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Photo: Courtesy of Leomie Anderson / @leomieanderson
If you haven’t heard of Leomie Anderson, you will soon. A regular on the fashion scene since her debut back in 2010, the British-born model has been steadily rising through the ranks with high-profile work for such brands as Topshop and Moschino, most recently earning a spot on the Victoria’s Secret runway alongside the likes of Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio. With a burgeoning presence as a beauty and lifestyle vlogger, Anderson is living proof that when it comes to carving out a niche for yourself in the fashion industry, personality can carry you a long way. “In modeling you’re always being made into someone else’s image; the hair, the makeup, this and that,” says Anderson. “My blog is where I get to express who I am.” We caught up with the next big thing to talk preshow jitters, self-confidence, and her hopes for diversity in the fashion industry.
Modeling turned her into a foodie.
“I love experiencing new foods; I want to try everything. These days I’m not picky when it comes to food, but I was before I started modeling. Modeling is actually what made me much more open to new foods, because if you’re on set and they only have some couscous, you have to eat it. Then you start realizing this is okay, so right now I’m interested in trying as much as I can. That’s the only thing New York has over London; you guys have a lot more food!”
When it came to the Victoria’s Secret show, the third time was the charm.
“It was my third casting for [VS], and when I came in I said, ‘Third time’s a charm—I didn’t install this weave for nothing!” That lightened the mood a bit. I figured I’ll just show my personality, and if they like it, they like it; if they don’t, they don’t. It paid off in the end. All the other times I felt like I wasn’t ready. This time I went in and I knew I was ready; it wasn’t as scary as before. And backstage, the [Victoria’s Secret] show was insane—I loved every minute of it. Everyone’s excited: Adriana’s thrilled and it’s her 16th time doing it. I’m excited, and it is my first. Because Fashion Week is so hard, often models don’t get to really enjoy the experience, but with VS, since it happens only once a year, everyone is just positive and happy to be there.”
As you sow, so shall you reap.
“This year I was determined to focus on my career. I thought to myself, You can’t just let opportunities escape you; you can’t just sit back. I enjoy being in London with my friends and family, but I know that career-wise I have to be here in New York. I put my head down and it has all been worth it; this year felt like I had been sowing seeds and now I finally get to reap the rewards.”
Her blog and YouTube channel let her share her personality with the world.
“In modeling you’re always being made into someone else’s image; the hair, the makeup, this and that. My blog is where I get to express who I am and what my interests are. I started it because it just seemed like something fun to do, but people have responded to it. With my blog, I document all my interests—beauty, fashion, travel, et cetera. I do Fashion Week diaries to show people what it is like for us behind the scenes. I enjoy editing videos, so I do a lot of video content as well.”
When her fans ask, they will receive.
“I did a body confidence video because people were asking me on Tumblr about it. They wanted to know what it was like working in a business with tons of other beautiful girls and how to maintain confidence when you’re dealing with something so looks-based. It was interesting for me because I never really thought that people wanted to know my thoughts on things. If I can put something out there that can inform people or help them, that is great—plus I just love doing it.”
Her goal for 2016? It’s all about representation.
“One of my dreams for 2016 is to work with beauty brands. When you go into stores nowadays, even if they have makeup for darker skin, the advertising is always fronted by lighter-skinned models or white models. I would love to show that you can be a dark-skinned model and represent a makeup brand that does all kinds of skin tones. It isn’t fair that when you go into a department store, even if it has your color, you look around and don’t see anyone who represents you. I think that’s really important. It’s not just because it’s a great modeling job, it’s because I’ve gotten so many letters from young girls who’ve told me that seeing me makes them feel more comfortable in their skin.”