Meet Alex Consani, the People's Princess

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Miu Miu dress and briefs; Manolo Blahnik shoes courtesy of Albright Fashion Library)

Sucking on a Pineapple Lush Ice vape, Alex Consani says something that will certainly send my chronically online group chat into a mental spiral: "My account has been hacked, girl. If you see me online with the username @BabySharkDooDooDooDooDoo, just know."

It's 10 a.m. on a warm summer morning. It's not sweltering quite yet in New York, but when I arrive at Consani's go-to coffee shop in Brooklyn, she's wearing a slouchy striped sweater, black pants, and a pair of thick-rimmed glasses—a far cry from the lacy minidresses and leather pants she sells on her Depop as a side hustle. She's just come back from a job in Miami, bags still under her eyes. After ordering a round of iced vanilla oat milk lattes, the 20-year-old and I settle into a conversation that turns into a two-hour heart-to-heart. Our time together feels like debriefing with a friend after a raunchy night out because, frankly, it kind of is. Consani has a way of making the most banal of subjects feel like shared secrets between friends. In this edition, she's telling me about the phone hacker in Vietnam who, at the time of our interview, was blackmailing her for her social media account. Thee account, if you will. Viewer discretion is advised.

Of course, I'm talking about Consani's infamous TikTok account, @CaptinCroook, that has made her the face of a generation. She also started a second, more intimate account with the handle @Ms.Mawma. Together, they reach an audience of over three million people, who have seen Consani partake in everything from terrifying the New York City public transit system to completing a "what's in my bag" tour for Marc Jacobs to fighting a Madame Tussauds wax figure of Anne Hathaway. Her comment section is full of the young people you'd find at Dimes Square or in a virtual queue for the Sweat Tour with Charli XCX and Troye Sivan. In front of the camera for most viral moments, you'll find Consani's bleached brows and a miniskirt. In one video, she famously questioned why no one else in New York City was "dressed like a slut." (I'm inclined to agree.)

Alex Consani photo shoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America; Styling: custom shirt; Dion Lee skirt; Manolo Blahnik shoes, Consani's own rings and necklace)

Since her move to the Big Apple in 2020, Consani has catapulted to stardom. Although she had a modest following as the world's youngest signed trans model, nothing compares to what has transpired since. In the past six months, Consani has attended the Academy Awards; walked in over 20 shows, including Ferragamo and Thom Browne; stared in a Rhode beauty campaign with Hailey Bieber and Paloma Elsesser; and broke the internet with her cameo in Charli XCX's It girl–filled "360" music video. Catch your breath yet?

To know Consani is to know she thrives in chaos.

Alex Consani photo shoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America; Styling: custom shirt; Dion Lee skirt; Manolo Blahnik shoes; Consani's own rings and necklace)

"Everyone online is like, 'You're fucking crazy.' But girl, you've never seen crazy. You've never seen Alex Consani in the Bay Area. Like, that's crazy," she explains, taking a pull from her vape, the light flickering between her fingers. Prior to her move, she spent 17 years in California, often being the only trans girl in the room. "It's definitely interesting because now I'm in a space where it's more celebrated—not so much like, 'Oh, this bitch is walking around by herself screaming at the top of her lungs,'" she says.

She goes on a tangent about the escapades she and her best friend get into in the city. In the moment, she looks like any other fresh-faced post-grad transplant who moved here to chase their dreams. Of course, Consani is not like anyone else. We are talking about the people's princess who dresses up in oversize, thrifted sweaters by day and goes out on the Lower East Side in a Diesel miniskirt and David Yurman jewels at night.

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: custom shirt; Alex's own necklace)

Consani grew up in Marin County—a short drive away from San Francisco, which is ubiquitously known as the gay capital of the United States. Her mother took her to a trans youth summer camp when she was growing up, where trans joy and success were the norm. It was the first time she truly felt connected to a community, she explains, and it was on an eight-hour-long drive back at the end of the summer when Consani asked her mom if she could model. Enter Slay Model Management, a small but mighty West Coast–based agency focused on putting trans talent in front of the camera. She signed with the agency at 13 and started scouring the internet with her mom for jobs to build up her résumé. Consani recalls a free gig early in her modeling career where she and her mother drove for hours to do a show in a shawarma shop. You'd think meat juice and miniskirts wouldn't quite mix, but for Consani, those small moments are still reminders of how badly she wanted the life she's living now.

