You may be familiar with Alden Steimle. She’s gorgeous, stunning and has been modeling and blogging for over seven years. Alden’s always up to something interesting, wearing something to die for, or spending time in the most beautiful places—needless to say we always have an eye on her. But now she’s giving us yet another reason to be obsessed with her.
Enter Soul Shapers, a collective Alden’s launching that brings awareness to philanthropists, artists, and educators. Simply put, she wants to put a spotlight on good people doing good things.
We spoke with Alden about her life, her new endeavor with Soul Shapers, and where she plans to take it. Get familiar below.
What is your background?
I'm originally from Northern California near Sonoma, but have lived in San Diego and LA for about 9 years total. I had many phases during my childhood/upbringing such as being in a Hip-Hop Dance Crew and competing, being a member of the FFA (Future Farmers of America) raising sheep/chickens and taking Land Judging classes, enrolling in auto class and driving a lifted truck (or two), immersing myself in Art classes and getting addicted to photography... I'm an only child and I think that's part of what lead me to really explore these different paths and lifestyles in my small hometown.
My dad is a photographer so I grew up with a darkroom in the house, and was always around cameras - I think that's how I quickly grew a passion and appreciation for Landscape/Nature photography. My senior year of high-school, I realized Photography was what what I wanted to do, but felt that getting a Business degree would assure that I could be sustainable and make money from it.
Two years into studying Business and Photography in college, I got approached at the opening of a surfshop in Oceanside, CA by these guys who had just started a company called Brixton — most of us know who that is now, but at the time they were just starting out. They wanted to know if I would model for them. I said “what do you mean?” I had no idea how to model or anything, but I went anyways. That little shoot and job with them lead me to my agency, No Ties Management, who sent me all over the world and started a snowball of crazy experiences, education, growth, and self-sustainability. I didn't end up completing college, and truly feel that I have learned more than I ever could have from sitting in a
Where are you based?
I am based in Encinitas, CA, but often feel like a Nomad as my modeling jobs are all over and regularly end up away from home.
What is Soul Shapers?
Soul Shapers is good people doing good things — it is collaborations with Artists, Entrepreneurs and Philanthropists who are making a difference in this world and inspiring others to do the same. Each collaboration has a product that gives back a generous portion to the featured Soul Shaper's favorite organization, as well as supports that Soul Shaper, and helps to fuel Soul Shapers as a company.
What inspired you to launch it?
I started modeling 7+ years ago, and it has been an amazing journey for me. I am forever grateful, yet I also experienced some of the lowest moments of my life: loneliness, anxiety, depression, self-hate, insecurity, fear, emptiness. So why did I continue to model? I realized I was meeting an insane amount of people at my jobs etc., many of whom are doing amazing and inspiring things. I started to really pay attention and made an effort to strike up deeper conversations, which would often result in hearing people's amazing journeys and passion to make a difference- I was hooked and wanted more. I wanted more but couldn't figure out what more was.
Around this time, my blog was one of the most uninspiring things to me— it became empty and meaningless. Don't get me wrong I still love fashion and have fun with it and have now relaunched my blog to be more than just fashion, but at this time in my life, the clothes and photos of myself were like a bland piece of toast. I had this epiphany that I wanted to talk about other people.. people doing things that mattered and who were inspiring. I wanted to know them, support them, talk about them, bring awareness to them, and raise money for people in need. I quickly started developing the idea of Soul Shapers and realized that it was meant to be a bigger thing than just a category on my fashion blog. And here I am... with a real website, real product, and a group of real people who I look up to and love.
What's the story behind the name?
Soul Shapers is about people who “shape souls” and inspire others... inspirers? Not a word. My mom is a poet so I called her and said, “ Mom I have this idea to feature these inspiring people, what is another word for 'inspirers'?” of course she says, “how about, Soul Shapers?” Chills!!! I bought the domain and got started on the Trademark right away.
Who are some of the Soul Shapers you're profiling?
