Bianca and Michael Alexander on their PBS show, Conscious Living: "We try to demonstrate on our journey, that sustainability can be hip, sexy, fashionable, fun, and tasty."
PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATE ABBOTT
Conscious Living might just sound like a catchy phrase for a TV series. But for La Quinta couple Bianca and Michael Alexander, it’s a way of life.
“It means to be aware of the choices we are making,” says Bianca. “We want to be aware how our choices can impact our own personal health, body, and our home. It also means being aware how we live in the communities around us.”
Their popular streaming show recently completed its fourth season on PBS. The first episode takes the viewer to Berlin, Germany and follows with wild adventures to the wellness paradise of Bali, spiritual seeking in Rishikesh, India, glamping in upstate New York, and more across the globe.
Palm Springs Life spoke with the dynamic couple Bianca and Michael Alexander about their TV show.
When did you come up with the concept for your PBS show Conscious Living?
Michael: The idea came to us on our honeymoon 17 years ago in Bali. We were lying on the beach, and Conscious Living was born there. It was clear in that moment. We wrote a business plan on the flight back to Los Angeles on the back of a napkin. How would you describe your show?
Bianca: Conscious Living is our journey of trying to learn and do better — from the foods that we eat to how and where we travel, the clothes we wear, and hopefully the energy that we bring to the world as we engage with people in our community.
Has the success of the show surprised you? What are you tapping into that is resonating with people?
Bianca: It is like an overnight success that took 15 years. We try to demonstrate on our journey, that sustainability can be hip, sexy, fashionable, fun, and tasty. There's no condemnation at the show. It's about how fun it can be, trying to do little things to be better. That is something everybody can identify, we all know we can do better. We all want to grow. That's something that's very universal. There's no judgment. People resonate with the fact that it's a safe space.
Michael: I think what resonates with audiences is that they are able to see both, highest fine dining, and also comfort foods that are so delicious and plant based. It doesn’t fell like eating plants. It feels like eating the most satisfying, tasty food, that's out there. I think that's really a big thing for people to see. Mindfulness, on a daily basis, and practice, on a moment-to-moment basis, meditating for five minutes can change your being. It can change your mental health. I see a lot of shifts around people just being aware of mindfulness, and aware of mental health.
What has hosting the show taught you?
Michael: We’ve learned to trust ourselves. It’s tough at times when you’re working in a small bubble, and the world doesn’t necessarily recognize your work at a larger level, to trust your intuition.
Bianca: We demonstrate that sustainability can be hip, sexy, fashionable, fun, and tasty. There’s no judgment. It’s about how fun it can be trying to do little things to be better. That’s something that’s very universal.
When the shutdown happened in March 2020 and people had to stay home, we saw the impact that had on the environment due to less people and transportation traffic. We also saw an uptick on social strife and division. What did the shutdown teach you and what can you share with your audience?
Bianca: It forced us all to look inward, to be more interested in our inner lives. How we can improve our lives. Life is short. People were passing away. We weren’t able see our loved ones. Mindfulness, I think, really took off in a big way the past year. Obviously, we want to be healthier, keep a strong immune system to avoid getting sick. Beside that we are trying to find a way to find inner happiness, and inner peace of mind, while having less social contact with others.
Michael: The things we choose to do, and the things we choose not to do. We are all deeply connected to one another. We are all part of the human race. We have an opportunity to let go of all our differences, whether it's politics, or race, or religion and really step into the truth that love is the only thing that's going to allow us to survive as a species.
Bianca: The same is true for race relations. It's having these tough conversations. Michael and I are obviously in an interracial relationship. Coming to one another from a place of respect, curiosity, and understanding has opened up so much for us. Much more came up for all of us inside of Black Lives Matter. It's a sign that we're being asked to think about things differently than we had before. Maybe give up some things now, so that we can come together and live more peacefully. Those conversations about social justice need to be mindfully in the world in face of conflict. It's a big piece of what Conscious Living is about and the topics that we cover. If you completely disagree with another person’s point of view, you don't kill them, and you don't shut them down. Maybe if we learned how to be more curious and communicate more mindfully, which we can't do unless we're being mindful with ourselves. That’s how we live together, what we do for us. We hope to inspire others to think about what will work for them
Why did you relocate to the desert?
Bianca: We love it here. We’re exploring before we decide where we’re going to make our permanent home. We started in Joshua Tree. We didn’t realize how high it was and that the nights were really cold, so we came down to Palm Springs. Our nomadic tendencies have emerged. We’re getting to know different areas and waiting for the right house to make our move, but this is where we plan to be for a long time.