"Having that title [of being the youngest-ever signed trans model] on my chest pushed me to work harder and strive more in my career," she says. "I go to work now, and I'm always reminded of those times when I was doing it for free and doing it with my mom and having to beg her to drive me eight hours, seven hours, five hours—whatever just to be out there."

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: LA Angels shirt; Dion Lee skirt; Acne Studios shoes, Alex's own rings and necklace)

Hearing Consani's origin story, I politely ask about a topic that might get swatted aside by a team of high-profile publicists and agents who are careful about their talent’s best interests: nepo babies.

While '90s-era supermodels were praised for their work ethic and determination to make it to fashion's largest runways from humble beginnings, the scrappy startup stories of the highest-paid models today have been called into question. Whether they come from reality-television royalty or a long line of industry connections, nepo-baby models and their work have been put in the spotlight for us to watch, dissect, and consume. (Lest we forget Vulture's cover story of the A-list phenomenon that went viral at the end of 2022.)

"I think the way that you act and the way that you view your career can separate the internet calling you a nepo baby or recognizing that you fought for your career," Consani says. She admits she's gotten to know a lot of the models the internet has chastised for claiming they worked five times as hard as every other person in the room, but on the flip side, Consani states there's a refreshing air that comes from those same models who do acknowledge their privilege—especially in a line of work that is notorious for being overly glamorized. "If you're going to be talking and working among girls who are in a totally different financial position or societal position as you, you have to recognize that," Consani adds. "I feel like it's a very unique situation and unique to each individual person, but I mean, who knows? Maybe I'll have a nepo baby one day, so let me not talk too much."

One thing is certain. If there is a mini Alex Consani down the line, their mother will have had quite the résumé. A little under a year after moving to New York and signing with IMG, one of the world's top modeling agencies, she booked a coveted spot on Tom Ford's S/S 22 runway. Five full seasons later, she's walked in nearly 80 shows, not including a handful of dedicated campaigns and editorial photo shoots. Her move to the East Coast, by all accounts, was a fruitful decision. While San Francisco was her home for so long, Consani admits that she was tired of feeling unfulfilled by a largely non-trans, upper-echelon community in the Bay Area. It all clicked when she was touring colleges in New York and saw two trans women, one older and the other younger, sitting together and crying on the subway while talking about their stories.

"I had never seen two trans people connect in that way, and it felt so powerful, and it really motivated me to come here and really find it for myself," Consani says, talking about the experience that cemented her decision to commit to Pace University. She'd subsequently drop out shortly into her education to pursue modeling and see the world full-time. "In my mind, I built up a mentality. I'm a Leo. I'm a 'go, go, go' bitch," she adds. Her ascent to fame was written in the stars.

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: LA Angels shirt; Dion Lee skirt; Acne Studios shoes, Alex's own rings and necklace)

If Alex Consani is anything, she's on fire—both as the internet's buzziest Gen Z micro-celebrity and while on set during a warm May morning for our heat-wave-inspired cover shoot. The model showed up in sweltering weather to parade around the Lower East Side in miniskirts and crop tops. It's sexy, a term she and I both land on when we pore over the images together in person. Sexiness is confidence, Consani tells me, referencing her time on set. "[Stylist] Natalie Tauger made sure I was comfortable and confident in everything. It's not as much about what you're wearing. I think it's about being around the people that can uplift you and make you feel seen, especially when you're in front of the camera. It's an energy exchange," she says.

For Consani, there's a level of queerness and transness that has to always be present on set. "Community is finding people you connect with on a level deeper than just words," she says, alluding to the fact that she requested an Avengers-style cast of photographers and stylists who are trans just like her. Frankly, she admits, it's the least she can do with her platform.

