Last summer, the 5'9" brunette beauty nearly upstaged the Los Angeles premiere of Thor: The Dark World and found herself in the spotlight — as much for what she wore as for what she revealed — thanks to an Azzaro gown with sheer cutouts down the front and back.
Some applauded the daring style, while others asked whether "it showed off a little too much of her assets."
Alexander told Yahoo she was entirely unprepared for the chatter and shared her dress regrets. "You know, I am embarrassed to say it, but I think I was a little bit naïve. I had no idea it would get that much press. I swear on my life, I had no idea," she recalled, while wearing a more conservative little black dress at the Pathway to the Cures for Breast Cancer: A Fundraiser Benefiting Susan G. Komen and presented by Relativity Media and Pathway Genomics.
"When it did, it actually made me a little uncomfortable," she said at the event, which raises funds for genetic testing to combat breast cancer. "I have four brothers. I'm a sporty girl. I'm not someone who is provocative. But I love fashion, and that dress — to me — was superhero-ish. And I also think it's really not fair that women have to hide themselves so much, but men can go around without their shirts on. We have such beautiful bodies and minds and personalities, and one way of expressing our personality is through fashion."
At the time of the 2013 premiere, she called the dress "edgy but sort of classy," and she welcomed the opportunity to express her love of the dark color, architectural cuts, and her body confidence. "I also embrace the fact that I'm healthy and I work out, and I love my body," Alexander explained to Yahoo. "Nothing on my body is fake. I am an A cup, I am flat-chested, and I love it, and I'm 5'9". I never meant it to be offensive or anything like that," added the former high school wrestler, who says her classmates never saw her in a dress "other than prom."
"I thought, 'This dress fits me. I don't need to get it tailored, I have three days until the premiere, I'm busy shooting right now. Let's just get something that works. It looks cool. Why not?' It got way more attention than I was prepared for."
[Related: Has Cutout Clothing Gone Too Far?]
At least it covered all 10 of her tattoos, she joked. "My favorite are my initials of my four brothers — Brady, David, Chance, and Matt — on my right arm in a cross. And on my left wrist, I actually have a tattoo that says ES, which means 'elephant shoe' because when I was a kid I always used to say 'elephant shoe' instead of 'I love you.' When I look at it, it reminds me to remain childlike and celebrate life every day."
That perspective helped her shake off any negative memories after the premiere (although she hasn't worn a sheer dress since). "I thought, 'You know, life is short, and I'm just trying to express myself, I'm not trying to be offensive.' So why care what other people think? It's a waste of time. I might as well just go on with life and do what I like and try to express myself in a positive way. And that is really in a nutshell what I was trying to do. I would never do it for the shock value, and I didn't realize how shocking it would be."
Since the Thor premiere, a number of stars have also stepped out in their own sheer shockers — most notably Rihanna, who left very little to the imagination in a custom Adam Selman gown at the CFDA Fashion Awards. "Gwyneth's [Iron Man premiere dress] and my dress definitely set off a trend that is a little bit more risqué. I think some women have done it very tastefully, and some women…" she said, trailing off. "In my humble opinion, I wasn't a fan of [Rihanna's] dress. But that's art. You don't necessarily like art, and you can hate it but it's still art. The beauty of art is that not everyone is going to like it, but you want to stir up emotions and feelings. I feel like fashion is an artistic expression of who you are."