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Where Are They Now: Alexandra Dillard

One of our very own displayed her lovely handbag, along with her passion for the world of fashion, in her debut magazine as editor of Fargo Monthly. In 2018, Alexandra Dillard (then Alexandra Martin), had joined the Spotlight crew as editor of the Fargo Monthly magazine, and with that position came the September issue of the magazine: Who What Wear. We learned about Alexandra, a lover of fashion and soon-to-be of our community as well, and met some of the fashion icons of our city. While Alexandra is not living in Fargo anymore, she’s back to share what she’s been up to since!

Q: You were featured in the September 2018 magazine, as well as debuted then as the newest editor. I’m sure plenty has changed, tell me about it!

A: In July 2020 I got married to my wonderful husband, Keenan. Hence the name change from Martin to Dillard! In fall 2020, I left Fargo and Spotlight to move to Chicago with my husband. His job was moving him to their home office and I was excited to live out my big city dreams (I’ve always been a city girl at heart). Moving far away in the middle of a pandemic was not a cake walk. We came to Chicago knowing no one and I had no job prospects, which was terrifying. This was a time in the pandemic where companies were whittling down their staff, not looking to bring on new people, so I knew I just needed some type of job to tide me over (and pay Chicago rent!) until the world began to return to normalcy. I interviewed at a few places and had a few heartbreaks over what positions I thought I had in the bag and it was an extremely frustrating few months! Finally, in February 2021, I started a role as an administrative assistant at a model and talent agency, 10 MGMT. Admittedly, I had to swallow my pride, as I was going from a director level position in Fargo to an assistant role, but it was at least something! I had dabbled with modeling in college, so this was an industry I was familiar with and I figured I could be making the same paycheck working retail or service industry or I could do this job and at least make some industry connections and have some fun. I soon became the company marketing lead and began training as a junior agent.

It was fun getting to work directly with big name clients (Crate & Barrel, Famous Footwear, Finish Line, Bottega Veneta, Kohls, Rue 21, About Face by Halsey). It was also fulfilling to coach and guide our models in their career. I truly got to work with some talented and wonderful individuals that I consider friends now. But all the while, I knew I missed magazines and was always hungry to see when I could get back to that world.

And sure enough, in December 2021 I started my new role as Editorial Director for Chicago Style Weddings and Atlanta Style Weddings at Nei Turner Media Group. I had initially applied for an Assistant Editor role, but by the time my application was considered, an opening for Director came about and I was interviewed for that role instead. And here I am! We are a biannual publication and my first full issue as editor is being released July 14, complete with a big riverfront party to celebrate. It still feels like I’m living a dream.

Q: What was your inspiration and direction for the September 2018 issue of Fargo Monthly, Who What Wear?

A: The September 2018 issue of Fargo Monthly was my first issue as Editor and I wanted to really infuse myself and my visions into it. I graduated college with a BFA in Fashion Communication, so mixing journalism/ media and fashion has always been my path. Serendipitously, the month I was brought on to the magazine was the month the team had already planned as the fashion issue. I wanted to push myself and do something beyond just a boutique roundup and shopping guide. So as a lifelong lover of storytelling, I came up with the concept of Who What Wear, allowing some of the community’s most artful eyes to share their own fashion stories. We literally stepped into the closets of Fargo’s most fashionable and had them share the stories behind some of their favorite articles of clothing. It was a fun way to showcase the humanity behind our wardrobe choices while also getting to shout out some great local shops and brands!

As for the cover itself, that is something I’ve always been shy about! Hence, covering most of my face in the image. Spotlight’s editorial director at the time, Andrew Jason, suggested that I be on the cover as a way to introduce myself as the new editor, since I was new to the community as well. I kept pushing that idea away, but when none of my other cover suggestions felt like the right fit, it was time for this option to have its moment. I pulled glasses frames from Eyes on Broadway, and the hat and bag from Kitsona so that I’d be somewhat obscured and it wouldn’t be a cover that screams ALEXANDRA. It felt vain for me to put myself on the cover!

My mom had made a framed issue of this magazine cover and I still have it in my office to this day.

“I wore a rainbow sequin jumpsuit from Mint and Basil to the North Dakota International Pageants in January 2020. I had the honor of being one of the judges of the show and I knew I had to wear something worthy of a pageant! Sequins and glitter aren’t typically my go to, but this look made me feel sparkling.”
“If it were more acceptable and accessible, I’d wear western wear all the time. I love cowboy boots, turquoise jewelry, statement belt buckles and any type of cowboy motif. On my visits to New Mexico (my favorite vacation spot), I like to flex this style aesthetic and have some fun!”

