Monday, December 16, 2013

Exclusive Interview - Leomie Anderson

Twenty year old Leomie Anderson possesses the kind of spark that pulsates through the room from the minute she sets foot on the runway or on set. Anderson's star quality shone incandescently at the Natalie Joos Casting in the lead up to the Spring/Summer 2014 season when IMA first became acquainted with the 178 cm British born newcomer. Anderson's jaw dropping spectacular looks are backed up by a natural charm, a wicked sense of humour, and an inimitable sense of style which translates in a word to "Everything" for casting directors and designers. Armed with a pragmatic but hopeful attitude, Anderson blitzed her way effortlessly through an epic Spring/Summer 2014 season logging 34 show bookings including appearances at Tom Ford, Chloé, Emilio Pucci, Antonio Marras, Byblos, and Giorgio Armani. Buoyed by the industry's sudden embrace of racial diversity on fashion's runways, Anderson and a battalion of black beauties descended on the runways with the most influence heralding a return to a more globalised and modern beauty aesthetic.

IMA caught up with Anderson recently while assisting on behalf of John Martinez Productions at the castings for Oscar de la Renta's Pre-Fall 2014 Presentation, and was floored yet again by the South Londoner's radiant smile, self-effacing humour, and unerring professionalism. Spending time with Anderson throughout the casting process, fittings, and backstage action, IMA caught glimpses of the model's multi-faceted talents which include a love of writing, an incredible knowledge of fashion and key industry players, and an ability to provide plenty of light relief when the going gets tough. Anderson chatted exclusively to IMA while sharing Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - about her hopes for the future, her love of blogging, the innate street style which has fashion pundits going gaga, and the ephemeral nature of Beauty.

Leomie Anderson
Photographer - William Lords
Image courtesy of Fusion Model Management


Inoubliable Model Army (IMA) - Hi Leomie, congratulations on a sensational Spring/Summer 2014 season. Have you managed to catch your breath yet and has the realisation of your achievements sunken in?
LA: Thanks so much! It has been a crazy couple of months and after Fashion Week, I went straight to work but it was nice to be in one place for a while! I'm still in shock at how well my season went!

IMA: When IMA met you during the Spring/Summer 2014 castings for Natalie Joos in New York, it was clear that you had a fire in your belly heading into the show season. What were your initial expectations and what do you feel are the key factors which have culminated in your best show season to date?
LA: I went into this season feeling hopeful but at the same time not getting my hopes up too high because sometimes when you want something too much it slips away. I just kept my confidence up and tried not to get too stressed over things you cannot control and I feel that helped me a lot this time round. 

IMA: Would you mind sharing a bit of your backstory with IMA's audience?
LA: Well, I'm 20 years old from South London and my grandparents are originally from Jamaica (you should definitely visit haha). I was scouted by Premier when I was coming home from school at age 14. Initially it took me a while to actually go into the agency but when I finally did I got signed straight away and as they say, the rest is history.

IMA: This season you landed some incredible show bookings across all four fashion capitals; Preen, Edun, Jeremy Scott, Tom Ford, Byblos, Emilio Pucci, Chloé, and Giorgio Armani! What were your personal Spring/Summer 2014 highlights both on and off the runway?
LA: On the runway it had to be seeing how Giorgio Armani worked behind the scenes in preparation for the shows. He is so passionate about his shows and the energy which we as models bring, which is refreshing. I remember he said "Walk with life. Don't walk like your cat just died" and that will always stick with me ha!

Tom Ford - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Chloé - S/S 2014
Photographer - Marcus Tondo
Source - style.com

Emilio Pucci - S/S 2014
Photographer - Monica Feudi
Source - style.com


IMA: The casting process can be particularly gruelling with literally hundreds of models vying for limited runway slots. What is your approach heading into castings and how have you learnt to deal with the constant physical assessment and at times rejection that is part and parcel of the modelling profession?
LA: I just don't take it to heart. Fashion is so fickle so when I'm rejected I can't take it personally at all. Also I make sure that I eat well throughout Fashion Week - I don't watch my weight or anything, but over the shows I walked over 13 miles most days and the last thing I needed at the end of the day was boring, crap food!

IMA: When I caught up with Natalie Joos, she mentioned you as one of the most impeccably dressed newcomers at her castings in New York during the Spring/Summer 2014 season. How would you describe your fashion aesthetic and which three designers best embody your street style?
LA: When Natalie said that, I felt so good! My style is definitely a mix of masculine and feminine shapes like they did in the 90's, so baggy jeans with a crop top or over-sized garments to add more texture to my outfit. But for castings I'm super preppy, you'll usually see me in a shirt, trousers or a skirt but in fun fabrics like mesh and patent leather. My favourite designers right now are definitely Alexander Wang, Acne, and Marques Almeida - I would love a pair of those infamous ripped jeans!

