You’ve probably caught wind of Alexa Ray Joel’s crazy-beautiful spread in the Sport’s Illustrated 2017 Swimsuit Issue, but this girl didn’t just drop from the sky and straight into SI.
Joel has been kicking around the public eye pretty much since she was born, though she isn’t quite a household name — yet. But considering how talented she is, she’s definitely destined for greatness. We took a quick look around her Instagram page and were, like, “Damn, this girl is cool.” Here’s a little about her — and trust us, once you get to know her, she’s the kinda girl you wish were your best friend.
1. She’s got good genes
Well, duh. When your mom is Christie Brinkley, you and your siblings are bound to be gorgeous. But, seriously, just look at Joel and her family. Just look at them.
2. She can sang
Remember those genes we were just talking about? Joel is double dipping. She’s got the knockout looks genes from her mom and the musical savant genes from her dad, Billy Joel.
3. She got bullied online for her looks
It’s hard to believe anyone could ever say anything bad about Joel’s appearance or talent, but in 2013, Brinkley admitted in an interview that she had to defend her daughter against online trolls.
“They would be like, she looks like the father, she sounds like the mother. This isn’t gonna work out,” Brinkley told Anderson Cooper. “It was cruel. In writing. First of all, I think my ex-husband and my daughter were both beautiful, talented, wonderful… and it really hurt to see the nasty criticism… It bothers me as a human that our society has gotten to this level.”
4. But she’s taking a stand against it too
Joel recently hit back against online commenters who make ugly statements about her online like it’s a sport, and stated her opinion that it’s a huge problem in our society as a whole.
“I think it’s important to look at how we are treating all of our girls in today’s society, and see what we can do to build up both ourselves and others, instead of degrading, judging and comparing,” she said to NewBeauty magazine.
5. She’s got a Manzo connection
If you’re a Real Housewives of New Jersey fan, you probably recognize Joel from an episode way back in Season 3 in which she had a brief cameo in Episode 11. Joel performed her song “All I Can Do Is Love” — and caught the eye of one Albie Manzo. Mama Manzo approves.
6. She really, really loves her mama
“Mom is like my little pocket of sunshine,” Joel said to NewBeauty of Brinkley. “I always say she’s the ‘sun to my moon.’ Mom was so unconditionally loving and encouraging about it all.”
7. She’s got a way with words
Her dad is one of the most celebrated singer-songwriters of our time, and Joel clearly got her songwriting abilities from the piano man. But songs aren’t the only pieces Joel writes. She regularly posts poems and other musings on her social media.
8. She says growing up the child of two mega-celebrities was no walk in the park
It’s obvious that Joel loves both of her parents dearly, but she admits it wasn’t easy growing up with the attention that comes with celebrity — like all the harsh comments about her appearance we mentioned earlier.
“I was a very sensitive, painfully shy young woman and I probably wasn’t ready for the limelight and I think it did hit me really hard,” she said in a 2014 interview with ABC News. “But I’m really grateful for it. I think that anything you go through in life… whether it’s obstacles, you learn to overcome them and it just builds character. And it also makes for really good songs.”
9. Her dad is in awe of her
In almost every picture of Joel and her dad, he’s stealing looks at her that bring a tear to your eye. You can tell he loves his little girl with all his heart.
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.