"When we talk about community in fashion, for me, that's just representing everyone authentically. It's very obvious if you look at it, but it's easy to get wrapped up in the pussy cunt and miss the fact that there are so many people, especially in my community, who are missing," Consani tells me, calling out the lack of diversity that's so prevalent within the fashion industry. Few Black models, let alone Black trans models, have received the opportunities that their white counterparts have had for years. It's not just in the industry, though. Since the start of her career, Consani has been advocating for safety and equity in the queer community. According to data from Everytown for Gun Safety, from 2017 to 2023, Black trans women were murdered disproportionately compared to non-Black trans and gender-expansive people. There can't be true, equitable, and intersectional diversity, Consani explains, if women are fearing for their lives.

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Coach bra and dress; Versace shoes)

With an election on the horizon, Consani and her community have never been more scrutinized for merely existing. This year alone, over 550 bills rolling back gender-affirming care and equitable conditions for trans people within education, sports, and healthcare have been introduced on both the national and state level, according to the Trans Legislation Tracker. Most of these laws target trans youth, blocking access to medical tools and hormone replacement therapy—a crucial, live-saving practice that helps children across the country reroute puberty. Consani was one of them.

"If you think about things in terms of politics, it's difficult because trans people being present is political. … It shouldn't be, but nowadays, it is. As much change as there is, there's a lot of people who are fearful of that," Consani says. "That's why when we talk about inclusivity, it's always digestible inclusivity. [To some], if you're a minority, that's all you can be. You have to be skinny and Black or skinny and trans or trans and white or trans and trans-passing."

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Vaquera top, garter, and brief; Alexandre Vauthier shoes courtesy of Albright Fashion Library; Alex's own rings)

Consani believes it's crucial for young people to see trans models as beautiful in a country where they're one of the most at-risk communities for teen suicide. "It feels like such an endless battle, and you can't really see the light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of people can't and still don't, and I think it's important to really remember that it goes so much deeper than fashion," she says.

Tides are changing, albeit slowly. Last year, Victoria's Secret staged a reimagined runway show, dubbed the World Tour, featuring an array of young and upcoming talent, most of which represent the millions of Americans who come from marginalized communities. Consani, along with other trans and plus-size models, got her wings for the first time. There's something undeniably powerful about having a young trans woman stand next to established cisgender models who have been heralded as the golden standard of desire, something Consani didn't take lightly. "It's important to recognize we're here and put your foot in the ground and say, 'This is not something that we're gonna step down from,'" she says.

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Vaquera top, garter, and brief; Alexandre Vauthier shoes courtesy of Albright Fashion Library; Alex's own rings)

The floodgates have burst open for a wave of trans models that have begun to take up space within the last decade. Dozens of high-profile, successful dolls are stepping into the light—whether it's Consani or her slew of famous friends like Colin Jones and Richie Shazam. Consani, though, might lead them all because who else has dedicated fan-cams taking over your TikTok feed?

Alex Consani's Rise to Fame: Viral Sensation & Style Icon | Dying to Know | Who What Wear - YouTube Alex Consani's Rise to Fame: Viral Sensation & Style Icon | Dying to Know | Who What Wear - YouTube
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I ask Consani if she's seen the edits of her videos set to Azealia Banks's discography, and her answer is a resounding yes. "It's really funny because it's always the videos that are really crazy and random FlopTok videos," she says with a laugh. "I feel like that's another time where I'm like, 'Damn girl, I made it—when you get next to Trisha Paytas driving in her car at two-times speed like, bitch, I made it.'"

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Acne Studios dress and shoes; Alex's own necklace and rings)

Like most Gen Zers on the app, Consani simply posts what comes to mind. Most of the viral videos you'll see of her screaming on the subway are just short clips that she and her hometown friends will post on the go. She first uploaded her videos directly to her Finsta, but after some coaxing from friends, Consani decided to post to her main account. It's not an act, Consani tells me. She really is just that unhinged in real life, and according to her, it's one of the things that she'll never give up. "I think [TikTok] has shifted into more of my job in some ways, which I really try to stay away from. I don't enjoy getting paid for TikTok, as privileged as that sounds," she admits. "I think that's the one aspect of my life that I can fully control. My videos aren't about anything—I'm just really posting what I think is funny."

