By Xan Riley

I am a model. I am a tennis player. But most importantly… I AM ME – A unique human being just like you!

My name is Alexandra, but I go by Xan…my parents came up with it and it’s stuck with me ever since. I feel more like a Xan anyway..a cool, unique, free spirit 🙂

Question of the day- How can somebody be a professional athlete and a model?

Well, for me I believe that you are what you believe you are and I believe we can be successful at more than one thing. When you’re younger there’s a point where your parents usually say pick one activity to stick with, but as you get older you start to see (especially in this day and age) that you can be successful at more than one thing. The key is to be VERSATILE. You have to be able to relate and put yourself in somebody else’s shoes and also be open – willing to always listen, learn, and work hard when you are tired or not in the mood.

To stay motivated you have to absolutely love what you do with your entire being, make sacrifices, and stay focused and that’s just with one career. With two careers you have to sacrifice even more things many personally and socially – I finished high school but decided to not go to college because I wouldn’t have time to go to college and focus on my career so I had to choose between the two and I chose my career which I’ve given my blood, sweat, and tears since I was 10 years old..and which has turned into careers!

People may not think there are many similarities between the life of a professional athlete and a model but quite the contrary! There are soooo many similarities as far as routines, workouts, and feeling comfortable in your skin daily whether it be on the tennis court, on the runway, or just day to day life which I’m excited to share with you! 

The similarities that ive learned from being a professional tennis player and a model are:

-A lot of travel without getting to see much of the cities you’re’s amazing to be able to open up your world to be able to go to places, meet new people and experience new cultures; but on the downside not seeing enough of it.

-A lot of waiting around – before the tennis match as well as backstage before a show/rehearsal.

-Preparation – for modeling you have to prepare by eating well/staying fit and practicing your walk. For tennis you also have to eat well, stay fit, and practice to stay sharp.

-Having to stay on top of being fit – with gym workouts and the importance of proper nutrition – lots of water with lemon, vegetables, fatty acids, & high protein.

-CONFIDENCE – a major key to believing in yourself, your ability, and to have a better chance to accomplish your goals. If you don’t have it you better fake it until you have it. You are powerful and capable of anything…you gotta believe it. (If you need help or advice with this try reading: You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero and my FAVORITE The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. They both have great advice and input and also make you laugh at the same time.)

-The adrenaline you feel right before you walk the runway or step on the court 

-A lot of being on your own – I actually love solitude and learned to be independent which helps being on your own easier

-A lot of being away from home, your family, & friends. It’s not easy being away from familiar places and without any of your family/friends from home…thank god for FaceTime and WhatsApp! Life savers for feeling like home when on the road. .

-Adapting to different situations/ environments. Having to adjust to different time changes, surroundings, people, different food/cultures. 

All in all what I’ve learned first and foremost is that you need to have a thick skin and not let options or judgements of others affect you as a person. Everybody has their opinion good or bad and that’s out of your control and it shouldn’t matter..what matters the most is how YOU feel about yourself. Their opinions don’t pay your bills. We are all strong and have something to offer to the world and our endeavors so you have to believe that inside of you. Even when the world is testing you and things aren’t going your way, try to find a way keep working hard and have a positive attitude..something will always always ALWAYS come out of it and you will be a better version of yourself. 

My advice to survive in this crazy world is:


*definitely surround yourself with good people who are positive/influence you to be better and genuinely want the best for you, laugh a lot, love a lot, spend as much time as possible with friends/family, enjoy each moment, and don’t take everything so seriously!