It’s Saturday night at the latest place to be in Morocco and the crowd of thousands never stops moving. An irrepressible mix of music and beat incites cheers and even more frenetic dancing. Last week at a similar club in Zurich the same thing occurred. And the week before that in Dubai—it happened again.
The truth is—it happens in every city that this now world sought after DJ spins.
But if you’re looking for the guy with the sagging pants, half-cocked snapback and Beatsbydre headphones half on—you’re looking for the wrong guy.
That’s because this DJ is a runway fabulous, sublimely beautiful woman who goes by Alex Merrell—her real name.
“I chose to just be myself—in how I dress, and in what I go by. Alex is my name,” she laughed and told Imagista. “Everyone just assumed Alex was a guy. I let them. Then I’d walk into the room.”
The contrast hits you immediately: her delicate beauty and body, the stuff of Vogue; yet supreme command of her audience by means of sound and volume far larger than she.
“It’s very personal—what I do,” the DJ said pensively, unphased by her fame. “I feel more like I’m scoring my life, as well as scoring someone else’s perfect night. I’m a curator like that, really.”
Alex Merrell was raised in Vancouver, Paris, and New York. She reminisces about the way her creativity was always encouraged by her equally creative parents—who were successful in everything from advertising to classical French tapestry. In 2007, she moved to Los Angeles to work in the music industry. In the summer of 2008 she bought her very first DJ setup and soon after met DJ Mark Luv (The Pharcyde), who became her mentor. It only took a few months for her to go from playing local hotspots around LA to being recognized by the media to opening for world renowned DJs AM and Skribble—something that propelled her to take part in the closing ceremonies when her hometown hosted The Olympics.
She’s been living on a plane ever since, sharing her passion for music across the globe.
“I do play across the globe,” Alex told us, “but for me it’s not just playing, it’s about creating an experience. It’s sharing my fairytale. Thing is, I hear my world more than I see it. When I’m in a car, a café, or even a home—I hear before I see. I’m always asking, ‘What do you have playing?’ Of course, it’s visual as well; because music is so audible for me, it’s become the soundtrack to my life—and it’s that soundtrack, to me almost a fairytale, that I want to share with you.”
Indeed, no matter what city Alex Merrell entertains, the music mixes are as eclectic as any walk through New York, LA, Paris, or Vancouver: Iggy Pop, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, and Bridgett Bardot are a mere taste of the amalgam of genres this alchemist of sound and experience will weave together
“I’m inspired by exploring big cities—not by sitting at my turntable pondering what I’ll play in Zurich or New York. As I explore, I begin to hear a soundtrack in my head. I look around and wonder if the girl I see walking down 5th Avenue would dance to it—if she will, I’ll play it.”
Mask, Alex’s own.
Black mesh top and black leather shorts by SkinGraft.
Gold leather dress by Roomeur. Gold disk necklace and Cuffs by RJ Graziano.
Gold disk necklace and cuffs by RJ Graziano.
White wrap dress by Amelia Toro. Medallion necklace and gold multi disk necklace by RJ Graziano. Safety pin necklace by Chris Habana. Scorpione Ring and Violento Bracelet by Basile & Pape. Shoes by Cesare Paciotti.
White wrap dress- Amelia Toro. Medallion necklace- RJ Graziano. Safety pin necklace- Chris Habana. Scorpione Ring- Basile & Pape.
Sheer printed dress by Amelia Toro. Mixed florescent necklace by Chris Habana. Faux quill necklace by RJ Graziano.
Jeweled corset dress by The Blonds.
Jeweled corset dress by The Blonds. Gianna Cuff by Basile & Pape.
White shoulder dress with black hem by Lauren Bagliore. Medaglione Viola necklace by Basile & Pape. Gold multi disk necklace by RJ Graziano.
Black peasant top by Amelia Toro. White pleated top- (worn as skirt) by STIJLUS. Shoes by Cesare Paciotti. Necklace by Chris Habana. Cuffs by RJ Graziano.
Black peasant top by Amelia Toro. White pleated top (worn as skirt) by STIJLUS. Necklace by Chris Habana. Cuffs by RJ Graziano.
Blue fur jacket by The Blonds. Black pant by Amelia Toro.
Red cut-out dress by Erin Barr. Olive Oyramide Necklace by Basile & Pape. Ring by Basile & Pape.