Ones to Watch: Alexa Mareka
21-year-old Alexa Mareka has spent most of her life dreaming of becoming an actress. Since moving to New York three years ago to attend NYU Tisch School of Arts, she’s checked off some pretty big bucket list items from appearing in big-screen American Eagle Outfitters ad in Times Square to walking in The Break’s 2019 Fall/Winter runway show.
With a string of shorts on her resume and her first full-length project in post-production, Mareka is prepped and ready for her the launch of her career. We talked to the Florida-native about Twilight as a comedy, her hatred of driving, and the relatability of Jo March.
How would you describe yourself to people who don’t know you?
This is honestly always the hardest question to answer, I do like to think I’m a nice and considerate person. I’m always sorta in my head so I guess a little introverted. I think I can also be pretty funny but that could be some type of personal myth I’ve got going on in my head so I don’t think I’m boring to people.
Was there a specific movie that inspired you to become an actor?
I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was 5, so of course, I’m going to say Harry Potter. I remember watching them flying on broomsticks and being really upset I couldn’t do that in the real world. In film, anything is possible which I still find to be my favorite part about movies to this day. Adult me is still kind of bitter over not being able to fly places in my day to day life.
Who are your favorite actors?
Honestly, all the young actresses that have been in the spotlight lately are really blowing me away. But if I’m going to name some like legends to look up to definitely Viola Davis and Amy Adams.
What movie has resonated with you recently?
Little Women for sure, I know everyone is like, “oh wow Jo she really gets it” but it’s true she does!! I’m one of three sisters and I remember how exciting it was to be a kid and play make-believe with them. The bond I have with my sisters is honestly unmatchable, I love them dearly. That movie really hit home. Do I cry a little tiny bit whenever I think hard about it? Yes.
Is there a movie that you know is bad, but you love it anyway?
I’m gonna have to say Twilight, and this is a hot take but, I genuinely love it and could watch it every day for the rest of my life. I actually just watched it again a few days ago. It’s my favorite comedy movie of all time.
You were in two short films in 2018 To Feel Like That and Blackberry Jam. Which of those characters did you resonate with the most?
Lilah in Blackberry Jam for a billion reasons but I think I really felt connected to her in the way her inner mind works and feeling out of place in the environment you’re in.
Could you tell us about the two projects you worked on last year, Out and About and Boogie? How were those different from your past projects?
They were the first feature films I had ever worked on which was huge for me! Working on Boogie was honestly the most terrifying and incredible experience. I was so scared I would blow it my first big boy movie job but it ended up being a really incredible learning experience.
You’re signed with Elite models. How do you think modeling and acting are tied to each other? Which do you like to do more?
I was signed with Elite but now I’m with Muse! I think modeling really helped me find comfort with being in front of a camera and feel comfortable with the vulnerability you feel in front of a camera. But they’re two very different worlds, I never thought they would be until I started going to real auditions and noticed how different they are. I’ve wanted to make movies since I was a kid so that has always been my main goal. I like to think everything else was a blessing that helped me get to this beginning point of the career I want to have forever.
Do you have a dream project? Dream director, cinematographer, co-star etc
I’ve watched a ton of movies this year by really incredible female filmmakers. Alma Har’el, Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang, Mati Diop, Olivia Wilde and I mean the list goes on as they say. I find great excitement in thinking about all the movies I will see one day by women I don’t even know about. Being able to be apart of something that is not only impactful to the world but will also help bring a female filmmaker’s vision to life is the biggest dream I can fathom.
What is a movie/tv show you wish you had been in?
The X-Files. I would do literally anything to be interrogated by Gillian Anderson about some supernatural experience I had and then have her tell me I’m crazy.
If you weren’t acting, what would you be doing?
I would definitely still want to be in film. I do write screenplays in my free time so maybe that or I’m really interested in the casting aspect of this industry. I think it’s really cool to be able to give a story its faces.
People usually tend to gravitate towards LA for pursuing an acting career. What drew you to New York?
Honestly, I hate driving so I could never live in LA full time. I came to New York initially to model and attend NYU Tisch and was like “Oh no one owns cars? Cool, I can totally live here.”
Are there any projects you are working on right now that you are especially excited about?
I just wrapped a role on a TV show which was really fun where I did some stunt work and didn’t end up in the hospital. It’s also “pilot season” so I’ve been doing auditions for TV and streaming. I did work on a short film this summer and another feature recently both of which are in the editing process so I’m very excited to see what happens next!
PHOTOGRAPHER: Sam Keller
PRODUCTION/CREATIVE DIRECTION: JVMP
VIDEOGRAPHER/ P.A.: Christian Johnson
HMU: Jaine Barrett
STYLING ASSISTANT: DeEtta Jain
LOCATION/POST EDIT/ SCANNING: Rush Studios
Stay tuned to Milk for more Ones to Watch.