I started out with a sweet and small number of 5 Collaborations/Profiles. These are the first people who put their trust in me and my idea.
Artist Aleksandra Zee, adventurers and volunteers Rachel and Josh from Voyages of Agape, Physical Trainer/Holistic Healer Nicolette Amarillas Founder of Expansive Voice, Artist Marissa Quinn, and Founder/Designer Dani Nagel from Dazey LA.
I have more collaborations in the works, and man
y exciting events, products, and features to come, but these initial Profiles and even the Profiles to come, are here to stay— they may evolve and there may be updates, but each collaboration is created with love and intention to last.. kind of like a mark on that person's accomplishments in this lifetime and sharing it with the world.
How did you come across these people, and why did you choose them?
Each relationship had a different development: I met Aleksandra through instagram and basically fanned out haha. I DM'd her my love for her artwork and influence, and explained my idea.. she was down! I heard about Voyages of Agape from my friend who works at Reef because they had worked together and she instantly recommended that I feature them; I also had a modeling job with Rachel one time! I was put in touch with Nicolette through Aleksandra because they have worked together. Marissa and I live in the same town so I've seen her work all over and met her at an art show.. I bought a few of her prints and we started chatting. I actually know Dani from college! One of my best friends was an intern with her at a company in San Diego and introduced us— we reconnected through Instagram years later. I think why I chose them is pretty self explanatory, but their Profiles on the site also go into detail for each of them :)
What can people expect to find when they head to your site?
People can expect to find:
- The Soul Shapers Page which consists of Profiles on the featured Soul Shapers/Collaborations— includes bio, interview questions, photos/video, and links to the Collab product on the Shop Page.
- The Shop Page is where you can shop products from Collaborations while giving back since they each donate a generous portion of the proceeds to various organizations.
- The Tools Page has a variety of “Tools” that are helpful to you and your health, life, soul etc. These are also fun to share with family, friends or someone in need. Right now there is even a Discount Code for the Pinner Test. I get no benefit from this other than the joy of potentially helping people.
- The Blog is to stay updated with inspiring and philanthropic happenings.
- The Donate page is if you just want to give-back and need a recommended organization.
- Everything is in the beginning and growth stages, but each element has a purpose and is carefully curated for the site.
Tell us about some of the brands you're collaborating with.
The interesting thing about the “brands” I'm collaborating with and people who I am featuring, is that they each have a different story. Each collaboration is different and is creatively developed by me and the featured person/brand. It's not like I'm selling one product or featuring one type of person— so many people are Soul Shapers and the possibilities are endless when you let your mind get creative with ways to collaborate, raise money, and inspire.
I guess what I'm saying is it's hard to generalize the brands— I see them as unique individuals and what I can say is that they are all so so special and have a big influence in an extremely positive and moving way.
You're selling some products that give back to various organizations. What are they?
- Each of the products are Limited Edition and as I mentioned, give back to the featured Soul Shapers favorite organization.
- For Example:
- A beautiful wood piece by Aleksandra that gives back $120 from EACH sale to Planned Parenthood (run of only 10 pieces).
- An insane print by Marissa that raises awareness for the endangered Vaquita Dolphins (illustrated in the print) and 25% of the proceeds from EACH sale give back to Sea Shepherd Nonprofit to help save these Dolphins (run of only 25 prints).
- The Soul Shapers T-shirt that I call the OG Give-Back Tee— 100% of the proceeds go straight into fueling my company and gives sustainability to continue these features, tools, fundraisers, collaborations, etc. But more Tees are in the works!
- Then there are a few “Coming Soon” notes for collaboration products that will be available in the near future, and that I think are going to be so good!
What is your vision for Soul Shapers? Where do you see it going?
The heart of Soul Shapers is to tell the world about all of these amazing people and to provide a platform where you can find information, tools and inspiration for you, your family, friends, or anyone who you think is in need— it is a community. I see it continuing to grow in this direction, and I see it flourishing into a movement— whether that be big or small, I hope that it helps people and puts more love and positivity into this world.