Alumni in Action: Alexis Mahshigian ’19 makes a small gesture with a big impact

With some fabric and a sewing machine, this Elon alumna found a way to make a difference in her community.

There have been many stories of simple acts of kindness over the last few months. Alexis Mahshigian’s is such a story of how one individual used her skills and time to make a difference.

After graduating from Elon in 2019, Mahshigian headed west to Los Angeles to pursue her passion. She currently works full-time as a cinematographer for an ad agency, and part-time in the costume and wardrobe department on film sets.

But, when the pandemic hit, production stopped.

At first, Mahshigian felt helpless and disconnected from those who were suffering. Not only do the heavy emotions of societal upheaval take a toll personally, but not knowing where or how to help can be daunting. In a sea of thousands suffering, where does one person even begin? As she puts it, “In a time when it feels like grief and fear are overwhelming, it can be hard to feel like there is anything you can do that would make a difference.”

Instead of letting the negative feelings overtake her, Mahshigian put her creativity to use and found a way to carve out her own purpose and make a difference in the face of tragedy. She and her fellow costume department creatives took to their sewing machines and began making masks, the latest accessory essential for everyone.

“I may not be on the front lines, but anyone can take time and find a way to apply their own skills in helping others,” she said. “Even with a little bit of free time, we were able to aid in such a necessary way.”

Mask making became productive for her on many fronts. Not only was Mahshigian able to make a difference in her local community, but the creative outlet helped her personally, too.

“Taking creativity and applying it during a pandemic is honestly the greatest thing I have been able to do during these past few months,” she said. “I encourage others to try to apply their unique skills in different ways; you never know who you may end up helping.”