Smiley Movement logo

Fashion model Alexina Graham opens up about her mental health journey

Words by Blyth Brentnall

On a mission to promote charities, Travis and his deaf cat, Sigrid, met fashion model and mental wellbeing advocate Alexina Graham for World Mental Health Day. 

As the trio cycle together, Alexina opens up about a challenge she faced. She tells Travis and Sigrid how she had a lot going on in her life and struggled to overcome this challenge. But then she found well-needed support from the mental health and suicide prevention charity, Beder.

Alexina went on to tackle the stigma of mental health herself. In between runway shows and magazine shoots for world-famous designers, Alexina campaigns for mental wellbeing. She has worked as an ambassador for Beder UK since May 2021, attending events and raising awareness of their work.

“[Beder] is literally just about bringing people together to open up a conversation,” she explains, “to talk about whatever it is they want to talk about - mental health, their loved ones, everything. And I think it’s really beneficial for a lot of people.”

Alexina donates 5% of the proceeds from her clothing company, Xina NYC, to Beder and Crisis text line in the US. Beder offers support services and activities for those struggling with their mental health and the Crisis line is a vital suicide prevention service.

In the latest episode of Travis and Sigrid’s Charity Rides, Alexina shares thoughtful insights into mental health and describes the different services offered by Beder, for people struggling mentally.

Brilliant. Tell me more.

As they cycle, Alexina shares her story and Travis listens sympathetically. Travis went on his own journey with mental health after arriving in the UK from California, which he writes about in his new book, Sigrid Rides

“A lot of my book is about mental health, about the depression struggles I had. I was kind of burnt out from the corporate world,” Travis explains.

Travis came to the UK looking forward to a new job and exciting new life in London. When the Covid-19 pandemic struck, all that fell through and he was left roaming an unfamiliar city. 

To tackle the depression this caused him, he bought a bike and began exploring with his deaf cat Sigrid, who he discovered enjoys cycling. After sharing videos of their adventures online, the pair shot to internet fame. People just loved to see the cat-owner duo going out on adventures together.

“I discovered I could do this to make other people happy and by doing this I’ve made myself happy,” says Travis.

This is what brings Travis, Sigrid and charity ambassadors together in Travis and Sigrid’s Charity Rides - to share Sigrid’s online fame with charities and highlight important work. Watch the full episode with Alexina Graham here.

Charity check-in 

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

Mind. A UK charity offering a huge range of support services and advice while campaigning to combat stigma around mental health. Find out more and support them here.

Beder.  A suicide prevention charity offering a supportive space for people struggling with their mental health. Find out more.

United For Global Mental Health. This organisation is working to support people's mental wellbeing on a global scale. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Good Health And Wellbeing.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs