Get To Know Leomie Anderson

    meet the outspoken 'model citizen'

    by jessica bumpus · February 22, 2016

    Photographed by Bella Howard.

    Leomie Anderson's been in the headlines lately for her frank and necessary comments about makeup artists and hairstylists who are unprepared to work with models of color. The following feature appears in the March 2016 issue of NYLON.

    “Everyone loved it, but it’s the weirdest thing to me because I haven’t even got any boobs!” declares the 23-year-old Leomie Anderson with an effusive laugh, referring to the end-of-runway shimmy seen ’round the world that she delivered during her recent Victoria’s Secret fashion show debut. “That’s why it’s so funny, because nothing was moving except the outfit!” 

    As we chat post-photo shoot in her native London, the tracksuit-sporting self-confessed foodie and newly appointed Angel fills the room with her sparkly energy. “The reason I wanted to do the Victoria’s Secret show is because it’s one of the only ones where the girls get to show their personalities, instead of pretending to be somebody else,” she says, flashing a charismatic smile. “It’s one of those shows I always looked at and wondered what I would do at the end of the runway.” 

    The opportunity represented a big break in Anderson’s career, which started when she was scouted at age 14 on the way home from school—rocking red hair and blue mascara, no less. “I looked crazy, but they still saw the potential, which is cool,” she recalls. At the time, modeling was not on her radar, but she did aspire to work in fashion. “That’s one thing I always knew. I wanted to create content for a fashion magazine or website, and then I thought maybe I wanted to do something in TV,” she explains.

    Click through the gallery to continue the feature.

    Hair: Sven Bayerbach at Carol Hayes Management London using Bumble and bumble. Makeup: Theresa Davies at Carol Hayes Management Mondon using M.A.C Cosmetics. 

    <p class="p2"><span class="s1">As fate would have it, her first fashion week season came at a time when Premier Model Management, the agency that discovered her, became the focus of a weekly reality television show in the U.K. called <em>The Model Agency</em>, and Anderson ended up having a starring role. &ldquo;People remind me about it more than I think about it, but it was a good experience and nice to be able to look back at,&rdquo; she reflects. Fastforward to 2012 and she launched a blog, CrackedChinaCup.com, which, aside from documenting her backstage fashion week diaries and what she&rsquo;s wearing or obsessing over at the moment, is also a pretty good place to find some real talk. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s honest, because there are aspects of my job that are hard. I show the truth, and that&rsquo;s really important to me,&rdquo; she says.&nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p2"><span class="s1">Take, for instance, Anderson&rsquo;s two cents on interpersonal relationships. &ldquo;The best advice I would give someone is &lsquo;no new friends.&rsquo; Stick with your people. Don&rsquo;t try and switch it up because you&rsquo;re in a new environment&mdash;bring your friends with you,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what&rsquo;s going to keep you grounded. Look at Rihanna&mdash;#NoNewFriends.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p2"><span class="s1">Her other note of wisdom: embrace social media. &ldquo;When models tell me they don&rsquo;t have Instagram, I&rsquo;m just thinking, &lsquo;You&rsquo;ve played yourself, mate. You&rsquo;re not impressing anyone by not having Instagram, because at the end of the day if you put our job down in its simplest form, we&rsquo;re paid for our image.&rsquo;&rdquo; Followers, she shrewdly points out, are currency.</span></p>

    Photographed by Bella Howard.

    As fate would have it, her first fashion week season came at a time when Premier Model Management, the agency that discovered her, became the focus of a weekly reality television show in the U.K. called The Model Agency, and Anderson ended up having a starring role. “People remind me about it more than I think about it, but it was a good experience and nice to be able to look back at,” she reflects. Fastforward to 2012 and she launched a blog, CrackedChinaCup.com, which, aside from documenting her backstage fashion week diaries and what she’s wearing or obsessing over at the moment, is also a pretty good place to find some real talk. “It’s honest, because there are aspects of my job that are hard. I show the truth, and that’s really important to me,” she says. 

    Take, for instance, Anderson’s two cents on interpersonal relationships. “The best advice I would give someone is ‘no new friends.’ Stick with your people. Don’t try and switch it up because you’re in a new environment—bring your friends with you,” she says. “That’s what’s going to keep you grounded. Look at Rihanna—#NoNewFriends.” 

    Her other note of wisdom: embrace social media. “When models tell me they don’t have Instagram, I’m just thinking, ‘You’ve played yourself, mate. You’re not impressing anyone by not having Instagram, because at the end of the day if you put our job down in its simplest form, we’re paid for our image.’” Followers, she shrewdly points out, are currency.

    <p class="p2"><span class="s1">We&rsquo;ll take her word for it, especially considering that she has managed to build herself an impressive CV, which includes working with Italian <em>Vogue</em> and walking for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Chlo&eacute;. (You&rsquo;ve even seen her grace our fashion pages just this past December.) She names her friend Jourdan Dunn as a big inspiration: &ldquo;You can see she started from the bottom, she worked her way up, and now she&rsquo;s at supermodel status. It wasn&rsquo;t just handed to her on a plate. And throughout the whole thing she&rsquo;s stayed the same.&rdquo; &nbsp;</span></p>
<p class="p2">Off the catwalk and away from the lens, Anderson splits her time between South London and Harlem, New York (because you &ldquo;don&rsquo;t see any fashion people,&rdquo;&nbsp;she adds). Her hobbies include providing running commentary&nbsp;during movies and listening to rising U.K. musical acts like Lancey Foux (who also happens to be her boyfriend) and Bree Runway.</p>
<p class="p2"><span class="s1">What&rsquo;s next for her? &ldquo;Who knows! I don&rsquo;t even know what I&rsquo;m doing&nbsp;tomorrow. I don&rsquo;t even know what I&rsquo;m going to eat tonight,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m just going with the flow of life. Hopefully big things, but I know this year is going to be a good year.&rdquo; Something tells us it is, too.</span></p>

    Anderson and Lancey Foux. Photographed by Bella Howard.

    We’ll take her word for it, especially considering that she has managed to build herself an impressive CV, which includes working with Italian Vogue and walking for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Chloé. (You’ve even seen her grace our fashion pages just this past December.) She names her friend Jourdan Dunn as a big inspiration: “You can see she started from the bottom, she worked her way up, and now she’s at supermodel status. It wasn’t just handed to her on a plate. And throughout the whole thing she’s stayed the same.”  

    Off the catwalk and away from the lens, Anderson splits her time between South London and Harlem, New York (because you “don’t see any fashion people,” she adds). Her hobbies include providing running commentary during movies and listening to rising U.K. musical acts like Lancey Foux (who also happens to be her boyfriend) and Bree Runway.

    What’s next for her? “Who knows! I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow. I don’t even know what I’m going to eat tonight,” she says. “I’m just going with the flow of life. Hopefully big things, but I know this year is going to be a good year.” Something tells us it is, too.

    Tags: fashion
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