IMA: Let's get back to that phenomenal Tom Ford booking. What was involved in the casting process and what was your initial reaction when you were confirmed for the show?
LA: I had worked with Tom Ford before doing his showroom so I was familiar with the staff there and felt comfortable, I had to walk and try on a look and just kept praying I got it. When I did I was ecstatic as it was one of the biggest shows in London and I love his collections - I got two amazing looks in the show too which was sensational; definitely the highlight of London Fashion Week for me.

Photographer - Saty + Pratha
Source - fashiongonerogue.com

Leomie Anderson
Image courtesy of models.com

Vogue Italia Supplement - March 2011
Photographer - Phil Poynter
Source - thefashionspot.com


IMA: Diversity was on the minds of many casting directors for Spring/Summer 2014. Did you notice a shift in runway opportunities for black models and how does it feel to be part of this new collective of models of colour who are killing it on fashion's runways?
LA: Yeah, I definitely noticed more ethnic models being used and it was refreshing! In Milan I did ten shows (when I really wasn't expecting to get many at all) which was great but the key word now is consistency! It feels great to be one of the models killing the runways this season but I hope it isn't just for one season and I would like to see it translated into editorials and campaign work.

IMA: Being a pretty face is no longer enough with models being encouraged to showcase other interests and talents to add to their allure. What are your interests and passions beyond modelling?
LA: Well, I have a lot of interests including nail art and my blog and I am actually working with a company called DIY nails to launch a capsule collection of nail transfers so that's pretty fun! My blog is my baby though and I use it to show people about my life, job and interests; my blog has just relaunched with a new layout and content so I'm super excited.

IMA: IMA is a big fan of your blog "Cracked China Cup". How did you come up with the title for your blog and what was the impetus for you to start blogging?
LA: I'm a really random person so my blog name kind of just came to me and once I drew up the logo it all made sense to me; I guess I'm like the cup spilling my life to my readers. My life isn't one of a normal 20 year old so I wanted to give people an insight into what modelling is really like. Also, people would often ask where I bought items so it was just natural for me to start a blog.

IMA: What changes and new features can we expect to see in the redesign of "Cracked China Cup"?
LA: I've completely changed the layout so that people can view more content at one time so when you're reading one story, you can see a variety of others at the same time which encourages people to read more. I have also switched up the content for a more mature audience too and writing more fashion-related articles; it's good practise for me because I would love to write for a magazine one day. I am basically just upping the levels of my content and layout to make my blog even better.

Leomie Anderson in Action
Image courtesy of Cracked China Cup

Leomie Anderson & Betty Adewole with Tom Ford
Source - crackedchinacup.com

Backstage at Oscar de la Renta Pre-Fall 2014
Leomie Anderson, IMA, Annemijn Dijs, Maria Borges & Senait Gidey
Image remains property of Inoubliable Model Army

Harry Uzoka & Leomie Anderson
Photographer - Uncredited
Source - thefashionspot.com

Leomie & her mother Beverly Anderson
Photographer - Morwena Lytton Cobbold
Source - elle.com.au


IMA: Having a close support network is important especially given the vast amounts of time spent travelling or away from family and friends. Who are your closest buddies within the industry and how do you counter the loneliness that you job sometimes entails?
LA: Travelling is really lonely for models, especially if none of your friends are in town. However, once you make good friends, travelling can be fun. My closest friends are Betty Adewole, Devanie Joy (who I met this season), Malaika Firth, Flaviana Matata, and Jeneil Williams; all incredible people who I meet up with in New York and London and cause trouble with haha!

IMA: Your resumé includes editorial appearances in Teen Vogue, Vogue Italia, Wonderland, Another Magazine, and Flaunt. What are your long-term modelling aspirations and are there any key industry figures that you would love to collaborate with and why?
LA: I would love to do a big campaign some time soon; I've done smaller ones for brands such as Uniqlo but it would be amazing to be the face of a big, international brand. I would love to work with Nicola Formichetti as I love his style and he seems so cool, and I would also love to shoot with David LaChapelle; he seems crazy with mad energy and I love that in a photographer.

IMA: Imagine you are being photographed for the cover of British Vogue by Peter Lindbergh in a 2013 version of his Famous Five cover. Which four other models would you love to appear alongside if you could play casting director for a day?
LA: Well of course I would love to use a lot of ethnic model for such a project and would love to see Betty, Devanie, and Jeneil on there for sure. I also love the model Maggie Jablonski; she's young, beautiful, and fun with an amazing look. The final girl would probably be Jourdan Dunn as she is a fellow Brit who I cannot wait to see on a British Vogue cover!

IMA: What makes you "Inoubliable" (Unforgettable)?
LA: My personality. If I was to stop modelling tomorrow, I know I would be okay because my personality gets me through most things! Beauty fades but people always remember the girl with the big personality (oh and the best footwear too)!

Leomie Anderson
Photographer - Jeff Hahn
Source - jeff-hahn.com


Special thanks to Alex Shah at Premier Model Management and to Josh Bostwick at Fusion Models. For more information on Premier Model Management and Fusion Models, please log onto www.premiermodelmanagement.com and fusionmodelsnyc.com. Leomie Anderson's blog "Cracked China Cup" may be located at www.crackedchinacup.com

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