Alessandra Lopez is a nurse practitioner (NP) working in breast medical oncology with seven years of oncology nursing experience. However, she is also a published model — and she is the inspiration behind #shecanbeboth.
Although she no longer does modeling, her modeling career began after a long-term relationship ended when her partner cheated on her, which hurt her confidence.
“I felt so small,” Alessandra says. “My confidence was completely shot. I feel like I got back into it to push myself out of my comfort zone and rebuild my confidence. That’s how it started, and then I just found this love for it. I love the creative side of it.”
However, Alessandra is also a healthcare professional with a passion for oncology, specifically breast cancer, the No. 1 cancer that affects women.
“I was drawn to oncology because I feel like at some point in our lives, either personally or through someone who we care about, we are all going to be affected by cancer,” Alessandra says.
In 2018, when Alessandra and Nurse Georgie were out to brunch with friends, Alessandra expressed concern about posting her modeling photos online.
“Our professions play a huge role in our lives but they definitely don’t define us,” Alessandra says. “[Modeling] was my creative outlet. It was something I really looked forward to doing, and I felt like I would get discriminated against for having this other part of my life.”
In fact, Alessandra experienced bullying from other nurses because of the modeling side of her life, which some people found “unprofessional” for a nurse to do.
“I was definitely bullied as a nurse,” Alessandra says. “A huge part of that was because of my social media presence. It made it so much harder to go to work and be able to do [my] job. How we can be so kind to our patients and then so mean to each other is really disheartening.”
After that day at brunch, Georgie recalls wanting to share that women can be both, just as Alessandra was both a nurse and a model. Georgie created #shecanbeboth, and within days, the hashtag had gone viral on social media, with over 10,000 women proudly posting side-by-side photos of themselves in their multiple roles.
Alessandra is glad she was able to inspire other multidimensional women.
“It’s awesome,” Alessandra says. “It feels really good. I think it helped bring a lot of attention to an issue that I felt like many of us women were struggling with.”
Alessandra left Los Angeles in 2019 to relocate to North Carolina, where she attended graduate school at Duke University. Now, she is focused on her new role as an NP and looks forward to improving patients’ lives in breast medical oncology. She is especially passionate about symptom management and maintaining patients’ quality of life during treatment.
“I try to highlight that your career is not your everything,” Alessandra says. “It should be one of your passions, but [you should be] able to still live your life outside of nursing and be proud of that.”
Although she has pulled back from social media for now due to mental health reasons, you can follow Alessandra on Instagram @eat_travel_nurse.