Many of us have imagined it before: being the one chosen to wear the crown in a beauty pageant, major applause and standing ovation for demonstrating your unique talents, or being discovered because you have that special something. Well, it happened to Alesha Renee, former co-host of HotWyred, now on her own as host of BET’s The 5ive. The show gives viewers the chance to submit and vote on their favorite finds of the day. At the urging of loved ones this former student, bound for entertainment law, competed in BET’s “New Faces” contest four years ago beating out some 30,000 hopefuls, and soon after came the ascent into the abyss of career success. Since her win, she has appeared at many star-studded red carpet events, made T.V. appearances on popular programming like 106 and Park, and she’s even graced the cover of King magazine.
Raised, in her words, as an army brat having lived all over, this young T.V. personality (the youngest at the BET network actually) has not always had such shiny moments. Her love life has been rather dim in the past and filled with mental abuse. And just like any black and blue mark, the affects of mental abuse hurt and leave scars as visible as any bump or bruise caused by a closed fist. But with the help of a good friend and a little bit of tough love, Alesha was able to find the strength and courage she needed to get herself away from not one but two mental abusers; a situation many women, including teenagers, find themselves in today. “Unfortunately, in the African American community, there’s a stigma on seeking mental help and seeing a therapist. For me, counseling has really helped me to start to resolve the issues from my youth. Because I was sexually abused as a child, I already had these warped ideas about relationships, love and sex. So when I got into a relationship as a young adult, it was easy for a guy to manipulate me mentally and emotionally.”
“Counseling has really helped me to start to resolve the affects of abuse.”
Though Alesha is happy to share her experience and bring awareness to a problem that’s gaining more and more national attention, she doesn’t dwell in the past. In fact, she’s trekking toward the future in red bottom Christian Louboutin shoes! “What I would like to do is conquer every aspect of the entertainment industry as I can. I would like to get into more acting, Broadway, television shows as well as movies.” And Alesha has what it takes to dominate in all these areas, but what she would like those graduating from college and going into a cold workforce to know is that it’s not just education and resumes that will help you make the cut and really wow potential employers. “When I got the chance to speak with BET executives a few years ago, I asked them what made them pick me, and they said it was my personality. I feel that a lot of times people put personality on the back burner. They just want to be as professional as possible and make sure that the resume is tight. Do all those things, but also be you and let your personality shine.” The network executives made a smart choice!
As beautiful and as stylish as Alesha Renee is, it’s her bubbly personality that’s most infectious I find, and something I would rather have more than that fabulous forest green off-the-shoulder sweater dress she wore to the King magazine 50th issue celebration. Speaking of style Alesha has her own. She has no problem mixing the high end with the low end. “My personal style actually changes and fluctuates. I love sexy garments and I love to dress-up in dresses. But I’ll also throw on some jeans, a wife beater and stilettos and rock out. I don’t believe in spending all my money on labels. Be clear, if you can rock out in Forever 21, Arden B. or bebe or whatever and make it hot, then do that because I know I do.”