INFLUENCER, model, and blogger, Lexi Oberheide—known as Lexi Mars—is the architect of her own success. Known for her inspirational sense of fashion and relatable lifestyle content, Mars has gained fame for her @leximars Instagram account.
Growing up in Lake Forest, however, she might have seemed destined for a more traditional path. Mars attended Lake Forest High School and excelled as a member of the dance team before going on to attend Texas Christian University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in advertising.
“I had two job offers in the advertising industry, and my parents were really hoping for me to take one of them—like most parents in Lake Forest, they wanted me to go down the ‘right path,’” she says, explaining that her family really wanted her to go the corporate route.
“But I couldn’t get my heart to be excited about it, and just kept asking myself: ‘Do I want to spend the rest of my life working to build someone else’s dreams, or do I want to build my own?’”
Mars chose the latter.
Despite facing disapproval from her family, she turned down both jobs, found a roommate on Craigslist, and moved to L.A to pursue acting and modeling.
“I had 10 different jobs keeping me afloat, not glamorous at all—from cleaning bathrooms at a dance studio for half minimum wage, to dog walking, to substitute teaching at a charter school,” she says.
Then one day, Mars’ life took an interesting turn when a manager for standup comedians overheard her sharing a story about her family and how they felt about her choices with moving to LA.
“They thought it was hilarious and before I knew it, I was thrown into the comedy world,” she says. She spent every day writing and was performing almost every night, and that got her to the point where she was in the main room at The Comedy Store—a legendary comedy club in L.A.
But it was her Lake Forest roots that helped her land that role.
“My family was the reason I got into standup comedy—by telling ridiculous stories about them,” Mars laughs. “They’re very Italian and outspoken with endless amounts to say and telling stories about them is what got me on those stages.”
Standup quickly became Mars’ outlet of choice.
“Comedy made me feel like I could be my authentic self and be loved for it,” she shares. “It gave me the confidence to say what’s on my mind, speak from my heart, and just do me.”
And that clearly shines through in the inspiring content she creates today.
After pursuing comedy for a year and half, Mars got burnt out and decided to take a break, switching gears to Instagram—just having fun, shooting with her friends during the day, and putting all her efforts into that. She started with travel-focused content before transitioning into fashion.
“I started getting emails from fashion brands offering me money to market their clothes. Some of these clothing brands were more sexualized and I knew lots of people who were making good money promoting those clothes,” Mars says, explaining that not only did she not want that to be her brand, but that her very Catholic, Italian grandma followed her on Instagram and (definitely) would not approve. “I really wanted to give this a shot and earn money with it, and hopefully one day make it a full-time career. So, I had to be creative about how to incorporate those clothes, because I couldn’t pass up that opportunity. That’s when I started getting into all the various ways different pieces could be styled and worn. I started getting millions of views on my videos, and my Instagram started taking off.”
Through it all, Mars says the hardest part was how alienated she felt at times from her family and friends in Lake Forest. However, she credits her best friend Jami Alix (who she met at the famous M Salon in the North Shore!) for not letting her quit in the beginning when she felt the pressure to.
Mars currently lives in Los Angeles with her high school sweetheart, Alex Plonsker but during the pandemic lockdowns, she spent most of the time home in Lake Forest with her family.
“It was great to come back and spend so much time in the place that shaped me. I got to reconnect with my roots and reconnect with some of my best friends from high school,” she adds. “It was a time period that I didn’t even know I needed but loved every second of it.”
Today, Mars’ family keeps her grounded, and they each have their own unique, funny ways to be in involved. Between paying her little brother, Frankie, $10 per outfit to take her photos on family vacations, to her grandma emailing her TikTok videos to make sure she’s keeping up with the trends, their support is endless.
In addition to creating Instagram content, TikTok videos, and blog posts about her lifestyle and favorite fashion and beauty brands, Mars also records entertaining vlogs on her YouTube channel. (We recommend checking out “MY FAMILY RATES MY PRETTY LITTLE THING OUTFITS,” where her aunts and grandma roast her outfits.) “Don’t worry, it only destroyed my self-confidence a little,” she quips.
Mars has obtained an audience of over 250,000 people/followers on social media. She’s been featured in numerous national campaigns and has worked with top fashion and beauty brands, including Revolve, Loreal, Salvatore Ferragamo, Mark Fisher, Clean and Clear, Frame Denim, Skims, Steve Madden, Waldorf Astoria, and The Ritz Carlton.
Between coming up with the creative concepts, location scouting and editing, to being your own stylist and manager, this lifestyle doesn’t come without hard work.
“As long as I’m continuously staying inspired, then I love it—but I can definitely fall into that hamster wheel of overworking myself,” Mars says. “I just want to exude happiness and positivity. I want people to feel like they can relate to me, that they can reach out to me, that I can be there for them and hopefully inspire them to chase their dreams too.”
That’s why she’s creating an online course that will be a step-by-step, in-depth guide on how to grow your social media following and work with fashion and beauty brands (which can be found at leximars.com). She’s hoping to have that out sometime this year to give other young women the confidence and guidance they need to carve their own path—to help them see that they, too, have the potential to follow their dreams.
Follow Lexi Mars on Instagram: @leximars; Tiktok: @leximars__; or YouTube: Lexi Mars