Floridian Alex Hilliard Finds New Home, Creative Outlet at Boston University
By Nick Neville
There’s an old adage that states if you want to be a good writer, you must read a lot. Alex Hilliard, Boston University sophomore and journalism major, hears this message loud and clear.
The Coral Springs, Florida native has always been passionate about writing, but has also never shied away from a good book – or magazine for that matter. In fact, when asked about her career goals, Hilliard says she aspires to someday work for an arts and culture magazine or potentially get into art criticism.
Why journalism? It may seem like somewhat of a surprise when both of her parents, Anthony and Genie, graduated from Boston College Law School, but she noted that her parents were critical in helping her decide a career path. Seeing that she took a special interest in writing, they encouraged her at every turn.
“They’re very supportive of me,” Hilliard said. “My parents don’t really push me because I think they were both kind of pushed to do things so they just are letting me do what I truly want.”
Although 19-year-old Hilliard was born and raised in Florida, her father is from Missouri and her mother is from one of the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa. Born Genie DeBarros, Hilliard’s mother spent the first part of her life in this Portuguese colony before moving to America when she was nine years old, becoming the first member of her family to attend college in the United States.
Her parents met at BC Law School, where they became “grad school sweethearts.” After graduation, they moved to Florida where they began a family, first having Alex and then her younger sister Arianna, currently a sophomore in high school.
Despite the fact that both her parents attended BC, Hilliard herself did not have much interest in the school.
“I was looking at it, but I thought it was a little too conservative,” she said. “I liked Boston and I really wanted to be in a city, but I thought New York was too much at the time so I felt that Boston was basically the next step.”
In addition to the city atmosphere that surrounds BU, Hilliard cited the school’s renowned College of Communication as one of the other deciding factors in her decision to come here. She has fit right in, making the most of the great programs BU has to offer journalism students.
She wrote for the blog section of the student newspaper, the Daily Free Press, last year, where she got to cover a myriad of exciting events. She wrote about everything from gallery openings at Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts to current events and politics. Additionally, she is a contributor to BU’s fashion magazine, Off the Cuff.
“I liked that a lot because it’s an actual magazine,” she said. “I did a dorm-style piece on two different people where I went and interviewed them on how their style affected the way they decorated their dorm, and then I did a few trendy things, like one on sneakerheads.”
Hilliard has a number of other outlets through which she showcases her abilities in addition to BU related extracurriculars. Over the summer she interned for New York Minute Magazine, writing two-three articles each week for their entertainment column. She is also a skilled photographer, and has a website dedicated to her collection (cargocollective.com/alexhilliard).
Her talents don’t stop there, though. She was an elite soccer player in her youth, playing on a number of travel teams. She and her sister even named their dog Mia after US women’s national team star Mia Hamm.
Where does she see herself in ten years?
“Definitely in New York,” she said, smiling. “Job-wise I can’t really do anything in Florida, and the heat is too much for me… I’d love to be writing for something like Nylon or New York magazine where its like arts and culture and not one specific thing.”