Alexia Echevarria By Samantha Yardley
Photography by Gerardo Briceno
Alexia Echevarria is back on screens for a new installment of the Real Housewives of Miami. But don’t be fooled by her pristine housewife image, there’s more than meets the eye to this self-proclaimed Cuban Barbie.
Perfectly polished and easily passing for a woman half her age, Alexia tunes into our Zoom chat radiating a magnetic energy that hooks me in seconds. After spinning her laptop around to share a glimpse of her to-die-for Miami sea view, she kicks off our one-to-one with the same lucid charisma I’ve been fortunate enough to witness in billionaire tycoons at the top of their game. This Barbie means business.
“I was brought up with a very strong female role model,” begins 55-year-old Alexia. “My mother was a medical doctor back in the day, when it wasn’t really a profession for a woman. I’ve always been very entrepreneurial.
“I taught for eleven years, and that was great. Then, I had the opportunity to start a magazine with my husband at the time. We launched a lifestyle magazine in Spanish, because I thought that the Latino market was lacking that. We had that for ten years and it became a very big success.
“My background was always teaching and writing but I had to earn my way and prove it wasn’t handed it to me on a silver platter. After my husband passed away, we decided to close the magazine and I was soon like, ‘okay, I just can’t be not doing anything’.
“My passion was always beauty. I used to get my nails done at this salon here in Miami, and I had the opportunity to buy the business. So, in 2017 I went from being a customer to becoming the owner. At the time it was only a nail place but now, Alexia and Frankie’s Beauty Bar is a one-stop beauty shop.”
With an estimated net worth of $30 million, Alexia openly admits that she doesn’t need to work but finds joy in pursuing her passion and paving the way for female entrepreneurs.
“I love people, it’s one of my biggest strengths, I needed to have a purpose, I’ve always been very physically and mentally preoccupied. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done it with passion, I learn it, I absorb it and I consume it. My father taught me that to be a leader, you have to know the skill yourself.
“I was born to be a good example, to empower women, and to make them believe in themselves. Women have so much to contribute” she says, “there just hasn’t been many women entrepreneurs or awareness of how important women are to any business. I feel that for so many years, women throughout history haven’t really been represented because they haven’t been given the chance or the opportunity.
“People look at me in a certain way, because of how I look, and make assumptions of who I am or how my life is, without really knowing. So, I think I could be a powerful example to them because they’re like, ‘oh, my God, why do you do this when you don’t need to?’. But what they don’t know is that I need to do it internally. Psychologically, I need to know that I’m making a difference, I need to have a purpose. I need to wake up in the morning, get dressed and have contact with other women, and know that I’m teaching them and I’m making a difference in their life. It’s just something internal, the secret of my sanity.
“Business makes you crazy, but I need it” she says. “For me to be healthy, I need to feel good physically and mentally, professionally and personally.”
From shining on the small screen to bossing the beauty game, I’m curious to learn how the RHWOM starlet strikes a balance with her family life.
“I love people, it’s one of my biggest strengths, I needed to have a purpose, I’ve always been very physically and mentally preoccupied. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done it with passion, I learn it, I absorb it and I consume it. My father taught me that to be a leader, you have to know the skill yourself”
“Balance is tough because it’s very hard to be a good wife, a good mom, a good daughter, and a good friend. I feel like one of the areas always lacks, because we’re only human.
“If you’re a great professional, and very career-oriented then you’re not going to be such a great wife and you’re not going to be such a great mom, because it’s impossible. You can’t be at court litigating a case and be at your son’s baseball game.
“You’ve got to choose what’s important to you. When my kids were growing up, it was more important for me to be there after school, or with my kids at their baseball game. There’s a lot of sacrifice involved, I’ve had to sacrifice a lot of the things Alexia wanted to do, because I’ve put my children and my husband first, my personal life has always been very important to me.
“I always say I want to come back a man in my next life because I feel all you need to do is make money” she laughs. “Women never get the right credit or the right recognition. I tried being a stay-at-home mom, and I was like, ‘wow, like this is really crappy, this really sucks’. Nobody cares. Nobody gives you the recognition. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into taking care of a house.”
Heartbreakingly, Alexia’s son Frankie was involved in a life-changing head-on car accident that resulted in permanent brain damage.
“I have a son with special needs, because he was involved in a horrific car accident so I often think, ‘should I just sell my business and dedicate more time to him?’ I’ve had this conversation with him and, and he says ‘no’ because I need to do something for me, and become stronger, so that I can transmit that to him, and make him stronger.
“When you go through a tragedy like that, your whole family falls apart” she says. “Only somebody that’s gone through something like that can relate to it. It was so much heartache, but each day gets better. If you’re having a bad day, don’t give up hope, just say ‘tomorrow is going to be better’.
“I was born to be a good example, to empower women, and to make them believe in themselves”
“I don’t allow myself to feel depressed because I have no choice, I have my kids. Being a mother helps me a lot because I’m not selfish. That’s one of the biggest gifts of being a mother, you become selfless” she says. “It’s not about you anymore. It’s about your children. I had no other choice but to be strong.”