Alexa Brand: Where is the Ivy Ridge Survivor Now?

With Netflix’s ‘The Program: Cons, Cults, and Kidnapping’ delving into the abuse as well as depravity within the troubled teen industry, we get a documentary series that’s simply baffling. After all, it incorporates not just archival footage/documents but also exclusive interviews with key figures to truly shine a light upon the way disciplinary schools are anything but helpful. Amongst those to thus share her personal experiences in this original with the hopes of raising serious awareness on this matter is actually Alexa Brand — so here’s what we know about her.

Who is Alexa Brand?

It was back when Alexa was merely 15 that her conservative Christian parents sent her to the Academy at Ivy Ridge in small town Ogdensburg, New York, to receive some help for her bad behavior. Though little did they know this institution would kind of change her for the worse as it was not at all what it claimed to be — it was more of a prison with an added six levels of internal hierarchy. This youngster was admittedly struggling with some life aspects at the time and was often difficult, yet she’d never once touched drugs or gotten involved in anything too extreme.

However, Alexa’s family representative ended up telling everyone that her mandatory drug test during intake “lit up like a Christmas tree,” making all her ensuing claims seem like manipulation. Whether it be concerning her so-called drug abuse, declarations about the establishment itself, or related sexual traumatic incidents within, she wasn’t heard for a second, let alone believed. “I was like, ‘Is this a f**king joke?'” she candidly expressed in the aforementioned production. “I’d never done drugs, But I had no way to refute it…How am I supposed to prove to you that it didn’t?”

Alexa then added that after a while, all she heard from her parents, facilitators, plus peers was, “You need to talk more about drugs. Until you’re able to take accountability for your actions, until you stop paying the victim, you are never going to progress.” Therefore, in a desperate attempt to move forward, graduate, and leave this school as quickly as possible, she began lying about using every kind of substance she’d heard of. She was even nicknamed “crackw***e” once she “confessed,” as per the Katherine Kubler-directed docuseries, but her recovered records now show she was completely clean, and her parents still do not believe her.

However, what affected Alexa the most was the sexual abuse as well as the intense moral dilemma she faced in her 22 months there — she actually did stick through and graduated in 2006. “The way [this unidentified female assailant/staff member] manipulated girls into wanting attention in the first place was really f**ked up,” she candidly asserted in the show. “I mean, it was very strategic… Well, basically, once she had her eyes set on somebody, it was a lot of love bombing first. With me, in particular, there was so much attention paid to me, and I was eating it up, just being so starved for love. Then like, things started getting very weird.”

Alexa continued, “At first, it started with touching. Like nonsexual touch. Very platonic. Very caring way, you know? Where it’d be if I’m crying, it’s something where… it feels like a mom. What kind of happened after that is you get love and you get adoration from this person, and then all of a sudden, you’re shunned… But you see her do that to other people, so you’re like, ‘What did I do wrong? How Did I f**k up? I was just starting to be loved by this person, and now they’re looking at somebody else. So the next time she calls you in and wants to take it a step further, you’re [so attention deprived], you’re like, ‘Please! Please. Please, touch me…”

“You know, you can’t even smile at another human being [at the Ivy Ridge institution],” Alexa said while trying to hold back sobs. “Then you have somebody who is pouring so much predatory love and affection on you. But the only thing you’re able to receive or the only thing you’re able to feel is ‘I matter.’ It was not innocent… To be honest, I can still feel her – – I can still feel her breathing on my neck. I can still smell what she smells like. After, I remember literally pretending to be asleep, like, ‘Please don’t. Please don’t.’ There was multiple times that it happened. Multiple times. She’s a f**king pedophile. She ruined my life in so many ways.”

Alexa Brand is Now Moving On as a World Traveling Photographer

Although every day at the establishment felt like a lifetime to Alexa, she did gradually rise up all levels and became not only its literal poster child but also a dorm leader/rep for younger students. And that’s honestly probably one of her biggest regrets since she followed the norm, meaning she went on to physically restrain, cut points, and hence be a cause of emotional pain to several of her peers.

Nevertheless, today, Alexa appears to be doing her best to atone for her actions while also attempting to move on in life — in fact, despite her diploma from Ivy not being valid as it was never a real school, she seems to be doing well these days as a world traveling wildlife photographer. We should also mention that while we don’t know much regarding this survivor’s bond with her family or her personal romantic relationships at the moment, we do know she’s a proud dog mom, plus at least a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Read More: The Program: Where Are the Academy Ivy Ridge Survivors Now?