Alexandra Grant is profiled this month in British Vogue. She is currently prepping several exhibits, including a show in April at the Marfa Invitational in Texas which is a big deal in the art world. She’ll be showing three pieces “inspired by the myth of Antigone”. Interestingly enough, if we’re looking for modern Greek iterations, she suggests that Greta Thunberg might be the Antigone of our time. Antigone is a mythological model for integrity. Click here to see photos of Alexandra’s canvases for the exhibit that include Antigone’s famous line, “I was born to love, not to hate”. Here’s an article that analyses the work. Not that British Vogue is pretending here that that’s what initially drew them to profile her. And Alexandra’s not pretending either. She is dating Keanu Reeves. What I like about her so much is that she clearly has a sense of humour about it – and isn’t going to waste any time complaining:
“Looking back on the hullabaloo, Grant offers a mix of earnest enthusiasm and deadpan wit. “I think every single person I knew called me in the first week of November, and that’s fascinating,” she says wryly. “But the question I’ve been asking in all of this is: ‘What is the opportunity for good?’”
She gets that people were surprised, that there was a reaction to her + Keanu that may have been a blow to her self-esteem, had it been anyone else. Which is a horribe thing to have to acknowledge, as real as it is, but it speaks to the kind of f-cked up sh-t that’s been normalised: we’ve been conditioned to expect to see male movie stars like Keanu with a certain type of woman (ahem, Leonardo DiCaprio), and Alexandra Grant is not that type of woman. As she puts it:
“I’m a 6ft 1in woman with white hair,” says Grant brightly. “You know, the idea of fitting in… If I wanted to look like Kim Kardashian, I would have to have surgery removing about a foot off my legs.”
The more important words here are “if I wanted to” – and, obviously, she doesn’t. She’s good, don’t worry about her. Because she has agency. And that’s the key to understanding her:
“If there’s one thing I would hope, for anybody who comes into contact with me, it’s that I have agency,” she explains. “I can only say: ‘I’ve given myself permission – have you thought about giving yourself permission?’”
Is it really that surprising then that Keanu is into her? Who wouldn’t be into her?
As for their relationship both personal and professional, she shares a story about how they started their publishing house, X Artists’ Books:
“In 2011, she and Reeves published their first book, Ode to Happiness, a playful guide to climbing out of depression that juxtaposes his poetic text with her drawings. It was an indication that, even then, the two shared a bond. “The book was made as a surprise, by me, for Keanu, as a private gift,” confirms Grant. “All our friends sitting in the room got the giggles when I gave it to him – they said, ‘Please publish it!’ So that’s how we got into publishing.”
So, basically, it’s their version of a mixtape.
For more on Alexandra Grant, check out the full British Vogue profile.