We teamed up with woman of the world Leanne Maskell for our latest campaign 'Wander This World'.
On shoot day, it's always exciting yet sometimes nerve wracking to meet new people that have been commissioned to come together to orchestrate something creative and which can also at times be an intense and high pressure environment - Needless to say once Leanne and I starting chatting the minute we met... we couldn't stop. Not just the usually chit chat... but seriously excellent conversation. Leanne has a degree in Law and told me about her latest project ...I simply got goose bumps!
Below is a little insight into her workings - Leanne is not just a face in front of the camera nor the pretty blonde on your Instagram feed... She is going to be one person who changes social perception and the exploitation of unrealistic bodyweight in the modelling and fashion industry.
Name: Leanne Maskell
Current location: London
Passion: helping make the world a better place and people happy!
Leanne you've just completed writing in incredibly important book, tell us...
My book - It is called ‘The Model Manifesto, Ending Exploitation by Education’. I put my 12 years of modelling experience and legal background into this book to educate aspiring and current models on their career from a practical, realistic standpoint and understand how to avoid exploitation. I also have had contributions from top agencies such as Models 1 and Premier to give their viewpoint and make it as effective as possible, with an aim to make model agencies licensed by the government and regulate the industry.
Hopefully it will also shed a bit of light onto the industry to show the public how the smoke and mirrors are quite literally that, and they shouldn’t compare themselves to models!
The driving force behind the book:
I became very depressed after modelling for so long with serious mental health issues like body dysmorphia after being forced to lose weight for years as a size 8 model. I had been manipulated into starting modelling and experienced years of abuse yet couldn’t stop doing it! Every single model I knew had exactly the same problems and it made me so angry that my friends compared themselves to models.
I knew the main issue was that no models knew their rights and what the reality of the industry is like so I wrote a blog post at first to pass on key bits of knowledge, like how to read a contract and pay a tax return. This ended up being so long that it turned into an book
The idea first came after my agency made me cry for having a 27 inch waist (that I had had all year and worked fine with) and emailed my client telling them I was overweight, who were shocked and told me. I had become so empowered working with brands that celebrate health and natural beauty in Byron Bay like Saint Helena that I decided to start using my voice without fear of repercussions as I knew there was a world where this didn’t have to be part of the norm. Moving to Byron Bay freed me from the constraints of normal societies where people face so much pressure to fit in.
How do you think the book can/will affect society?
I think it is important for people to know that models do not look they way they look in shoots, it is all lighting and make up and beautiful clothes. Please do not compare yourself to a model, celebrate your own unique beauty and know there is no amount of followers, likes, image or money that can make you any more perfect than you already are.
Most inspiring person:
My friend Ronni, who took me under her wing whilst living in Australia and taught me that women can be strong, independent and care for themselves. She brought Pandora jewellery to Australia after having to start again from nothing and has provided an amazing life for her three children as a single mum. Ronni now enjoys her life to the fullest and inspires me to do the same!
Current outlook: I am living back in London and feel like a different person to when I last lived here. I think the Byron spirit is embedded under my skin and into my heart. Nowadays I remember to ‘cheer up, chill out and slow down’ despite the craziness of living such a fast paced life. I try to always see the positive in everything and remember that all we can control is how we feel in the present moment.
Current life mantra:
Pretty much same as above but generally self love and self care. I have learned you can’t give anything to others if you’re not whole yourself.
Favourite part of the world:
Byron Bay, always. The people, the beauty, the nature - it will always be home.
Best ocean you have ever dived into?
There is nothing like Wategoes at sunset or a deserted beach like Whites! Saying that, Bondi is pretty special too. Probably the day I dived into Bondi dressed as a mermaid and had to be saved by a lifeguard, because she is now my best friend!
Anything else you wanted to share?
The Saint Helena shoot was one of my favourites I have ever shot because I felt like my healthy body was celebrated for the first time exactly how it was and the clothes made me feel so beautiful and happy. I particularly love the writing in the lining of the swimwear which is a story written by Shannon, it’s so amazing to hear how brands have started and the ethos behind them. I really love everything that Saint Helena stands for and feel so grateful to have been able to model on this season and campaign.