||So what is it about Alex McLeod anyway? At once sophisticated yet child-like, ambitious yet loyal to her values, a small-town girl living a big-time dream, Alex McLeod is proof that one need not sacrifice her character to reach the stars.
Is it her impish sense of humor, her youthful spirit, or her natural beauty that leaves a lasting impression on people? Some ineffable trait in her
personality makes everyone realize, without knowing why, that Alex is one of most unique individuals they've ever met.
And all of them wonder, what's Alex going to do next?
THE TEXAS TOMBOY
Alexandra McLeod grew up a fearless tomboy who matched every challenge that life threw at her. When she wasn't climbing tall magnolia trees or cracking jokes in
the classroom, Alex dreamt of the day she would make a name for herself in Hollywood.
After graduating from the University of Texas with a degree in Speech Communications, Alex embarked on a path that would give life to her girlhood dream. She
decided to trade Galveston Island, Texas for a space in Los Angeles, California.
"When I got to Hollywood, I had no friends. I had no job prospects. All I had was my college degree and my family behind me. Without those roots, without that
support, I think it would have been difficult to endure the ups and downs of the industry."
WORK BEGETS WORK
In L.A., Alex took a variety of jobs to pay the bills, including answering phones at one of the larger talent management companies
in town. She spent every available moment endeavoring to get a foot-hold in the entertainment business.
"Work begets work," she says. "It doesn't matter what you're doingas long as it's productive."
Alex's raw persistence eventually paid-off when she landed appearances on several national commercials and achieved some notoriety performing on sit-coms like
Married with Children, Nightstand, Partners, and Ned and Stacy. Looking back on those first years in Hollywood, she considers herself fortunate that she was equipped with a strong sense of self-identity. She concedes that the town has a tendency to swallow one's youth and impose an impossible standard of perfection on its actors.
"If I had taken everyone in Hollywood seriously, I would have undergone all kinds of unreasonable changes, including plastic surgery. I would be unrecognizable and unsuccessful today."
This Texas rose was far from a wilting violet. Industry cynicism only boosted Alex's resolve to achieve her goals, not as a superficial rendering of herself, but as her true self.
"The hosting niche was the perfect solution," she says. "It paid me to just be myself."
Alex McLeod got her first real break as the cheeky Hollywood correspondent of the irreverent and popular film review series Moviewatch, which aired on Channel Four in the United Kingdom. As the self-effacing sidekick to British television personality Johnny Vaughn ("The Big Breakfast"), Alex engaged in mock interviews with Hollywood's mega-elite, including Meryl Streep, Russell Crowe, Diane Keaton, Denzel Washington, and Mel Gibson. Lauded for her memorable interviewing style, Alex discovered that she had a real knack for hosting and ran with it.
Best known as the original host of TLC's runaway cable hit Trading Spaces, Alex guided millions of viewers worldwide through the unscripted,
light-hearted process of helping neighbors across America race to redecorate each other's home. For her funny yet vibrant hosting work on Trading Spaces, Alex shared in a Daytime Emmy Award nomination with her producers after only one season on air.
Critics immediately responded to Alex. Linda Stasi of The New York Post described Alex as the "perfect" host and Daniel
McGinn of Newsweek compared Alex to Classic Coke, truly an "original."
Alex was next asked to take the big leap into major network television as host of another TV ratings sensation, FOX's highly controversial first season of
The first show of its kind, Joe Millionaire, spawned a new "romantic twist" trend in the reality TV genre and a panoply of copycat shows ensued.
"Joe Millionaire was a real departure from Trading Spaces," Alex says. "Having back-to-back hit shows was euphoric, but everything about Joe Millionaire was a compromise for me. My work on Best of Both Worlds was more personal and enabled me to share more of the real me with the viewer."
Although known for her sophisticated persona, Alex did not demur from giving viewers a glimpse into her tomboy spirit as host of A&E's Best of Both Worlds. In this reality travel special, she agreed to "rough it" on an economy tour of Hawaii and then to experience the reward of a luxury tour through Hong Kong. She confesses that the hangliding portion of the show was the most challenging.
"But looking back, hangliding was a piece of cake," she says. "What was really scary was donning a bikini on cable television for the first time for my Trading Spaces following."
Proving herself in yet another TV format, Alex soon landed guest host spots on shows such as ABC's all-female talk show, The
View, and 20th Century FOX's nationally syndicated morning show, Good Day Live.
Alex McLeod's diverse talent and insight for picking exciting show concepts, which receive high-ratings, continues to distinguish her from other female hosts in her niche. Viewers have since followed Alex to the Starz family of channels, where she has hosted movie weekend specials and interviewed A-list film stars as a red-carpet correspondent for the Starz Movie News.
THE REAL McLEOD
Although her on-camera charisma has garnered mass appeal, Alex has proven that her "kinetic energy" is just as irresistible off-camera when applied to volunteer
work. Giving back to her community has been what she considers one of her greatest accomplishments.
Alex is a public speaker and fundraiser for the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and has donated her time and services as a mistress of ceremonies for the American Heart
Association's annual Women's Legacy Luncheon in the Los Angeles and Ventura counties. She was recently presented with a President's Volunteer Award by the
President's Council on Service and Civic Participation in recognition of her "commitment to the strengthening of the nation and making a difference through
Alex also recently lent her home-improvement skills to a Blitz Build, a Hollywood for Habitat for Humanity program that built six homes in six weeks for
participants in need.
As for the future, Alex McLeod hopes her unbridled enthusiasm and persistent personality will always be celebrated by the Hollywood establishment that discovered her
and the nonprofit community that has grounded her.