In our digital age, parasocial relationships are the new normal. If you open Consani's comment section on any given video, you'll see what I mean: "I need to be friends with her." "In another life, we walked the mile together in PE." "They can never make me hate you." Although she's built a loyal army, Consani says there's a human element that comes into play in separating Alexandra, the celebrity, and Alex, the normal person. "The number of people [who follow me] can never really hit your head unless you see it in person," she says. "For me, as corny as it sounds, I feel like it's not even about that. I'm so blessed that I have people listening to me in the first place."

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Miu Miu dress and briefs; Manolo Blahnik shoes courtesy of Albright Fashion Library)

Consani has modeling and TikTok squarely under her belt, so what's next? She tells me she's taken up acting classes after having starred in a short film called Paradigm Trilogy. In it, she plays a tortured model who shaves her head. Consani says the silver screen is up next for Ms. Mawma's worldwide domination: "I'm trying to get in the coms, the roms, and the yawns, babe."

Fashion, though, will forever be her first love. Consani has built a cult of personality that surrounds her every move, whether it be walking in runway shows or advocating for trans, Black, plus-size, and non-able-bodied models. As she puts it, it's not stopping anytime soon.

Alex Consani photoshoot image for Who What Wear June 2024 issue.

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: Miu Miu dress and briefs; Manolo Blahnik shoes courtesy of Albright Fashion Library)

Despite the diamond necklaces and fabulous clothing, I get the sense that Consani is just a girl with an iPhone camera, and under it all, she is doing all of these things for her younger self. Earlier this year, a grainy video of the then 12-year-old model on set surrounded by older trans women of color went viral. In it, Consani is facing the camera with glitter on her eyelids, proclaiming that her dream is to live in a world where models don't need to be male or female and can simply just be beautiful. By all standards, she's realized her dream. When I ask her about that moment, her eyes grow soft. "To little Alex, I'd say be patient and keep fighting for what you believe in. Don't be persuaded by anyone or anything," she tells me. "If people continue to use their voice and speak up and say what they believe, I can definitely see change happening. At the end of the day, we don't ask for change. We demand change. That's it, period."

Talent: Alex Consani
Photographer:
Emmie America at Saint Luke Artists
Stylist:
Natalie Tauger
Hairstylist:
Ginger Leigh Ryan
Makeup Artist:
Kuma
Manicurist:
Kiera Arneaud
Production Design:
Laura Hugh
Art Director:
Natalia Sztyk
Producer:
Eventure Production
Video Director:
Samuel Schultz
DP:
Sam Miron
First AC:
Mike Ciecierski
Sound:
Jose Gonzalez
Associate Video Producer:
Kellie Scott
Executive Director, Entertainment:
Jessica Baker
Designer:
Ally Quirk
Copy Editor: Jaree Campbell

Alex Consani Who What Wear June 2024 Cover Image

(Image credit: Emmie America. Styling: custom shirt; Dion Lee skirt; Manolo Blahnik shoes)

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Ana Escalante is an award-winning journalist and Gen Z editor whose work ranges from dissecting size inclusivity at fashion week to discussing how American Girl Doll meme accounts are the the answer to society's collective spiral. She's covered it all: Queen Elizabeth II's corgis, Roe v. Wade frontline protests, and the emergence of jorts (or jean shorts for the uninitated). At Who What Wear, Ana is responsible for delivering smart, insightful, personality-driven shopping guides and trend features for a digital-first generation.Before joining Who What Wear, Ana was Glamour magazine's editorial assistant, where she focused on daily news and special packages, including leading the brand's 2022 Met Gala coverage. For more than half a decade, she has covered style, beauty, and digital culture for publications such as Paper magazine, Harper's Bazaar, Vogue Japan, and Allure, among others. Ana has been called a rising star in media by publications such as Nylon and Teen Vogue. (Her mother, meanwhile, calls her "the coolest person" she knows.)