Q: In your first editor’s note, you explain your love and passion for fashion. How has that passion changed, developed and followed you throughout the years of your career??

A: My love for fashion and my love for magazines go hand in hand. I grew up in Alabama, so fashion magazines were a place I could go to feel at home and seen. They transported me away from football games and hunting and showed me that, yes, there was a world I understood and could flourish in. I feel that I’ve always owed it to the fashion industry for introducing me to the business of magazines and how special of a medium they are. That being said, I feel my career has always remained what I call fashion adjacent. Not always strictly in fashion, but certainly utilizing my studies of the industry to bring extra perspective into whatever job I’m doing. I think I’ll always find a way to infuse fashion and personal style into whatever career I step into, I can’t help it!

Q: How would you describe your style now, and compared to your style in the fall of 2018?

A: Between the fall of 2018 and now, I’d like to think that my style has gotten more concrete. In 2018 I was fresh out of college and still figuring out who I wanted to be as a young professional. I was taking more risks and trying things out just for the sake of experimentation. Now, I am a bit more of a discerning shopper. I know what I will actually wear and feel confident in versus something that I just think is pretty but really isn’t ME. There are so many fashion trends and styles that I admire and enjoy, but I think I’ve gotten better at being able to appreciate something without having to own it and make it mine.

Specifically, one constant I love is an all-black look. This will forever be my go-to and I love how versatile and chic it is. A French-inspired black turtleneck and a beret is what I could live in forever.

I also love masculine meets feminine structures and silhouettes, like a good blazer or an oversized Oxford shirt. Some iteration of a black leather jacket and black booties will always be in my closet.

“I love vintage and repurposed looks, and this dress is extra special. My mother wore this dress at her wedding day send-off in the 80s. Decades later, I found it in her closet and, what do you know, it fit perfectly. I took it with me to Savannah, G.A. on my husband and I’s minimoon (thanks Covid!) and loved getting to celebrate my marriage in the same dress my mom did. Plus, I think it’s pretty cute!”

Q: Can you describe some of your favorite personal fashion moments or outfits from the past four years?

A: “I wore a rainbow sequin jumpsuit from Mint and Basil to the North Dakota International Pageants in January 2020. I had the honor of being one of the judges of the show and I knew I had to wear something worthy of a pageant! Sequins and glitter aren’t typically my go to, but this look made me feel sparkling.”

“If it were more acceptable and accessible, I’d wear western wear all the time. I love cowboy boots, turquoise jewelry, statement belt buckles and any type of cowboy motif. On my visits to New Mexico (my favorite vacation spot), I like to flex this style aesthetic and have some fun!”

“I love vintage and repurposed looks, and this dress is extra special. My mother wore this dress at her wedding day send-off in the 80s. Decades later, I found it in her closet and, what do you know, it fit perfectly. I took it with me to Savannah, G.A. on my husband and I’s minimoon (thanks Covid!) and loved getting to celebrate my marriage in the same dress my mom did. Plus, I think it’s pretty cute!”

Q: Thinking back from Sept. 2018 to now, what has been your most impactful lesson learned?

A: Always have a backup plan! Putting all of your eggs in one basket can backfire. There have been so many instances where my Plan A didn’t work out and I had to scramble to find a solution. A lot of the time, my pride would get in the way and that would keep me from even considering making a Plan B—I was convinced my big, dreamy Plan A would be perfect. But so many outside contributing factors can change the course of things, so now I’m always trying to prepare at least 2 backup plans. And if I end up not needing them, then I’ll just have some extra work prepared that I can use later!

Q: How do you think your time in Fargo (both as a member of the community, and as Editor of Fargo Monthly), impacted you and your career in the long run?

A: I’m forever grateful for Spotlight and Mike for taking a chance on me when bringing me on as Fargo Monthly editor in 2018. I was a recent college graduate who had only lived in Fargo for 3 months. I knew very little about Fargo, North Dakota, or any of the region at all really. But I did know magazines and media and marketing! Working at Spotlight taught me the reality of working in print media and I’m constantly looking back on my time there with fondness and thankfulness. I learned so much in just my 2 years on staff and I still reference the work we did in my job I’m at now.

While she may be in a different city, Alexandra’s love of the magazine and fashion industries follows her today. Make sure you take a look back on the Who What Wear issue of Fargo Monthly at fargomonthly.com/ archives!

Written by Geneva Nodland

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