impacted her, she’s also careful to hold space for her parents’ experiences, too. “A lot of things she said was that she had to recognize where she was the supporting character and where she was the main character,” Walter said.
This is something Walter worked to do in Nothing Is Missing when discussing her daughter’s struggles with addiction. “I was very intentional about making sure that I did not reveal more than what was required,” she said. “If I say something about someone’s addiction, I don’t need to go into the list of the substances they used, how they used them, what I found. [I don’t need to] walk into a room and paint a picture of what it looked like for people to understand.”
Walters said some of the most vulnerable moments in the book barely made a ripple once it was released. She was extremely nervous to write about getting an abortion, she said. But no one has asked her about this in the months since the book was released. Instead, people have been more interested in quirkier revelations, such as the fact that she once appeared on Wheel of Fortune.
“I have bared my soul about this thing I went through in my youth that has changed me for people, and people are like, ‘So how heavy was the wheel when you spun it?’” she said, chuckling. “It just goes to show that people never worry about the thing that you worry about.”
With the success of Nothing Is Missing, Walters said she still isn’t planning to release a business book at the moment. But, as she navigates parenting a teenager and two adult children while also navigating a relationship with her new fiancé, Walters said she believes she has at least one or two more books to write about her personal journey. “There is sort of an arc of where my life has gone that I know I’ve got something more to say about this that I think is important, relevant and necessary,” she said.
In just three years, Walters’ life has undergone a major transformation. There’s no telling what the next three years will have in store for her, but it seems likely she’ll retain an inspired audience wherever life takes her.
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Developing a wellness routine is essential to your mental well-being. When we neglect ourselves, that neglect can bleed over into every aspect of our lives. As a wellness founder, for a minute, if I'm honest, I thought I had wellness down to a science. I assumed it would be easy for me to keep up with my routine because I fought so hard to get here. That falling off would be impossible for me until I did, and I realized that healing is, unfortunately, not at all as linear as I thought it would be.
Navigating through the pandemic took me through levels of depression and burnout that I never thought possible, and one day, I looked up and didn't recognize myself in more ways than one. My yoga mat that had once been at the foot of my bed for daily stretching was rolled away into a dark corner. The dust had formed on my gym bag and gua sha tools, and I hadn't seen my massage therapist in over five months. The wellness rituals that I held close became a stranger to me, and I found myself asking, "How did I get here, and more importantly, how do I get back to what feels like home to me?"
Many times I felt ashamed and embarrassed and couldn't put language to the fatigue that I couldn't shake. As a Black woman, especially one that has accomplished some level of success, there's the pressure that you put on yourself, and then there's the pressure from those around you to keep going, to work harder, to keep soaring. I never wanted to do the opposite, but I yearned for solitude.
It's such a strange feeling to be happier than you ever have in your career but simultaneously feel yourself slipping away.
Once I discovered that I had been experiencing cycles of burnout, I knew that I had to take action to pull myself out of the hole I found myself in. If you're struggling to grab hold of your wellness routine, it's still possible for you to apply these practices in order to get back to putting yourself first.
1. Be gentle with yourself.
Give yourself grace and gentleness as you form these good habits again. Ignore the urge to talk down to yourself and harp on what you can't change, as it will not only delay the process of you enjoying the routine again but because it isn't kind. Negative self-talk is the last thing you need; extend gentleness to the part of yourself that needs to step away and welcome her back into your life.
2. Slowly work your way back into your routine.
If you were a 5 a.m. gym girl, perhaps you should head back to the gym on the first day at 7 a.m. and, by the end of the week, work your way up to 5 a.m. Did you have a morning journaling practice for twenty minutes a day? Start back up, taking the pressure off with a five- to 10-minute session. Allowing yourself to start slow gives you a small victory on this journey.
3. Get clear on your goals.
As we change, so do our needs, especially as it relates to wellness and routines, and as a result of that, your routine might need to look different this time around. Sit with yourself and determine your wellness goals - mind, body, and spirit- and then create a game plan. From there, decide what habits you used to enjoy still hold to your needs now, and as time progresses, merge the needs of former you and who you are now together.
4. Create systems of sustainable rest.
Burnout and exhaustion are often so normalized for Black women, so we have to go out of our way to ensure that we are cared for. Often, as a society, we view rest as something that you do when you're tired or overwhelmed in order to refuel and get back to work, but we've had it all wrong, especially when it comes to Black women.
Our rest is crucial because our lives depend on it. Working until we can't go anymore is not the way. As Nap Bishop Tricia Hersley once said, "Rest is resistance." Your rest does not need to be reserved for summer vacation or PTO. Your rest can be a nap, moving and working slower, not feeling the urge to respond to messages and calls immediately, or moving at a slower pace.
Find your way back to yourself, sis. You got this, and I can't wait to see how your life has changed once you begin to prioritize yourself and your wellness again.
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