A hero in every sense of the word, Leomie Anderson really is a super-model, one with a mission to make the world a better place for women everywhere. When she’s not revolutionizing the runway or bringing modern beauty to the pages of our favorite fashion magazines, Leomie is giving girls a place to express themselves. As her fame in the fashion industry grew, she realized that there was power in her own voice—when she spoke, people listened. “I wanted to create a community where women from all walks of life could have their voices heard and inspire others. I think we need to keep speaking up and having conversations about diversity and representation in order to truly see change,” she explains.
It’s this vision that drove Leomie to launch her platform. LAPP, and what continues to be foundational to all her endeavors as both a model and entrepreneur. It’s not an easy feat, but as we mentioned before, Leomie is no ordinary model. Here’s how she’s doing it all.
We first met Leomie Anderson, the fashion model. What did the initial journey to that breakthrough moment look like?
I was scouted when I was coming home from school at the age of 14 but didn’t do any big jobs until I was 17; that’s when things were really out in motion. However, before I could get the big shows, there was the living in the model apartment, trekking from casting to casting and rejection before I got to where I am today.
With the launch of LAPP, you quickly added business owner to your resume. Did you always plan on pivoting into entrepreneurship alongside modeling?
I’ve always known that I wanted to other things whilst modelling to fully take advantage of the network we naturally build in our field but had no idea it would amass to something as big as LAPP. Before I really started making a name for myself I had my own blog and YouTube channel, so it was always natural to me to work on projects outside of modelling.
Do you feel a responsibility to use your platform and insight as a professional model to make a positive impact in some way? Do people in powerful positions within celebrity culture hold this responsibility?
I don’t think it’s fair to say that just because someone is a celebrity or person of influence that they are automatically meant to be a role model or an activist. I personally, wanted to make sure I was a role model to younger black girls but that’s not to say that everyone should take on that responsibility.
What were some of your earliest career aspirations and expectations, and how have they changed?
I used to want to get all the covers and editorials and couture shows but now my focus is more on becoming the face of a brand and being able to collaborate with them on more than just modeling.
What does your day-to-day look like, depending on what hat you’re wearing?
No matter what day it is, I’m always working on some aspect of LAPP, be it reading submissions, speaking with suppliers in China, catching up with my amazing team; LAPP is a 24/7 thing. Even when I’m on set at shoots I’ll be working on it between shots or at lunchtime!
What does Leomie on the set of a shoot versus Leomie leading a brand meeting look like?
On a shoot I try to main a level of professionalism and try to understand how best the team will work. For example, some photographers are more relaxed and talkative so I can make jokes and have banter but others like to focus and keep to themselves so I try to work with that. When I’m talking to my team, I know that they’re there because they believe in my brand and what I have to say so I can be more affirmative and direct but of course, in both situations, I try to show respect and understanding.
With so many different roles and responsibilities within your professional life, how do you prioritize and stay organized in order to manage it all?
I’m still working on the organization part lol, without my team, I doubt LAPP would even exist because they help me keep on top of things. You can’t be afraid to ask for help or say you don’t know something when you’re entering a new realm or you’ll just slow yourself down. I’m trying to use my calendar more but it’s still a process!
What have been the reoccurring struggles you’ve faced as a woman in both the modeling industry and as an entrepreneur?
Female models generally have the same struggles within the industry. Usually sexism, misogyny and just dealing with ignorant people but not being able to say anything back in fear it might affect your job, it’s not easy. At the moment I wouldn’t say I’ve had female orientated struggles in business but I’m still relatively new and so is my brand so, unfortunately, I know that at some point I will face situations that are negative solely because I’m a woman, especially being a black woman.
What have you learned about setting and accomplishing goals in your professional life? How about personal life?
I think with both, you can’t put a time limit on when you want things to happen because your journey will never map out exactly as planned, doesn’t mean the end result won’t be what you wanted though! In my personal life, I’ve learned to be patient with myself, review situations afterward and also make notes so you can look back and see your growth!
You’re an excellent public speaker and you don’t seem afraid to share your truth. It’s what we love about you. What advice can you give to women struggling to find their voice in a professional setting?
I’ve always enjoyed telling stories and conveying things to an audience—I was always made the narrator at school plays. In professional settings I find speaking on an issue as a whole is more beneficial than targeting the particular person who has subjected you to the situation; most issues speak more on the climate of the workplace or environment than they do of that individual. I do this because I don’t want to create a scapegoat, I want to start a conversation on the issue at hand because it’s never usually just one culprit; there’s always a bigger picture if that makes sense?
Do you take time to turn off from work, or to escape? What do you do to recharge and unwind?
I haven’t taken a holiday in two years because of work and starting my business and it’s been really hard and I wouldn’t recommend it. To unwind I try to do small things in the name of self-care, usually a pedicure or massage.
What’s next for Leomie, the model, the activist, and the business owner?
I’m focusing on building LAPP, getting it in stores and doing more collaborations with big brands. I worked with Nike last year on a project and that was really successful so who knows what’s to come for the next few months and years!