Saying Goodbye To Alex Magnetic

11 years ago I met Alex “Magnetic” at a party in the Lower East Side. My friend Justin introduced me to her and I thought she has the coolest eyes I had ever seen. I got her number at that party and she was in my phone as “Alex Eyes” for years. We went on a single date that didn’t go anywhere but we were friends for over a decade.

When she first moved to LA from NYC we kept in touch. When she came back to town she was always one of the first people I would photograph when I walked into a nightclub. When she moved back home to Ohio after leaving Columbia we still talked all the time. I had a layover in Detroit and she came all the way there just to have lunch with me before taking me back to the airport. When her parents worried about her visiting NYC again I let her stay on my couch and made sure she was sober the whole time. She was briefly my intern and was the best one I ever had. When she moved to LA in 2016 I flew to meet her and drove with her, showing her all my favorite things on Route 66. 

So when she needed a place to stay when she was looking for work in NYC back in January I of course let her stay with me. She got the first job she applied to and moved in full time. She got back into nightlife quickly and was partying a lot, but she also was killing it at work and was in bed early every night she wasn’t working. She had taken up kickboxing for a while and we were both trying to encourage each other to eat healthy and I honestly thought she was doing great. 

When she would complain to me about the shitty dudes she was dating or the nightlife drama I felt like it was 10 years all over again when I was telling her she should be paying more attention to school than this nightlife bullshit. I have met a lot of people in nightlife over the years but very few of them were as obviously as brilliant as Alex. She wanted to a writer but she also wanted to be Edie Sedgwick and really live this crazy life before she could write about it.

I found myself having this same conversation with her the night before she died. She seemed manic and troubled, worried about some drama with her love life and what she was doing in life and her mental health. We sat on the floor of our kitchen for hours just talking about her life. We talked about how this nightlife shit didn’t matter and how smart she was and how we were going to try and find her a therapist on Monday. She eventually calmed down and I put her in bed and got her kindle for her. She was going to read before bed. I hugged her goodnight and told her we would figure everything out.

The next day I woke up and saw she had made some food. I didn’t hear her in her room so I figured she was out doing something. I went out to watch football, but I checked her Instagram a few times because I was worried about her and hoping she would post a story like she did every day so I would know she was alright. 

When I got home I didn’t immediately check on her. I was in a bad mood from the football game and starving. Nothing had been moved in the kitchen and I still didn’t hear anything coming from her room so I assumed she was still out. I ordered some pizza and was just finishing it when I got a message from one of her friends asking if they had seen her. My heart sank. I just had this horrible feeling. Immediately stopped what I was doing and knocked on her door. I didn’t hear anything and I opened it and found her. I could tell instantly she was gone.

The next five hours were some of the worst of my life. 17 different people came into my home and asked me the same questions over and over again. It felt like a dream. By midnight I was alone, in my home of 13 years, feeling like I didn’t belong there for the first time in my life. 10 days later I still feel my stomach drop every time I walk into the kitchen. It still doesn’t feel real. 

Alex died of what appears to be an accidental opiate overdose. From what I hear from her friends she hadn’t touched the stuff since she went to rehab for it 10 years ago. Just one slip up ended her life. Addiction and depression are both diseases. They are trying to kill you just like cancer does except no one ever stigmatizes you for getting chemo or tries to get you to have just one more tumor before you go home. And boy do they ever like to work together. 

I have lost way too many friends to addiction and mental illness, and I have written way too many of these posts. Alex was so brilliant and beautiful and fun and she could have done anything she wanted if she could have just somehow figured out how to get it all together. But her dad told me something that I try to remember every day. Drugs almost killed her 10 years ago, and we should be so grateful to have Alex for as long as we did. I am so glad to have known her and I am so happy to have so many good memories with her and before I end this post I want to leave you with one of my favorites.

When Alex was moving to LA in 2016 I had plans to be out there already so I told her I would meet her in Detroit and we could drive together. I drove Route 66 as part of my first book and I had always wanted to do it again. We had such an amazing time. We stayed in a giant teepee at the WigWam Motel, we fed burros in Arizona, she rooted me on when I ate a 72oz steak at the Big Texan in Amarillo, and we comforted each other in Oklahoma City when Trump won the election. It was such an amazing trip and I am so fucking thankful I got to spend it with Alex. I am so thankful I got to spend that last night with her. Alex was one of my favorite people of all time and I am so fucking thankful I had her in my life at all.

I went through all the 35mm photos I took on our road trip and want to share them with you all. We took a few nude photos in the middle of the desert in Arizona and in the Texas panhandle and I know she loved those photos but I also feel a little weird posting those now. One of those photos is my favorite I have ever taken of her though, so I took it and two others and put them at the very end of this gallery so that if her friends and family see this they can just avoid the last three photos in this gallery. 

Alex, I love you and I miss you. 

Click here to see 35mm photos from my Route 66 road trip with Alex Magnetic. 






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Comments (4)


  1. David
    December 4th, 2019 | 7:48 pm

    That’s just a fucked up situation all the way around. The what ifs are the worst part of everything. In the end it always just seems like something else could have been done, but it wasn’t just due to something else happening. The only real thing that can help in terrible times is to be thankful there was some positivity somewhere else with that person. I hope you can look at those pictures at least and know that you helped her as you could. Sorry for your loss.

  2. brad
    December 5th, 2019 | 4:55 am

    Sorry for your loss…

  3. Anne-Marie
    January 28th, 2020 | 4:54 pm

    Do you sell any of your photos?

  4. January 29th, 2020 | 1:27 pm

    @anne-Marie Yeah, absolutely. Email

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