Is Allie The Next Oprah? 12-Year-Old CEO Well Into Building Her Media Empire
At age 12, Alejandra Stack is already living a life of someone three times her age. She’s a busy honor student at Carrollton Junior High, an active community volunteer and is the newly elected president of the NAACP Youth Council of west Georgia.
She’s also appeared in a few box office films and a Cartoon Network show, and now with her start-up magazine and YouTube channel, KidNewsMaker, she’s taking her media empire to the next level. KidNewsMaker.com has a reach that far exceeds Carroll County, Georgia where she resides as her website subscribers lists people from The Bahamas, Jamaica, Canada, Iceland, Great Britain and US cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and Washington.
Alejandra and mother, Arthia Nixon
Alejandra is the daughter of Arthia Nixon, an award-winning journalist from The Bahamas. Nixon first took Allie into a newsroom at the age of three weeks, and by the time she was a toddler, she had a grasp of the media world most people don’t get exposed to until they’re seasoned reporters.
“Allie’s dad and I divorced when she was very young and for the most part it has been just the two of us until recently,” says Nixon. “I was a very hands-on mom; I couldn’t afford a sitter. So when you consider all of that, I had no choice but to bring her along on my media beat.
“So, when I’d would be writing a story on deadline, she’d be sitting in my lap nursing. When I had a four-hour live radio broadcast, she’d be on the floor in the studio coloring or reading. However, once we were off the air, and I gave her permission to speak, she would start interviewing the guests and they were tickled to hear this little three-year-old ask them questions with such conviction.”
Alejandra joined the broadcast club at Morrow Elementary to be near her gifted class teacher, Devinn Hill, and quickly showed she could tackle cameras and hold down an anchor spot. Her mother’s editor, Clara McClaughlin - the first African-American woman to own a US TV station - challenged Alejandra to write a story on an event she went to with a child celebrity. That article led to ‘Allie in Action, making her the youngest printed newspaper columnist in Florida and Georgia.
Allie in Action began posting on social media and gaining a following. However, it wasn’t until she was 11 that she came up with her current product.
“My mom and I were in the newsroom and I was bored and the only thing to do was read since they had the TV on,” said Allie. “I went through three weeks’ of newspapers and the only stories I saw on kids were when they got arrested, or when they played sports. So I asked my mom why didn’t they have kids all the time? She gets kinda cranky when she’s on deadline so she was like: ‘If you’re so interested, why don’t you do something about it?’ So, I used my phone and looked at all the people I knew who were doing things. I went and made a mock-up and showed her, and she was like ‘Oh wow.’”
Allie offered her mom money earned for filming a movie and ‘hired’ her first employee. Nixon used the money to print several copies of Allie’s first magazine to test the market to see how people would respond to it. With no capital, the pair are doing what they can to get the product to schools and youth organizations, seeking advertisers and they even set up www.gofundme.com/kidnewsmaker to see if crowdfunding would help.
Allie has since received several accolades for her entrepreneurial spirit. She also made it to the finals in the TOFi International Hers Ownly Pitch contest, where she beat out hundreds from across the United States to secure a spot in the finals. In November, she’ll present ‘Shark Tank’ style before a team of investors at TOFi for a chance to win the $10,000 prize and a team of business professionals.
She’s also booking speaking engagements, connecting with kids, especially those from single family homes.
“It’s an adjustment,” says her mom. “One moment I’m rushing her out to make sure she’s not missing the school bus, or making sure she’s doing chores; the next minute she’s leading me and a team of adults telling us why our old-fashioned ideas will not work with her peers. She straight up told us Facebook is for old people and we’re only doing a limited amount of prints because we’re focusing on digital.
“At her age, I was just a little girl on an island in The Bahamas writing stories on a beach, wanting to work for a major news company or be an author. In my early 30’s, I’ve accomplished most of my goals, but here I am - my boss is my own child, with her own vision of what she wants. She’s inspired so many people and honestly, she’s inspiring me.”