1. What is your full name, birthplace, and current job title?
Alessandra Rose Biaggi, Mount Vernon, New York, Candidate for New York State Senate, 34th District
2. What are three words to describe yourself?
Courageous, Kind, Relentless
3. How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who steps up to overcome injustice when it’s inconvenient, uncomfortable, or even dangerous…who did what was right even when it wasn’t popular.
4. What is your purpose in life? What were you put on Earth to do at this stage in your life?
To help and serve others. When I was a little girl, I was gifted with a framed meaning of my name …. It read, “Alessandra, helper and defender of mankind”. It sounds like an episode of freakanomics, but I’ve tried to apply this phrase at almost every stage of my life…in a way it’s served as a guiding principle of meaning especially in moments when I’ve lost my way.
After the 2016 election, that feeling only grew stronger, and although I felt uncertain about where I was headed, I remembered that in times when you feel alone and need community, gather people in togetherness; when you feel a lack of resources, start from where you are, with what you have, and create. And, little by little – I began to do just that. I knew that I couldn’t miss the opportunity to participate in one of the most historically political times of need ever witnessed in our country, so I started to think about the offerings I could give to the community around me.
Today, I am excited to continue honoring this purpose as I run for office because I have the grit and tenacity to represent the voices of the people of my district in Albany. Anyone who knows me knows that when I set my mind on something I GET THE JOB DONE, and I will do the same thing for the people of my district, because I want to make them proud, and no one I’ve met is proud of my opponent.
5. FUCK MARRY KILL – Thai Food, Sushi, Italian
Sushi, Italian, Thai Food
6. Define the word selfcare. How does it play a role in your life?
Selfcare serves as a light post in my life, and as I’ve learned in the past two years, it shows up as saying no more than yes.
In The Hero’s Journey, Joseph Campbell put it perfectly when he said, “If you follow someone else’s way, you are not going to realize your potential”. I have a lot of energy and my practice has taught me that in slowing down I won’t lose that energy, but will be able to direct it towards my aligned purpose so that my actions are a reflection not of the world around me, but of the world inside of me.
Selfcare also means having patience. Something that I struggle with constantly.
7. What’s your SkinOwl regimen morning and night? Feel free to share any “isms” about how you apply the product, when you reach for skinowl, secret tips or tricks for optimal personal benefits.
MORNING, DAY, AND NIGHT. This is not an exaggeration … I carry it in my bag with me wherever I go. When mangosteen was retired … I bought as many bottles as possible to last me for the next two years (this is no exaggeration). However, in purchasing its replacement, I am even more excited about the benefits. Funny fact — sometimes people ask me if I have stock in the company, because I talk about it so much. But really, it’s just that I believe in its effectiveness and want as many people as possible to benefit.
8. If you had to choose an actress to play out your life on film, who would it be?
9. What is something that is missing from the world today?
10. What are three things that you stand up for?
Truth: Radical truth is one of my guiding principles.
11. What is your biggest fear?
Unfulfilled potential. There is a saying, don’t die with the music still inside you, and every time I wonder whether the action is worth the risk, this always comes to mind. The litmus test is usually the following self-inquiry – if I was on my deathbed, would I regret that I didn’t do the thing I was setting out to do? Sometimes the anxiety and fear of taking that next step is paralyzing, but no great triumphs or victories have ever come from being a spectator, and the more that we enter the arena, the more that we discover another layer of ourselves. It is the way to uncode the question, “who am I”? But it is easier said than done – taking that leap of faith is terrifying, but necessary if we are truly committed to discovering our life’s work.
12. Name a time you stood in your own way AND grew from the experience.
I failed the bar exam the first time I took it — but here is the truly awful and painful part — I got a 660 out of 665, which is the equivalent of ONE question. Can you even imagine this? I was at a complete loss for how to move forward. All of my friends were moving on to firms, getting engaged and purchasing their first home, and I was back in my childhood bedroom, trying to figure out what to do.
I didn’t know it yet, but this was the experience that laid the groundwork for how I learned to trust myself, first and foremost, before others. I had to learn to trust that I knew the answer and to not hold such a tight grip on the black letter law. The irony was that the more I let go, the more I retained, the calmer I became, the quicker I answered the questions.
On the day of the second bar, I felt panic, but I also felt an inner calm. By the time the test was over, I had a deep knowing that I passed.
What really matters is that I’ve learned what it takes to persevere, that failure and I are good friends, and that I’ve got the beautiful scars to prove it.
13. What is your wish for the world?
I have two. The first is equality for women – in every sense of that word, and the second is the wish for everyone to have enough so that they can follow their bliss.
To explain the first part of my answer. Here it goes…women have never been proportionally represented where any major decisions are being made, so our needs cannot be adequately represented. Take one second and think about that. The effect of this truth is that at every single table where policy and laws have been or are currently being developed, powerful women, taking a seat at any table (political, medical, journalism, entertainment) have power that is diminished by the sheer number of females in the room. The only way we can change this is by ensuring that more women get to that decision-making table — and in many ways this is a responsibility that we all carry if we want to see a meaningful shift the world around us.
14. What are you career aspirations for 2018?
To win my race for New York State Senate!
15. How has politics influenced your life? What made you want to work in the field?
It sounds dramatic, but sometimes the truth is — there is not an instance I can point to where politics hasn’t influenced my life.
When I was a little girl, I recall walking into our high-rise building one afternoon, passed a room full of people voting. Unclear why they had gathered, I asked, “what are they doing?”, to which my parents replied, “voting for their leaders.”. To which I immediately told my parents, “I want to be a leader”. I had no idea what that meant, but I would soon come to learn.
It should come as no surprise then that it was encouraged, rather than taboo to speak politics at the dinner table, and today, it represents the single most important place where I learned how to negotiate and support my views about policies and current events.
For me, there is no work more meaningful than that of a public servant, and I am quite clear that it is a responsibility to be respected, and not abused. No one person should have so much power that they place all citizens in the State of New York in danger. So I decided to run, because power like that deserves a good dose of truth, and the truth is, people don’t like to be lied to or misled, and I will do better. I understand that the real power is in our shared organic community and that true leaders create other leaders, not followers who are kept small and in the dark. What actually matters is how you empowered others; how you actually made their lives better, not by delivering a cardboard check the size of a car — that is also so 1990, but also how you listened, how you took on their problems as your own. We are quickly realizing that money is not the only currency in politics…our voices are, and no one has the right, no matter the money or the title, to rob anyone of their full potential. It is with this understanding that we transform our politics. Time to clean house.
16. Sing us out. What song describes your life right now?
LOVE this question….didn’t even think twice… Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me”
Especially the lines …
“I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please…”
Anthem of lifetime.