Alexis Ren is heading to the ballroom for Season 27 of Dancing With the Stars, and there might be some of you out there who are wondering why she looks so familiar. Well, if you've ever scrolled through Instagram at least once, you've most likely seen her stunning face. She's a model who got her big break on social media and has been a presence on Instagram for years. And now the 21-year-old is making the big leap to TV, competing for that mirror ball trophy with partner Alan Bernsten.
How did Alexis get her start?
She gained traction on Tumblr and then moved over to Instagram, where her fans followed her. She now has more than 12 million followers on the 'gram. Alexis has more than a million followers on Twitter and more than 600,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel – where she posts videos giving her fans an inside look at her life. From her makeup routine to her fave workouts – she does it all. She even posts classic Q & A vids – where she gets super real and isn't afraid to open up about everything she's going through in her life. She dishes out some advice, too.
Alexis is always so open with her fans.
While Alexis' Instagram feed might make it seem like her life is filled with non-stop beach trips, photo shoots, and walking down runways – she's been very vocal about the hardships she's endured. In 2014 when she was just 17 years old, Alexis lost her mother who passed away from breast cancer. She was super close to her mom, as Alexis was homeschooled. Currently, her two sisters are raising their younger brother.
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Dear mama, Today was the day you said goodbye. I can't believe it's been a year since you passed. it's been the hardest 365 days of my life without your loving voice, but I know you're here with me- maybe not in body but in soul. I love you so much; I'm going to make you proud this year. 1-8-15
Once the star turned 18 years old, she headed to Australia to tackle modeling full time. She said being there helped her learn to cope and live with the grief and heart-wrenching loss.
"You can take a parent’s death one way or another. You could be like, 'Oh my god. I just want to get rid of this pain,' and party or whatever. But I took it as, 'OK, now I’m living for me and my mom. Now I have to live my life to the absolute most,'" she said to Cosmopolitan.
She's also been open about the fact that while she's a huge fan of living that fit and healthy life, she did struggle with an eating disorder in that time she was in Australia.
"I was my worst critic ever. The only sense of relief I had was to be able to monitor my eating and my workouts. It was a vicious cycle where when I did eat, I just felt worse, so I didn't want to eat, and ate less and less and less," she said to Cosmo. "Everyone around me was like, “Alexis, what are you doing?' But I felt like my body was the only reason why people liked me."
It was a scary cycle she had fallen into, but Alexis soon realized she wasn't being healthy. Knowing so many young people look up to her really inspired her to get help. And now she's doing better than she ever has before.
Does Alexis have a boyfriend?
Alexis and her former boyfriend Jay Alvarrez seemed like legit goals from all the videos and pics they posted together during their two-year relationship. Aside from modeling and making music, he too has a huge social media following. They got together when she was living in Australia.
They had a pretty nasty breakup that was dragged out all on social media. Since they got together not long after Alexis loss her mom (and things got serious right away), she later learned that wasn't the best way to start off that relationship.
"I tried to replace [my mom] with another person, which obviously doesn't work out, especially when you're young and you put your faith into a person who has different intentions," she said to Cosmo.
And while this would've bee a match made in social media heaven, Cam and Alexis are just friends. Although, neither of them ever confirmed or denied the dating rumors. Currently, she is happy and in love – as she is dating Sky Bear.
There's more to Alexis than just modeling.
She's been pretty busy, even launched her own collection of fitness wear called REN Active.
"I'm from L.A. and when you work out in the day you usually stay in your workout clothes. So I always liked it where I can go to meetings in my workout clothes and still feel on it and fashionable," she said to Elle. "I really wanted something that could go with me and wherever I go I could take it with me and it could be part of my life and story."
Well, we know we'll be keeping an eye on her DWTS journey this season, that's for sure!