Alexis Galamay: The Petite Introvert
Alexis Galamay, a Filipino-Japanese American raised in South Florida, is a rising fourth-year pharmacy student. She is the creator of The Petite Introvert, a blog empowering Introverts to find lifestyle balance between self care and self growth. She wasn’t always a proud Introvert. For most of her life, she felt like her introversion was holding her back. During her undergraduate years at the University of Florida, she held multiple leadership roles and served as President of the Rho Chapter of Kappa Phi Lambda Sorority, Inc., an Asian-interest sorority on campus. After graduating with a Nutrition degree in 2015, she was accepted into the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, one of the top ten pharmacy schools in the United States. Not even a year later, she became President of the school’s chapter for the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, a leading hospital pharmacy organization. Although leadership has been an important theme in Alexis’s life, she struggled with the expectations that a good leader is one who is known by everyone and is a constant presence at social gatherings. She created The Petite Introvert to help other Introverts reach their fullest potential while being mindful of how they thrive, with solitude and a lot of reflection.
What led you to creating The Petite Introvert?
At the beginning of my third year of pharmacy school, I decided to take a gap year for my health. It was the hardest choice I ever made. I was a leader on campus, I had just finished a summer hospital pharmacy internship, and stopping the momentum didn’t feel like an option. Ultimately, what held me back was the fear of what people might think of me. Once I realized that, I was able to let go.
The first few months, I spent the little energy I had recovering, healing, and spending time with loved ones. I told myself that once I regained my energy and passion for life, I’d finally start a blog and help others the only way I know I can--through writing and vulnerability.
I started by asking myself, “What can I possibly offer?” I kept coming back to how I became an introverted leader despite being pushed and prodded to be the leader that makes grand speeches and works up a room.
This made me realize that I wanted to be the voice that I so desperately needed growing up. I wanted other Introverts to know and truly believe that it’s okay to be quiet, it’s okay to enjoy solitude, and neither of those things make you any less powerful or significant.
What was your relationship with your identity like and how did that affect The Petite Introvert?
Like many INFJ’s, I was confused about my identity. I’ve always been outgoing and wild with people I trust, but quiet and reserved with everyone else. I attribute that to my Filipino-American background. I grew up in Florida, just outside of Miami. We didn’t have much family there, but my parents created an extended family through our small Filipino community. Outside of my Catholic school where I was one out of three Asians in a sea of Hispanic and White peers, I had a lively childhood, filled with roaring laughter, karaoke, and dancing. I grew up having a love/hate relationship with my loud voice and even louder laugh. I often wanted to be invisible, but I always expressed myself with such power and emotion.
It was only 2 years ago when I first took the MBTI Test and found out I was an introvert. I remember thinking, “Great, that explains why I’m so awkward at networking and why I dread public speaking.” It felt like a curse. I ended up spending the better half of that year being hyper aware of my introversion and trying to “overcome” it.
When I started my gap year, I realized how far I’ve come as an introvert and not despite being an introvert. This newfound self-love was reflected in my writing on The Petite Introvert. I avoided harmful titles like, “How to Become An Extrovert”, and instead, focused on ways Introverts can grow without changing who they are.
What's the mission behind your brand?
I started The Petite Introvert because I wanted to show young womxn that you can be small in size or quiet & reserved, yet still make an impact. Introverts are often told that they simply cannot make it in this world as they are. They grow up learning
that quiet is not acceptable. The media sends the message that people only notice Introverts once they “break out of their shell”, essentially becoming extroverted. Introverts end up living with the facade that they thrive off being around others, when really they’d rather crawl into a corner and observe instead. Years of playing the part can only lead to burnout. I learned the hard way that pretending to be an extrovert is just not sustainable. I wanted to share with the world that you don’t need to change who you are at your core in order to make a difference in this world. Protect your energy. Find environments where you can thrive and don’t believe others when they say there’s no space for you. Take up space. Only you are in control of your mpact--don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
Why is diversity important to you?
I just don’t believe that I could ever tell my story without incorporating my identity as a Filipino and Japanese American. I wouldn’t want anyone else to hide their culture either. When I started my blog, I was tempted to leave out my cultural identity, making my content more relatable and easier to swallow. I quickly learned how icky and inauthentic it felt to leave out my experience as a woman of color.
Thankfully, I chose to be vulnerable and share my experiences exactly as they were. I found that even my most personal stories, specific to my unique background and culture, were more relatable than the stories where I tried to speak to everyone. Diversity is so important because it proves that we can be so different and still be the same. We have so much to learn from each other, but first we need to be comfortable with sharing our true selves. This will only happen once we accept diversity as the new norm.
What tips do you have for young aspiring creators/entrepreneurs/activists?
Don’t be afraid to test things out. If your content didn’t resonate with your audience, try again. Just remember that the world needs you as you are. Sometimes you just need to change the perspective.