One social media influencer with a massive following is using her platform to help her Matlacha neighbors after Hurricane Ian.
Alexandra “Alex” Fasulo makes her own way with her online business. She’s accumulated a huge social media following that reaches thousands of people all over the world.
“I have a freelance writing business,” Fasulo said. “And then I teach people how to get started freelancing or freelance writing on social media.”
Her home base is a little bright-green Old Florida-style bungalow on Matlacha, right on the water.
“I fell in love with Matlacha when I saw it the first time like eight years ago because I do, like, writing and artsy stuff,” Fasulo said. “I loved how entrepreneurial and artsy the town was. It was just so the town for me.
But her neighbors in Matlacha are still in shock. Ian’s storm surge devastated homes and businesses and left the street onto the island unrecognizable.
“That’s the hardest. That’s harder for me than this,” Fasulo said. “Because I’m like, this sucks. I can buy new things. I’m alive. When I drive in and out of the town… I used to go on a walk or run once or even twice a day. That was my favorite thing to do here, and look at all the houses and how they’re all decorated and everything. Seeing [them] like that is really hard.”
Walking into Fasulo’s home, the smell and stains of floodwater are inescapable. Mud on the floor, mold covering old books and no internet connection, which means no work. In these circumstances, Fasulo decided to help her community.
“These people are resilient here—Pine Islanders are definitely another breed of human,” Fasulo said. “Everyone’s helping everyone carry stuff out to the street… everyone’s just kind of like, ‘It’s go time. ‘No one’s like sitting in the grass flipping out. Everyone’s like, ‘All right, we’ve got to do this.'”
Fasulo is using her online following to bring money right to the island via a fundraiser for the Matlacha Hookers, a local women’s charity based on the island.
“They’re the most local charity that I could find,” Fasulo said. “I’m very wary of giving it to the larger ones where you don’t actually know where it’s gonna go, because I wanted to go right here.”
You can check out her fundraiser by going to Alexandra Fasulo’s Instagram page.