British model Leomie Anderson is most definitely a force of nature. When the 24-year-old isn’t walking the Victoria Secret’s catwalk or starring in campaigns for Nike, she’s using her platform to address issues and injustices facing women today.
Most recently she’s launched her own brand, LAPP, which stands for ‘Leomie Anderson the Project the Purpose’.
The products, and the accompanying website which welcomes female contributors, is “all about empowering women and promoting confidence, positivity and unity through fashion and creating another platform to voice women’s issues”.
We spoke to Anderson about what motivates her to push for change, how she practises self-care and why women shouldn’t see each other as competition.
What was the last thing you did that made you proud?
“Dropping the Nuditee Collection on LAPP The Brand was definitely a proud moment for me because I genuinely wanted to start conversations about body image and I feel these tees successfully do that.
“I’ve had two of my favourite plus-sized influencers Stephanie Yeboah and Grace F Victory praise the collection and its message, which totally made my whole day.”
Who inspires you and why?
“Rihanna is my biggest inspiration because she is testament that as a woman you can be all encompassing. You can be sexy, smart, successful all whilst being true to yourself, something I strive for everyday.”
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and keep pushing forward?
“I want my mum to be able to retire next year so in order to do that I need to work. I’m very close to all my family and have young female cousins who look up to me, I want to show them that we can come from the ordinary to create something that changed the world.”
How do you think society views successful women?
“Society views women with any sort of strength or ambition as intimidating and try to discredit their achievements; I definitely don’t feel there is enough support for successful women.”
Does success have a downside? If so, what is it?
“The more successful you are, the more assumptions people make about you and the higher their expectations of you.
“It’s easy to appear perfect on social media but people often forget that these are just snapshots of individuals lives, not a true reflection and that can make people feel like they know everything about you when they don’t.”
How do you practise self-care?
“Self-care is very important but I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been slacking in that department. We all are so focused on achieving as much as possible in such little time and seeing others do so on social media can make you feel like you’re not doing enough.
“My main tip to anyone struggling with the pressure would be to take breaks from your phone and to put it down 30 minutes before you sleep to not get distracted - without a good night sleep, your following day will feel so much longer.”
What’s your biggest regret? And what did you learn from it?
“Probably allowing a client to cut my hair without speaking to my agency because I felt like I needed to appear professional on my first big money job - I had just turned 17.
“I learned to always be vocal and express your feelings on jobs; there are ways you can defend yourself without being deemed unprofessional.”
If you had one piece of advice for other women, what would it be?
“Support one another, don’t allow anyone to tell you that someone is your competition when really we are all in our own lanes.”
What’s the one thing you would change or do in 2017 to push women forward?
“I definitely want to continue pushing the narrative that women’s voice deserve to be heard by getting LAPP out to even bigger audiences. I’ll be hosting more events and workshops this year in order to bring young women together; I feel one thing that we are desperately in need of is more initiatives to bring together women.”
Nike Beautiful x Powerful collection is available at Nike.com
Fierce is a regular feature on HuffPost UK, asking trailblazing women what drives them. We’ll be speaking to a range of women including those who’ve found success in male-dominated industries, created a service to help other women and those using their position to empower others.