Article: Meet The Black British Model Who's Smashing Barriers

(Article originally published on Buzzfeed UK // Photography by Laura Gallant)
“You are valid, you can do anything, you are intelligent, and you deserve to be heard.” This is what south London model Leomie Anderson wants young girls to know, especially young black girls.
“Along the way you’re going to hear all these stereotypes that they like to force upon young black women – ‘you're too loud, you’re being aggressive, you’re being a diva’ –but don’t take any notice of that. Just be unapologetically yourself and remember your voice matters."
There aren’t a lot of prominent black models from the UK, let alone models who want to see a change for the foreseeable future for young girls, and 24-year-old Anderson is making waves.
The 5-foot-10 model has posed for some of the highest brands in the world, including Tom Ford, Marc Jacob, and Moschino, just to name a few, and has walked at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show twice. It’s obvious she’s a total badass but she feels like she has more to give the world than just modelling.
After a blog post she wrote in April 2016 about consent and the pressure for young girls to have sex went super viral, “I was blown away with how much attention it received," she told BuzzFeed News. "I knew I couldn’t just stop there.” That’s when she took the initiative to create her own platform, Leomie Anderson the Project the Purpose, or LAPP, which is both a clothing brand and a blog that features lots of stories about female empowerment.
LAPP fills a gap she believes young girls need – a “safe space” they can turn to if they need advice on sex, career, relationships and a whole heap of other issues that affect young girls. “I do a lot of the work by myself," she said, "but now I have two interns helping me, but I still make sure I read everything that goes on the site, especially the sensitive content.” Anderson said she sets aside time to talk to writers who have written on sensitive topics for the site, to ensure that they have someone to confide in.
She said speaking at an all-girl school last year really inspired her to bring LAPP to life: “When I asked the girls who they would turn to when they needed advice on sex, career, and relationships, they told me that if they didn't have an older sister or cousin they wouldn’t have anyone to confide in.”
During this conversation she learned that girls as young as 15 were thinking about taking their own life due to leaked nude pictures, and some had even succeeded in doing so. “I felt sad knowing how much these girls have to deal with from such a young age," she said. "It's evident that things like social media have really changed how young girls grow up and what they believe is the norm."
Anderson has now been crowned “model activist” at the Yahoo’s Diversity in Beauty Awards: Celebrating Inclusiveness and Innovation 2017. “It felt great to be recognised for the hard work I am doing,” she said. “I just want it [her brand] to be real because we live in a very superficial time, especially for young people. I wanted to do something inspiring and different for young women to look up to. In this social media age, young people have a lot of people to look up to, YouTubers and influencers, and I want to create something where real women give real advice and real stories.”
Anderson, who is a massive Rihanna fan, was beyond excited when she saw her idol debut an LAPP jumper with “this p***y grabs back” written on it at the Women's March in New York in February 2017. “Rihanna is inspirational – you can tell she puts her heart into everything she is passionate about and it resonates with people," Anderson said. "She's unapologetically herself through everything and that's something I love and respect about her. It was so important she wore a LAPP jumper. She gave so much awareness to my clothing line and also my blog.”
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Read full profile here.

Team Credits

Victoria Sanusi

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  • Reporter, Buzzfeed UK
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Martina Palazzi

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  • I just finished my exams in Italy and now I have a diploma
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