Alexis Ren's Collaboration With ColourPop Marks a Major Change in Her Life
“I felt like I was trying to keep up an image that I didn’t necessarily feel like was me anymore.”
When news dropped that Alexis Ren would be collaborating with ColourPop on a makeup collection, I was equal parts excited and confused. A quick scroll through the model’s Instagram proves that the natural beauty rarely wears makeup, partly because she doesn’t need it and partly because she lives most of her life on the beach in a bikini. But a closer inspection of the collection revealed it’s hardly your run-of-the-mill influencer beauty collab — no rainbow glitter in sight nor any eye products at all. Instead, Alexis’s collection is simple and streamlined: one bronzer and highlighter duo palette, three lip stain shades, and two liquid lipsticks.
“The bronzer was an obvious duh,” Alexis told me, alluding to her year-round sun-kissed glow she’s known for having. “Pretty much the only thing I wear is either a little bit of concealer or a bronzer, and that’s it. And highlighter, of course.”
Even the lip shades, mostly nudes with a few pops of red, made sense the more she explained her thinking behind the products. ColourPop chose Alexis to help introduce their new Blotted Lip formulas, which have a sheer finish that you can wear as a tint on your lips or on your cheeks as a stain. “You know after a long day at the beach, you come home, and your cheeks are flushed, and you look really happy? That’s kind of what I was going for,” she said.
Alexis knows that feeling far too well. Ever since she started modeling full-time at 14, she’s been the poster girl for California beach life. But the now-20-year-old is intentionally heading in a new, slightly surprising direction with her life, look, and career. “I hate being categorized,” Alexis explained. “I’m starting to love the idea of wearing makeup and going out and going to events as opposed to just being barefoot on the beach all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love both. But now I’m just mixing it up.” Alexis added that in the last six months, she’s been trying to shift toward a more “adult” and “sophisticated” aesthetic, and decided a makeup collaboration was her best intro to that world.
If you follow Alexis, it’s obvious she’s has been going through a transitional phase in her life and a reinvention of sorts for the last few months. In October, she dyed her signature blonde hair a dark brown shade, something she says makes her feel more woman-like and sultry.
“It was just this moment where I was like, I want to change,” she said, “I want to grow up. I want to become that woman I’ve aspired to be and going dark just felt right to me. I always associate blonde with sunshine and puppies and happiness, but I don’t think sexiness. You can be sexy blonde, but as far as that dark kind of sexiness with tan skin and tattoos, that to me is another level and where I’m heading actually. I eventually want to try to go black just for fun. I don’t think that people should be confined to any particular aesthetic.”
Alexis credits part of this experimental phase to being 20 years old, the ideal time in her life to try new things, and part to something else a little more complicated. The hair dyeing followed after months of rumors that her famously public, two-year relationship with Jay Alvarrez had ended — months that Alexis says she spent retreating from social media to find herself. “People change and you evolve,” she told me. “I felt like I was trying to keep up an image that I didn’t necessarily feel like was me anymore. I was like, Should I just be with myself? Get off social media for a little bit, understand where I want to go with not even my career but who I am as a person? So I took that route. That’s why I’ve been very picky with my choice of posts and who I want to be on social media. I wanted to show people who I am but first I had to find that. That’s why I’m [collaborating] with ColourPop. It’s the start of what is yet to come with my new essence.”
While Alexis has always shown her sexy side on Instagram and still continues to do so, in addition to that, her recent photos show a more serious, mature side to the model. Because I was wondering this myself, and you might be too, I asked her to explain in her own words what exactly happened to spark this rebranding. “When people in your life have good intentions and then suddenly don’t have good intentions, and you get your heart broken, you have to learn and reflect off of that and ask yourself, Where did I go wrong?” she said. “Like, How did I let myself get treated like that?” The person in question, although not explicitly mentioned by name, is obvious. “I don’t want to go too into detail, but something happened with a person, and it made me be like, Whoa, how did I let this person treat me like that?” she explained. “It really just — I got my heart broken and I was like, OK, wow, I need to just step back and take my power back. So for the last six months, I’ve had to really do a lot of reflecting and a lot of soul-searching.”
Alexis assured me that her social media reinvention won’t have an effect on the tight relationship she has with her followers. Instead, they’ll see a different, more intimate side of her. She shares a story about the night before when she and her friends hung out on a rooftop doing basically nothing, livestreaming it while 20,000 of her fans watched. “I’m not jumping off of anything. I’m not doing extreme sports. I’m just being me,” she said. In case you didn’t catch that, that’s a casual reference to the viral travel YouTube videos that made her and her ex as a couple a thing.
Before the interview ended, I asked her what question she gets asked often by followers, or by people interviewing her, that she’s tired of answering. She laughed before giving her most candid response yet”
“They need to stop asking if me and Jay Alvarrez are together because obviously as you can see from his social media, we’re not,” she said. “That would be a nice question to get over. I’m working on my career now, I’m doing me now, and I’m excited, and that’s something that I don’t want to think about. I want to think about myself! And I’m excited to think about myself, and I’m excited to show people who I am.”