“It Was Time to Do Something Uncomfortable”: A Former M.M. Stylist’s Unexpected Career Journey
Elecia Allen is risk-averse by nature—but she quit her job and moved across the country to follow her passion anyway.
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Elecia hasn’t always been in the film industry. In fact, some of you might recognize her name for a different reason; for her first job out of college, Elecia worked as an M.M.LaFleur stylist. Often, the most rewarding careers are ones that don’t follow a conventional path, and Elecia’s journey is proof that pursuing your passions—even when it’s uncomfortable—is worth the risk. Below, she shares how she went from M.M. stylist to filmmaker, her tips for networking as an introvert, and why it’s important to talk about grief through art.
When M.M. started making plus sizes, I really enjoyed working on that project. And when I got to Fabletics, I told them, ‘I like working with plus-sized customers, and our plus sizes should be better.’ And they were like, ‘Alright, lead the project.’ We ended up completely turning around plus size at Fabletics—it was like a 180.
I love talking to people. I love asking them the right questions and seeing them get excited and be honest. That customer insights background has been really helpful as I’ve pivoted over to film, because everything I do, I always have my target audience in mind. What are they looking for? What do they want to hear and see? Of course, I have my own ideas about what I want to create, but I’m always thinking, what kind of impact is this going to have on the people I share it with?”
I saved up $15,000, and I moved home to Atlanta where Alahna is and where I wouldn’t have to deal with rent. I broke up with my boyfriend. And in September of 2021, I finally quit my job. Within a couple of months, we were writing the film. It was a lot of change back to back—I also cut off all my hair, after 10 years of having a very specific haircut.
I’m risk averse, but knew that all of this change needed to happen. It wasn’t until I turned 27 that I finally realized I had lived comfortably for such a long time, and it was time to do something uncomfortable. I haven’t regretted any of it.”
What’s also been helpful is that the Atlanta indie film industry is amazing. Everyone wants to help everyone, and no one has an ego. In LA or New York, if you’re not already big in your industry, they don’t want to talk to you. In Atlanta, everyone wants to learn what you’re doing. They’ll say, ‘This is your first time? Amazing. I’m so proud of you. How can I help?’ I’ve had people I just met say, ‘Let’s trade services for services. I can let you borrow my camera if you’ll help me with this or that.’ There is no gatekeeping.
Being an introvert, I don’t usually like networking or talking to strangers. But what’s been helpful for me is meeting friends of friends. I know my friends are good people, and I know they keep good people around them, so I’m naturally comfortable. By leaning on my friends, I’ve realized that I have a much larger network with more connections than I ever knew about. I had no idea until I just asked.”
It’s actually easy to inspire people—it’s just about getting out of your comfort zone and talking about it. It’s hard for introverts to be open, but it’s definitely worth it to talk about what you’re passionate about. And when you do open up, you’re going to find someone else who’s equally passionate and wants to help you.”
I’m going to feature a lot of the music in the film—I actually talked to the band, and they agreed to allow me to use it for free. The vocalist is so gung ho about it—he’s like, ‘It’s crazy that my writing about something that’s personal to me can have such an impact on people.’ I’m excited for other people to hear the album how I heard it.
Grief is so isolating. It makes you want to go inside of yourself to avoid burdening people with your emotions. But I’ve found that sharing my experiences is so much more healing than trying to figure everything out on my own. I want people to learn from my experience. I want to use my art to help other people heal.”