exclusive: model leomie anderson launches her very own female-focused platform
Entitled LAPP, Leomie is using her influence to help empower others through fashion and conversation.
Model Leomie Anderson is one of our favourite models for a plethora of reasons. Not only is she a runway favourite of Marc Jacobs, Moschino and Tom Ford, she's routinely on the pages of Italian Vogue and yours truly, and repped London to the fullest as one of the only British girls to walk the Victoria's Secret fashion show last year. But she's not just a pretty face, Leomie has snatched headlines by discussing some of the industry's most taboo subjects such as lack of diversity and beauty brands for darker skin tones, through her experiences as a model, and was on the cover of Observer Magazine discussing some of the issues she felt faced a younger generation of females.
Her blog, Cracked China Cup is sprinkled with self-penned articles and videos that showcase Leomie's tastes and interests in her own relatable and loveable way. She's also amassed a huge following (53.6k on Instagram and over 10k on Twitter since you asked), with connecting in particular to her younger female fans who regularly ask her for advice and guidance. After an open letter about consent written by Leomie went viral last year, she decided to turn the discourse into action and is now launching LAPP. Standing for Leomie Anderson, the Project, the Purpose, her site and accompanying capsule T-shirt collection (complete with slogans about how to say no in challenging situations) have all been designed to promote confidence and unity amongst young females. A social media call out by Leomie garnered over 50 submissions from women who wanted to write about whatever was on their mind and Leomie will be adding submissions as the platform progresses. We asked her what her thinking was behind LAPP as well as getting a sneak peak of the launch images and video below!
Following your consent post, why did you feel it important to launch LAPP?
After my post went viral, I went to an all-girls school in South London to speak to a group of students about what it was like dealing with the pressures they face and who they would turn to if they wanted to seek advice. A lot of them said their sisters or cousins but for those who didn't have that support system, they felt they had no-one or nowhere to go. I know so many women and girls who have something to say but fear they won't be heard because they don't have a huge following so I wanted to pull those two factors together and create a platform, for women, by women, where they can openly give their perspective on being a woman today. I felt like I had a responsibility as someone with a following to lend my voice to women and girls everywhere.
Have there been any situations where you've personally felt like your consent has been challenged?
Unfortunately, I feel like every woman has been in situations where their consent has been challenged. I've been insulted for not giving my number to someone, made to feel a certain way for refusing to give myself to someone and more, and I know that this is a story that most women identify with.
What are you hoping to achieve with LAPP?
I want to create a space where women's needs, thoughts and experiences matter first. I want women and girls to be able to come to LAPP and be able to speak on their experiences and reach a huge audience of other women all over the world; community is a really big aspect of the brand. I want young girls and women everywhere to visit LAPP and see it as a source of inspiration for every aspect of their everyday life.
Why was it important to launch a fashion element with it?
I've always used fashion as a way to express myself and make a statement. To me, fashion is kind of a universal language and has always been one of the best tools to communicate a message. I've started small with my first capsule collection which are phrases women can use to say no to men in situations that they don't feel comfortable with. I wanted to keep it very fun with the colours and fonts but also carry the message that it is cool for girls to say no under pressure, it is okay for women to say no to someone if they don't want to do something- it was all inspired by my post on consent.
What can society do to encourage women to talk more?
I definitely feel that one of the things society needs to stop doing is trivialising women's issues and judging them for speaking up. We face so many situations alone because we feel no one will listen to us or that we won't be taken seriously and that mentality is dangerous. For example, I had girls telling me they wouldn't tell their own mother if they were being pressured by a guy to do something because they thought they would be ashamed of them- this needs to end. I really want to go round to schools and set up workshops to speak to young women, I think we need to create a judgement-free environment for women to be able to open up.
Why is using your platform important to you and what are some of the things you have learnt by engaging with women around the world?
It's all good having a huge social media following but I feel it is a waste if you don't mobilise it. Having my own blog crackedchinacup.com opened my eyes to the potential reach I had; I had girls coming up to me in the most random places, Paris, New York; not to say they know me just as a model, but they've read or watched something I put out there that had inspired them and that made me feel really positive. I see women's achievements, experiences and issues overlooked everyday in the media, I wanted to do something with the voice I have to fight against that.
What are you hoping to do with LAPP in the future? Will it evolve further?
Honestly, the sky is the limit. The more interest and contributions I get, the bigger it can spread. I want to be able to connect and inspire with everything I do. I would love to do a Ted Talk in the future and be able to talk about how my small idea made a big change. I want people to see someone wearing a LAPP item and know what it represents too- I just want to be able to say I've helped do something positive for women and young girls in some way; what is the point in having an audience and not utilising it for good?
Who is your phenomenal woman?
I am really inspired by Rihanna, she is the epitome of a phenomenal woman. She has remained true to herself and been able to become an icon and inspiration to girls and women everywhere and she does it with such style. She isn't afraid to speak her mind or follow her heart which is exactly how I want to be. I never want people to second guess my capabilities just because I am a woman and she embodies just that.
Text Lynette Nylander