Precious Lee Sets Her Sights Beyond Fashion

Photographs by Rafael Pavarotti
Styled by Ibrahim Kamara
Interview by Jenny Comita

Precious Lee in a black top with a huge belt, white skirt, and fishnets on the cover of W Magazine's...
Precious Lee wears an Akris jacket; Ashlyn skirt; Cartier necklace; vintage Marc Jacobs belt; Giuseppe Zanotti shoes; Elomi bra; stylist’s own fishnets.

W’s 50th Anniversary Issue is an all-out supermodel celebration featuring 17 cover stars ranging from the world’s most famous names to women who are well on their way to total fashion domination. See every cover model here and read Jenny Comita’s essay about the evolution of the beauty standards that define the industry here.

What is most exciting to you about working as a model right now?

What’s super exciting is seeing the work that I’ve put in get me to the level that I can work with designers and walk certain runways and book certain publications. I’m in so much gratitude and loving the process. I started in this industry from the bottom. Hard work, dedication, and perseverance has brought me here.

Prada jacket, tank top, and shoes; Patricia Underwood hat; Cartier necklace; stylist’s own belt, thigh-highs, and tights.

Marni dress; Intimissimi bra; Prada tank top; Cartier necklace; stylist’s own gloves.


Do you have specific goals in mind when it comes to your modeling career?

It’s very important for me to be connected to the visuals that I’m bringing to people because the focus for me is really bigger. As far as the runways I’m gracing, I’ve always reached for the top. My goals have always been huge, and I’ve been in rooms where people truly did not understand how I could aim that high or believe that I could accomplish what I wanted to do. I’ve always been a curvy girl, since I was a child. Beyond what fashion people think about how I look, I feel like myself as a child would have appreciated really seeing it. What I’m trying to do with my career is to really transform imagery as a whole. I want to do that in fashion, I want to do that in film and TV.

Were there certain models you looked up to?

I’m grateful for people like Iman and Naomi. Iman’s regality is innate. But I inherited an innate sense of who I am and my worth from my mom. That’s how she carried herself. I realize now, at this point of my career, how much I value that love and energy that she’s given me. She’s been calling me a supermodel since the first casting I ever had. I didn’t even have my comp cards yet! That was the energy from year one. She is my number-one fan and hype woman.

Gucci cape; Akris jacket and skirt; Cartier necklace; Jimmy Choo shoes; her own bra; stylist’s own thigh-highs.

The Brazilian photographer Rafael Pavarotti has established himself with a clear eye for composition and a fondness of vibrant colors. He captured Precious Lee, Bella Hadid, Anok Yai, Kendall Jenner, and Adut Akech—models with a strong point of view and an even stronger sense of self.

Hair by Eugene Souleiman at Streeters; makeup by Chiao-Li Hsu for Lashify at CLM; manicures by Eri Handa for Chanel Beauty at Home Agency. Casting by Michelle Lee at Michelle Lee Casting. Set design by Mary Howard at MHS Artists.

Precious Lee at IMG; produced by PRODn at Art + Commerce; production manager: Mitch Baker; producers: Kait Robinson, Ian Milan; photo assistants: Felix Turnbull-Walter, Valdrin Rexhepi, John Griffith; digital technician: Paul Allister; on-set retoucher: Pawel Okol; retouching: DTouch London; fashion assistants: Felix Paradza, Marion Kelly; production assistants: Ryan Carter, Rance Gensemer, Kelli McGuire; hair assistants: Pamela Baumgartner, Christine Moore, Anastasiia Milyaeva; special thanks to David at Fourteenjay Salon; makeup assistants: Mert Nazlim, Iona Moura; manicure assistant: Yoshimi Muranashi; set assistants: Montana Pugh, Michael Newton, Kylie Baker, Jason Beaucourt, Brendan Galvin, Ben Redding, Breanna Dejesus; tailor: Olga Dudnik; props: Hook Props; special thanks to Hook Studio