Landing Her Dream Job in the City She Loves"There’s just so many beautiful and amazing people in this city, and if you open your ears and your eyes and your mouth, you'll definitely meet a new, amazing person every day."
It's rare that you'll find Alexis Tirado wearing earbuds and listening to music on the subway. Instead of tuning out the city around her, she's forever tuning in. "There's always really funny conversations on the cell phone," Tirado says with a hearty laugh. "And I love people-watching. Every single day I see someone that I fall in love with. Like I saw this cute girl in high school with this huge Afro, and she had her nose pierced. She was such a beautiful girl, and I was like, 'I love her. She's amazing!'"
A former online editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Tirado recently scored a dream gig as head blogger for entertainer Alicia Keys' new lifestyle-oriented website, I Am a Super Woman, which is yet to fully launch. "Alicia was kind of sick of all the snarkiness and negativity online and wanted to create a place where women felt empowered," Tirado says. "And there would be everything from legit and eco-friendly products, to nonprofits that are amazing and so inspiring, to ways to ward off negativity on a daily basis. I loved her vision."
Clearly Keys was also enamored with Tirado and what she could contribute as a bright, energetic, plainspoken Latina, choosing Tirado from among 8,500 applicants for the job. "What you see is what you get with me," says Tirado, who endured months of interviews and competitive blogging before being selected. "Sometimes it gets me in trouble. Honestly, for the most part, it doesn't." (Like when she sometimes joins in on those overheard conversations on the train!)
The daughter of a Salvadoran mother and Puerto Rican father, Tirado grew up in the shadow of the city, just six miles away in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. These days she shares an apartment in the East Village with her sister (and best friend), though they have their differences. "She's more shy and laid-back, I'm more the life of the party," Tirado says. "Like I threw a fundraiser earlier this month and raised $5,000 for Gulf Aid. She's more the type of person that will quietly donate money to an organization. I'm like, 'Let's have a party!'"
Not being the kind of person to stand still, Tirado is always doing something around the city, often posting updates about her exploits to her Twitter page and the location-based social media site Foursquare. "One day I might be tutoring a 10th-grader on writing. Another day I'm just going to see Deadmau5 perform at Roseland," she says. "There's so many amazing things going on here that I want to be a part of as much as I can."
And she takes none of it for granted, spending considerable time and energy giving back to people — and encouraging others to do the same. All those freebies she gets from publicists because she's a journalist? She'd rather stuff them into gift bags for a charity event. "So for me, how can you not do that?" she says. "Also, living in New York City, you get so caught up with iPads and Marc Jacobs dresses and all that stuff. I think it's important to stay grounded and stay humble, to give back to someone who needs it more than you."
New Yorkers, she'll tell you, are not as rude and insensitive as people think. She should know. "Just this morning I was bonding with my cashier at Trader Joe's," she says. "He's an artist, and we were talking. There's just so many beautiful and amazing people in this city, and if you open your ears and your eyes and your mouth, you'll definitely meet a new, amazing person every day."
Check out Alexis' New York.