What do you get when you combine the island’s “it” girl in fashion with one of the “OG’s” in our surf community? A double whammy of public figures within their respective industries; wrapped up in a bow of “California Cool.”
It’s 6:15 am and Mia Blakeman is texting me letting me know her boyfriend, Alejandro “Ale” Moreda, is still at the airport waiting for his bags. They’re running a bit late to set, but she assures me they’re coming. It’s 7:08 am and Mia is texting again. Ale just got back and he doesn’t have his car keys- his friend has them and they’re trying to find a solution to transport his surfboard. He’s just landed in Puerto Rico from LAX and I later learn he’s jumped through hoops just to make it on that flight, mostly (it sounds like) just to please his girl and show up for this shoot. Mia just flew in from a few weeks of work in Miami the day before. If this doesn't set the tone for the day, then I don’t know what does.
Once they do show up at 7:45 they are exactly what I thought they’d be. Needless to say, they did not disappoint. They’re not the tallest couple, but their aura is larger than life itself. Ale comes in full throttle in a wife beater, airplane sweats, and his lucky chain dangling around his neck. He never takes it off. He’s willing and eager to put up with our shenanigans and ideas of dressing him in a heart- shaped pirate patch and pipe full of sage. (Only kind of herb we had on set) And Mia- is well, Mia. Dreamy eyed, dewy skinned, and delightful. Statuesque, effortless, and happy. She’s in a flirty sundress, white flip flops, and a pullover with the quite fitting phrase embroidered on it: “Island Muse.”
Above: Mia wears the Ceci Top in Storm.
She is arguably the most coveted girl here- constantly landing top campaigns, the best runway shows, and getting just as much exposure through one of her sister agencies, ELITE Miami & LA. He is a former pro surfer and Billabong team rider whose style, according to Surfline, was regularly compared to the late, great Andy Irons. Together they make quite a match: good looking, well spoken, and chipper as can be. They travel constantly, their phones ring off the hook, they’re not camera shy at all; and therefore I gather this must be one of the most “Hollywood” couples I’ve ever seen on the island.
They’re clearly happily in love with each other, and enjoying the fact they’re getting to work together for a change. I’m guessing probably because it’s the day before Valentine’s and also the task at hand is to be in love, look in love, and talk about their love, all in the spirit of celebrating them for Valentine’s. Once we wrapped up the shoot I was able to get them to sit at my kitchen table and talk story.
He lives a life dictated by the waves, tides, and as of recently- Mia. She jokingly confesses: “He sleeps paddling, literally. I know he’s surfing in his sleep. He had to check his boards when he landed.” When I asked her what it’s like to date a waterman she answered: “I always knew he’d be travelling constantly when I started dating him. But I love that about him- his drive and determination” They both seem goal oriented and multifaceted. Him with his endeavors such as Los Gallitos de Ale- surf events dedicated to promote youth surfing, working 12-18 hour days with FEMA post hurricane Maria, and flipping properties into swanky rentals. Mia studied accounting and is planning on getting her CPA, while juggling a full time modeling career.
“We have the same ideals, goals, drive, and go all in at what we’re passionate about. And we support each other in every way possible.” I saw this firsthand when mid shoot she had to record a casting video and he whipped out a phone to become her videographer in 1⁄3 of a second. The video was done and sent in 1 take. This, my friends, is a well- seasoned Instagram boyfriend. They admit the role gets reversed and Mia returns the favor when he’s surfing. “She gets excited, she’s my biggest cheerleader.” says Ale about Mia when she gets behind the lens. She has been his videographer at crucial moments like on their trip to Desert Point, where he scored what sounds like the wave of his life and when they roughed it in Keramas.
“We also have jobs that aren’t exactly conventional” says Mia. Something tells me this may be part of their secret sauce. A 4 am call time for a fashion model is just any other day on the job, just like dawn patrol is for any surfer. Therefore, their schedules must naturally sync. I’ve got a feeling Mia rarely rolls over in bed to wake up to only Frida (their french bulldog). She’s up and at’ em and off to work as well. When it comes to traveling, they’re clearly both keeping busy and finding ways, ahem, to come back together and get some QT in between their endeavors.
Above: Mia wears the String Kini in Pearl.
When I ask her if she ever worries about him in the ocean she answers: “I don't think of what could happen to him in the water. I try to stay away from that. If he’s on tour, and I'm free, I just tag along with him and go for the ride” she muses nonchalantly. “For me it’s great when there’s big swells. He comes home so happy, tanned, and ripped. At the end of the day I'm happy as a result of it too.” She really is a sunny side up kinda girl. “I really like that he has his own thing that he really loves.”
Above: A home photo of Ale surfing. Shot on 35mm by Mia.
They literally met in Venice after months of cheesy text messages from him on Facebook. He was skating and she was in the middle of a shoot. For their first date he took her to surf Lower Trestles and the rest is history.
I asked them to share 3 tips with us on how to keep a healthy happy relationship:
1. Always keep it fun.
“We have similar lifestyles because we both need to be caring for our bodies, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ll drag him out of bed to go kickboxing with me and find ways to change things up” says Mia.
2. Good communication.
“You gotta keep it real and be transparent with each other” says Ale. “She knows when the big swells are coming and she knows which beaches I'm heading for the day before. I keep her in the loop and we text when I get out of the water.”
3. Quality time. Make time for each other.
“I love that our time off gets to be at the beach, because there’s no place I’d rather be, honestly” says Mia. Spoken like a true siren. “I love lots of little things like the morning cup of coffee on a wave search. Every time he surfs, when he comes to shore he acknowledges me. That’s the best feeling.”
Ale chimed in “The ocean is the perfect way to bond. As an athlete having a woman that supports your surfing, that’s my biggest gift. I want the beach for us to be a safe haven- besides it being my time to surf it's my time to bond with loved ones. When I paddle to shore, and I see her there waiting for me- she's my greatest treasure.”
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