Stab Magazine | "Tough Love" with Mahina Alexander, The Gallery

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“Tough Love” with Mahina Alexander, The Gallery


girls // May 22, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Kala Alexander’s eyes. That’s what I remember of the North Shore. Walking into the RVCA house to collect his daughter Mahina for hair and makeup, preparation had averted me from the possibility that Kala might be there. Photographer Rich Freeman was bringing up the rear, and I halted as Kala’s stare hit me, actually considering fleeing before remembering why I was there. His eyes shockingly bright, and proud, and alive. Shirtless, ploughing into eggs and coffee.

Mahina web 01

Photographer Rich Freeman was baffled by Mahina’s comfort in front of the camera considering how little modeling that she’d actually done. Rather than an awkward affair, as these things can be, it was actually, fun!

“Who’re you?”
“Dad these are the guys from Stab, they’re shooting me today,” says Mahina, topping up his coffee, black, and a bit washed after the Pipe Masters wrap party the night before. “Oh yeah. What’s the product?” “Umm,” says I, with a Jeep Cherokee full of lacy black lingerie right out front.
“Or is it just like, art?”
“Oh yeah. Art, that’s it.”
“Art.” Mumbles Rich.

Mahina web 02

It’s amazing what you can do with some nice tailoring. This could easily be a $500 a night suite, but it’s not. Just an average bedroom overlooking The Pipeline, a stylist, makeup artist, photographer and an assistant. But the end result, Paris, Milan, your imagination can take you wherever you like.

“You guys ever had a Purps? No? Have a purps, they’re good. It’s ok because its fructose, from fruit. So although they taste sweet, it’s actually not bad for you.” Jay Davies, who’s washing the dishes, opens the fridge and hands Rich and I each a Purps. The topic drifts to Kelly Slater’s wavepool, which was released to the world that morning. “Everyone’s going crazy over it, and it’s amazing, but you’d have to be an amazing surfer to surf that wave,” says Kala. “You see when he’s getting tubed? It’s so technical. There’s no way that average surfers could do that.”

Mahina web 03

Mahina runs a super cute blog called Mahina Means Moon (@mahinabeams). She posts selfies, thoughts, feels, and yo can even ask her questions and she’ll reply. How awesome’s that? Part thinspiration, part agony aunt. Full beautiful.

The night before, we’d rented a room to shoot in for the day with a bottle of tequila. Finding a room with white walls on the North Shore of Oahu is like finding a virgin at Spring Break, and while what we found wasn’t exactly what we were looking for (the walls being more grey than white, and the carpet a particularly stain-concealing shade of green) it sufficed. 

Mahina web 04

In Hawaiian mythology, Mahina was a lunar deity. It’s also means ‘moon’ in Hawaiian.

The team abodes of the seven mile are part termite mound, especially the day after a big night, like the final of the Pipe masters. It’s a ghost town, everyone holed up in their respective sponsors house taking it slow. Getting anyone to do anything requires disturbing the whole colony.

Post hair and makeup – entering the house that we’d arranged to shoot at, which is also consumed by post-party haze, we’re shepherding stylists, makeup artists, talent, and photographers up the narrow staircase to the room with grey walls and the lime green carpet – the slumbering shapes downstairs start to stir. 

Mahina web 05

As far as models go Mahina was totally easy to please. Happy to chow on whatever food we could muster from Foodland, and takes her coffee black with heaps of sugar. A pleasant vacation from soy milk and activated fucking almonds.

“Can you take a gun on a plane?”
“Do you have a case for it?”
“No.” “A Permit?”
“Just post it to yourself brah, that’s the easiest.”

Photographing girls on the North Shore of Oahu makes you long for the air-conditioned sanctuary of the studio. Although drenched in natural beauty – hills and waterfalls and #blessed – and modern enough, it’s void of the commodities needed for photo shoots.

Mahina web 06

A gaze to gaze at. Miss Alexander’s truly a wonderful existence.

We’d met Mahina for the first time days earlier socialising at the Turtle Bay Resort. If there’s anywhere in the world that’s the antithesis of the North Shore of Oahu, it’s Turtle Bay. The bizarre thing is that this monstrosity is right on the Northern end of the seven mile strip. It’s like America vomited a tiny speck of bile on the seven mile miracle, just to remind everyone that it’s there. And, it’s the only place to party on the North Shore. The Surfer Bar (named after the magazine), is located just inside the lobby, and costs US$25 to get in, no matter who you work for. On stage a female solo artist with a puka shell necklace strummed what sounded like a Hawaiian version of the Vagina Monologues, and Jack Robinson’s dad seemed to be really enjoying himself. We necked a thick Mai Tai and decided to make an exit.

Turtle Bay is the type of place where you accidentally walk onto a movie set. You momentarily wonder why the crowd in that particular slice of the lobby isn’t moving, before the loud hailer of a director blasts you. “Get off my set.”

Mahina web 07

You can’t fake a look like this. It’s the look of someone who’s lived, and for someone of such a young age, Mahina’s maturity and confidence was a joy. You get the feeling that whatever situation she’s thrown into she’d be more than happy to post up and talk shop with whoever’ll listen. Trait’s don’t get more attractive than that.

Mahina was sitting just outside the lobby with Bruce, Bruce’s entourage and fresh beau Jay Davies when we approached.

“Oh hey, I thought you were a girl when you were e-mailing me. The shoot should be fun,” she chirped with complete confidence before being helped into a truck three quarters the size of a monster truck – that’d been delivered by the valet – by Jay. With that, she was gone, until shoot day.

Shooting was a breeze once we were in the room. Mahina inherited the regal eyes from her dad. Coupled with a model figure – as in Paris, not Instagram – she’s one of the most striking women I’ve had the pleasure of seeing partially clothed. And Rich, a man who spends the majority of his professional time shooting some of the most high profile models in the world, is blown away by how confident and natural she is in front of the lens.

Mahina web 08

Hawaiian royalty, Mahina’s the princess of the North Shore, she’s sweet, beautiful and has an aura about her that shouldn’t be tested.

Between shots we sit on the balcony overlooking the Pipeline, which is sleeping along with the alphas that normally surf it. Mahina raps on the last year of her life. “I moved to LA for a year and I hated it. Now I split my time between here (The North Shore) and Kauai, where I’m originally from.”

After wrapping the shoot in record time, we drop Mahina back. Kala’s not there, but Jay Davies is, and we show him the storyboard of the shoot. “Powerful,” he says.

Powerful seems as apt a word as any.

Mahina web 09

Her skin compliments the white of the sheets, she’s enticing but this is an invite only affair.


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