Chil­dren’s en­ter­tainer loves to ex­press her creative flair

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - SH­ERYL NADLER Spe­cial to The Hamil­ton Spec­ta­tor Sh­eryl@sh­eryl­

YOU know her as PROB­A­BLY Lexi.

And that time you met? Well, she was prob­a­bly wear­ing a hand­made sky-high Celebration Hat fashioned out of Christ­mas or­na­ments and mini teapots while singing about find­ing your zing and be­liev­ing in your­self.

Her given name is Alexis Rakovac and she’s been per­form­ing for your kids for a decade and a half — first as an early child­hood ed­u­ca­tor and then as Learn­ing with Lexi, the chil­dren’s en­ter­tainer who hosts shows, birth­day parties and work­shops, writes her own songs and sprin­kles pos­i­tiv­ity wher­ever she goes.

In be­tween was a back in­jury that forced Rakovac, 34, to leave her job in ECE and take stock of her life. She still had a mes­sage to share with kids: love and have con­fi­dence in your­self, which she feels is great ar­mour against bul­ly­ing. So af­ter a lot of re­hab and fam­ily en­cour­age­ment, she took the plunge and started her own busi­ness.

“I am a wo­man of many things,” says Rakovac, who has been per­form­ing as Learn­ing with Lexi for three years. “I am a wo­man of cre­ativ­ity, of ex­pres­sion, ath­leti­cism … I love so many things and I ex­press them. Do­ing the show has kind of put that all in one cat­e­gory for me.”

But she’s also a wo­man of fash­ion, which she says is one of her favourite forms of ex­pres­sion. Her beloved Ba­li­nese pants, in­clud­ing the ma­roon pair with em­broi­dered trim she sports here with a slouchy, dusty rose, off-the-shoul­der top from Amer­i­can Ea­gle Out­fit­ters, and bam­boo-soled booties she found at the Chatuchak Mar­ket in Bangkok, are a typ­i­cal out­fit, strad­dling her per­sonal and pro­fes­sional lives.

She tends to pick colour­ful pieces, of­ten with a bit of bo­hemian flair, that have some give so she can dance and jump around with­out feel­ing con­stricted.

“When I get up in the morn­ing, I get ex­cited,” says Rakovac, who ac­ces­sorized the out­fit shown here with a wood pen­dant she bought in Bali, a peace cuff she bought at Stu­dio 205 on King Street East, and a vin­tage ta­pes­try bag she found at The Edit.

“I get to choose what colours, I get to style my hair, what shoes — I mean, this is fun stuff. I go out and I love to have peo­ple no­tice these pieces and start con­ver­sa­tions. And we have so much fun with it.”

Most eye-catch­ing piece:

My (Celebration) hats from Learn­ing with Lexi but also my tuques. I have tuques at home that I ac­tu­ally wear quite of­ten: big pom pom on the head, big pom pom on the cheeks. Ev­ery­where I go, peo­ple ask me where I got it. And hon­estly, it was the dol­lar store.

Quirki­est wardrobe item:

This pink piece … it was part of a cos­tume box. I gave it to Josette, a de­signer in Hamil­ton … I wanted colour and I wanted tas­sels on it and I wanted it to be a very unique piece …

It kind of looks like a cup­cake. It’s like a tiered (pas­tel) dress but it opens up at the front and it clips back and it has a ruf­fled col­lar that she added along the top and on the sleeves … I use this for my big­ger shows.

Wardrobe must-have:

I have to have a lit­tle bal­ance of it all. Be­cause for me, a full piece is the shoes, the shirt, the pants, the jew­elry ...

The one type of thing I need to have in my wardrobe is a good pair of pants. Pants to me are re­ally im­por­tant. I like pants that give a lit­tle bit of a stretch, so not too tight, and that maybe are a lit­tle bit tight to the leg be­cause I love to wear boots.

Best pur­chase:

Ev­ery­thing in my closet. I have sev­eral of these (Ba­li­nese and Thai booties). I wear them all the time. They’re my bam­boo shoes, my flat shoes, when I wear them dur­ing the day and I’m get­ting my work done, my feet aren’t achy, I feel a lit­tle bit more grounded, they’re fash­ion­able.

Re­grets buy­ing:

Pen­cil skirts … I gave away so many of my pen­cil skirts re­cently be­cause I find them con­strict­ing, my legs are rub­bing up against each other, it’s just a very lim­ited move­ment.

Loves to shop at:

The Chatuchak Mar­ket in Bangkok (Thai­land). It’s worth the 21.5hour flight … in Hamil­ton I love Plato’s Closet … Stu­dio 205, I love shop­ping at Pure on Locke Street for my beauty stuff.

Rid­ding her closet of:

I have three things that when I walk up to my closet, I have to get rid of: I will fit into one day, I will (wear) even­tu­ally, and maybe next year. I feel the clothes that you’re keep­ing in there are al­most like a pun­ish­ment. I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna get there. You don’t need those clothes in your closet. Be free. Buy clothes you can fit into now …

Splurges on:

The hats. I do splurge on hats. And jack­ets. Win­ter jack­ets are my favourite, and jean jack­ets.

Beauty prod­uct she can’t live with­out:

I have this cin­na­mon soap and body but­ter … it keeps my skin so fresh and so healthy … and vi­ta­min E oil.

Alexis (Lexi) Rakovac wears cropped ma­roon Ba­li­nese pants with em­broi­dered ac­cents and a vel­vety, dusty rose off the shoul­der top from Amer­i­can Out­fit­ters. Her ta­pes­try booties are from a trip to Thai­land, the peace cuff is from Stu­dio 205, the vin­tage ta­pes­try bag is from The Edit, and the wooden pen­dant neck­lace from Bali.

Her mes­sage to kids: love and have con­fi­dence in your­self.

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