Alison Levine, familiarly known as “Ali,” believes we are all here in service of one another. Through her podcast, Everything with Ali Levine, she is empowering women to wake up to their own journeys and discover what works for them.
This philosophy mirrors Ali’s career and approach to life in the public eye.
“I always knew I wanted to be in fashion. My grandmother, after whom my daughter Amelia is named, always looked fabulous, and she took me to fashion shows and boutiques.”
Ali studied fashion merchandising and design and was on the management track at Target before the age of 21. However, when she felt the familiar tug of her desire to work in design, she left it all behind.
Her reinvention wasn’t complete yet, though. Just as she was finding her place with a design team, the stock market crash forced her to start all over again.
Ali’s story is a testament to the doors that open when you wear your passion on your sleeve and show dedication to your craft. She gained exposure to the world of costume design thanks to the celebrated film director Oliver Stone and went on to work on popular TV shows like 30 Rock and Mercy, as well as Mariah Carey’s movie, Butterfly. It was her costuming work on the movie Big Momma’s House that earned her the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and become an in-demand celebrity stylist.
“When I’m styling people, I love watching them transform from the inside out, loving themselves and how they look. With my podcast, I discovered that there’s another way for me to help people and be of service—through it, I share my story and can be true to myself.”
Ali got her start in the podcast world with a show she and her friend Amanda had created. The vibe was that of a casual chat between girlfriends.
“When I became pregnant with my first daughter, I decided to take a hiatus, because it was becoming too much. Amanda and I agreed that our lives were going in different directions, so it made sense to put the podcast on hold.
“I had a traumatic birth experience and heavy postpartum depression. Ironically, before that, I had the perfect picture in my mind of how everything was going to happen, from my daughter’s birth to going right back to work and taking her to the set with me. I did all that, but at my own detriment… because I never gave myself time to heal.
“I’ve always said that confidence is your best accessory. I lost mine in every way, and that was a hard pill for me to swallow. I couldn’t understand how I could make everybody ‘Best Dressed,’ yet I wasn’t following my own advice when it came to confidence.”
Ali went from being on red carpets and private jets to home in sweats for weeks… and she began feeling like someone she didn’t recognize.
“I eventually realized, ‘You just had a baby. You’re shifting, and things are changing.’ I had put a lot of pressure on myself.”
Ali’s search for a way to express what she was feeling led her to cognitive therapy, and she enlisted the help of a postpartum specialist who had a holistic approach.
“I started journaling more and doing gratitude practices. I also found meditation. I was journaling for quite some time, but I didn’t feel like I was getting full relief.
“I remember my husband asking me what was really going on. I replied, ‘I feel like I’m mourning the death of me.’”
Next, Ali decided to record her feelings, essentially creating audio journals.
“I really needed to get everything out… and the podcast emerged. It was initially called ‘Striptd Down,’ reflecting the idea of being stripped down to your vulnerable self. It was inspired by the Bravo reality show Stripped, which I did with my husband Justin.”
The podcast led Ali to experience a new form of vulnerability.
“It honestly just poured out of me. It was cathartic. Suddenly, moms and other people were starting to follow me and reach out, saying, ‘Oh my god, I had no idea you were going through this. I did, too.’ Others said, ‘I’m in this right now.’”
Fast forward to the pandemic, and Ali was pregnant with her second daughter, Arley.
“The week everything started shutting down, I sat at my computer, spinning out of control as I thought about all my deadlines. I had to go back to my practices of breath work, meditation, and journaling.
“I decided to surrender, and things quickly shifted. My doctor couldn’t believe how I went from potentially having my stress cause a premature birth to having my baby just chilling and calm inside me.”
Another shift was soon to come. Ali became keenly aware of other women who struggle with issues beyond pregnancy and motherhood.
“Everyone has unhealed parts of them,” she pointed out.
As a result, the show became a platform for all sorts of vulnerabilities—so Ali renamed it Everything with Ali Levine.
“I wanted to create a space where guests from all walks of life can share their real, raw journeys. I still have moms on the show, while primarily holding space for everyone.”
Ali has found a new reality. She no longer fights change and tries to control everything.
“Change can actually be beautiful, and if we let ourselves align with that, we attract so much more… because we have surrendered.
“I accept that a part of me may be gone, but I’ve been reborn, and I’m learning, evolving, and changing. My priorities needed to shift, and I have come to realize that there’s no such thing as ‘balance.’ Every day is different. On some days, I’m going to kill it as an entrepreneur, and on others, I’m a fantastic mom and wife.”
Now more than ever before, Ali’s unwavering commitment to fulfilling her purpose and surrendering to change is inspirational.
November 2021 Issue