Lexie Bean came to New York three years ago from Michigan with the hopes of making her mark as an actress. However, she envisioned her journey on a more ambiguous plane. “I wanted to come here to tell stories,” said the Ohio born native. On the other hand, the tumult most encounter in the ultimate unfolding of their story took a turn in the right direction before even getting here. It began with a question.
“I asked a friend if there was a world on a snowflake, what do you think would be on it,” Bean recalled the discourse. Three years later, the conversation has yielded a eye opening children’s video. Overwhelmingly endearing, The Ship We Built has the power to not only pull a child in but endeavors to include those like her who were once left out.
Six Minutes of Sweetness
The six minute tale sets you at ease right from the start. Situated on a snowy white background, centripetal motion is not a disruptive force in this ship's case. Glistening blue snowflakes unwind on their axil and are paired with a strum set to soothe. “Rosalie Eck did the artwork and my friend Harry Rubin-Falcone helped me with the music and animation,” she said.
Drawn in, Bean’s narration doesn’t break the flow and gives voice to the escape. “I want to live inside a snowflake,” she pines. “I want to live somewhere that feels not so heavy.”
Pleasingly, Dora accompanies Lexie for the ride. Swinging from the chandeliers, while playing catch with paper airplanes, Bean doesn’t boast to express the depth of her feeling. “I like Dora.” She’s succinct.
But this “crush” isn’t ground in certainty. “I don’t know what this closeness means,” Lexie narrates.
Lexie knows from experience.
That’s where the surface story takes a turn toward her own experience. “Young LBGTQ children,” she says, “I had that in mind. Because when I was younger, I did have crushes on girls. But I didn’t know they were crushes. I didn’t think I could have crushes on someone who wasn’t a boy.”
Certainly not the first to point a children’s story in this direction, Bean still thinks she’s breaking new ground. “LGBTQ books made for children aren’t necessarily about relationships,” she says. “They are usually revolving around the parent.”
This leaves Bean seeking an audience that hovers around nine years of age. “I picked that age because it’s young enough where kids are still allowed to have an imagination. But they're old enough to have an understanding that there are different kinds of friends,” she instructs.
The Ship, though, leaves it open and asks the questions that she was probably familiar with. “Can a crush make you feel big? The big feelings that come with matching hearts,” Bean narrates.
Hurt and broken gearts are part of the story.
A mismatch also gets its say, and the hurt that weighs down any heart which is put out. “I once had a crush on a boy named Istvan. He laughed when I told him about my bellybutton. And the colors I see when I squint my eyes out of my bedroom window to look for a glimmer of tin foil stars,” she laments. “He made me feel like a leftover idea crumbled into notebook paper.”
She hopes sharing the sadness can help reveal the glimmer that is within reach no matter the pain. “You have the power of having at least one person who sees you,” she says.
She’s lucky enough to not have gone unnoticed herself and Dora encapsulates her journey to this point. “I was thinking of all the people I love and then made a collage into one person,” Bean revealed.
Beyond those clicking on Youtube, The Locomoción Fest in Mexico City will view her myriad at the end of the month. At the same time, Bean hopes she can create a number of similar picture books and video animations to go with them.
On the other hand, she doesn’t put the personal accolades ahead of the potential impact and what occurs as she takes a turn inside her endearing flurry. “It makes me wish I saw this when I was little,” she concludes.