Standing Ovation for Motivation
Nearly 400 student leaders from clubs and organizations crammed into the Ragan
Theater for Leadership Day to listen to keynote speaker, Alexis Jones. Using colorful
expressions, telling silly stories, and offering valuable advice, Jones captivated the
audience from the moment she walked onto stage.
Dressed in skinny jeans, a loose, button-down shirt, and her hair pulled back, she invited
the audience to have a conversation with her and asked to allow her to be vulnerable.
Jones guided the audience through various trials of her life and explained that in high
school, she wanted to attend the University of Southern California, a private university.
Though when her father told her he could not afford the school’s tuition, she was
She said it was her mother who then reminded her, “All your father said is that we can’t
make your dreams come true. He never said you can’t.”
With a her goal in sight, Jones decided to devote herself to getting good grades,
eventually receiving an acceptance letter to USC with a scholarship. She explained to the
crowd that she had to build up her confidence to achieve that goal.
“Confidence is something that you earn every second of everyday, and every action and
every choice that you make,” said Jones.
After attending USC, she hosted a tv show on the red carpet and dated a “hot guy.” Jones
reached her breaking point when a fellow female student stated that she would give
anything to have the perfect life that Jones had.
“I remember in that moment cracking, because I have never felt like such a fraud in my
entire life,” said Jones. “I remember calling my mother, this woman who continues to be
the rock in my life, and somehow breathes truth to me every time I have these epic fails.”
Jones explained that her mother told her that she was living a life of consumption, not a
life of contribution. Her mother reminded her if she lived a life for others, Jones would
find a sense of joy, contentment, and confidence.
After participating the play, The Vagina Monologues, at USC, she said that she finally
felt like she was discussing things that mattered, such as genital mutilation in Africa,
Saudi Arabian girls treated as second class citizens, and sex trafficking.
Jones went back to her sorority and talked with six girls about important issues for one
hour each week. Six meetings later they had over 374 attendees, including some men.
She later called her mother and explained that she had a vision for the 21st Century
Human Movement. “This is men and women coming together to be brave enough to be
vulnerable and to say that we’re hurting, we’re scared, we’re insecure, but in spite of that
we want to do something,” Jones said.
While in graduate school, Jones approached a professor to pitch her master plan of
getting onto reality TV show, Survivor, to help promote the brand of the company she
was about to launch. “Why can’t we exploit fame for the same reason fame exploits
people? But, play the game and play it better,” said Jones.
Through a friend, Jones got the address to the network production studios and met several
CBS producers. The producers automatically knew that Jones was not one of the people
that they had called back for Survivor. After some quick thinking, Jones was selected to
be on the show.
Soon after, she met with one of her professor’s to plan a strategy. Jones flew out six days
later to film. She lasted 33 of the 39 days and lost a total of 31 pounds. She broke her
hand, sliced her foot with a machete, and blew out her knee. “The coolest thing that I
learned from Survivor is what are you made of. “I wish that everyone had the opportunity
to do something that shatters your definition of impossible. I think it’s a luxury to live in
the first world.”
She explained that she has been able to promote the name of her company, I Am
That Girl, for the last four years. She was even invited to the White House to share
her ideas. “I was just willing to work harder then everyone else out there,” Jones
said. “That’s the one thing you can’t take away from me.”
Her final message to the audience was to start now by making at least one action towards
the goals they would like to achieve each day. “People are waiting for perfection. If
you’re waiting for this magical moment of someone to choose you out of the crowd,
why? Why would you put your dreams of what you want to do in someone else’s hands?”
The audience gave Jones a standing ovation. Jones smiled and mentioned that this is the
first inspirational talk that she has given in three months since she found out her father
Jones later tweeted that day, “UVU just rocked my world!! Thank you for all the
LOVE!!! Miss you guys already 😉 Can’t wait to come back!! Xoxo.”
Various students tweeted to Jones on Twitter to thank her for her visit.
Landon Larsen tweeted, “You were fantastic! So awesome, so funny and so real!”
Another student tweeted to Jones, “Thank you so much for your message this morning,
you truly did inspire me! You are incredible.”