In early April, Leomie Anderson shared on Instagram that she had become a Victoria’s Secret Angel in a post that Bella Hadid, Jourdan Dunn, and more than 43,000 other people have liked since. But nearly a month—and 11 years of modeling—later, Anderson was still adjusting to the idea that her dream has become a reality. Not that she hasn’t been enjoying herself in the meantime: “I’m living the life!” she enthused on the phone from Miami, where she was celebrating the launch of Victoria’s Secret’s new Incredible Bra.
It’s no wonder Anderson isn’t taking the career milestone lightly. After all, by becoming an Angel, the Rihanna-endorsed 26-year-old is officially following in the footsteps of supers like Iman and Heidi Klum. (Not to mention ushering in the brand’s new, more diverse era.) But it isn’t lost on Anderson that there’s a deeper significance to the title too: She’s now the sixth black model to have joined the ranks of the 40 Angels that Victoria’s Secret has appointed since introducing the role in 1997. Others—perhaps even the first Asian Angel—will no doubt soon follow in her own footsteps, and Anderson, a longtime advocate of increased inclusivity in the industry, couldn’t be more thrilled.
Of course, Anderson is enjoying plenty of the position’s other perks, too. She sounded almost equally thrilled about the effects the promotion has had on her wardrobe, which is now home to a full rainbow of Incredible Bras, in addition to a gold mine of vintage finds. Luckily, Anderson is just as eager to share her tips for scouring eBay as she is to talk personal style and her new life as an Angel. Read on for all that and more in her Style Notes, here.
How did you first react to hearing you were going to be an Angel?
Well, I was having a really bad day at work, and Travis, my agent, texted me asking when I was going to be home, and I was like, “Why do you want to know so badly?” Once I got to my building, he and my booker Jodie were standing there, so I was like, “Okay, maybe something bad is happening—maybe you’re going to drop me.” Then, once I got into my apartment and they were like, “What’s something you’ve been really working toward, and working really hard for?” I didn’t know what to say—I was still trying to gauge the situation. And then they were like, “Well, guess what? You got a contract to be an Angel!” And I just said, “What are you talking about?”
I thought it was a joke, but then they told me they were being serious, so I cried, and then we celebrated. I was just trying to live in that moment. I’ve been modeling for 11 years now, so to finally get a big contract, and for it to be with a team of people I’ve worked with and I actually enjoy working with as well, is a dream come true.
You really didn’t see it coming at all?
Not at all. I had no idea. I had no inkling. I’ve looked up to the Victoria’s Secret Angels basically all my life, especially ever since I started modeling, and I never thought that I could be one, you know? I’m so thankful, and I’m so thankful that I’m able to do it while being myself.
You’ve become increasingly outspoken about the need for inclusivity in the industry. Was the fact that you were going to be the sixth black model to ever be made an Angel part of why it was so significant to you?
Yes, I’m very, very, very grateful for the opportunity to represent dark-skinned girls, especially because growing up I didn’t get to see many people like myself. Victoria’s Secret was actually one of the only places I could look to see black girls being celebrated, and being able to be themselves as well. I used to watch those women, like Naomi Campbell doing her walk, and think, “Wow, there is a space for someone like me in fashion.” And to be the first black British Angel and first Jamaican as well? I’m just so grateful to be able to show girls that you can be yourself, you can have a personality, you can speak out against things and speak up, and you can also be successful.
You’re in the middle of your very first press day for the brand. How’s it going?
I’m loving it. We’re in Miami with the warm weather right now, celebrating the launch of the Incredible Bra, so I’m living the life!
How many of them do you have at this point?
My collection is very extensive, I must say. I probably have around 10 different ones, and I’m trying a new color and combination every day. I love the side-smoothing technology, because you don’t have to worry about any inconsistencies on the side of body suits or T-shirts, but really my favorite thing about them is the range of colors, because I like to wear bras that contrast with my look. Lingerie should be worn to make you feel good; only you need to know that you have it on. But other times, I like to show it. [Laughs.]
Which is your favorite?
The neon colors—especially the neon green. You can wear it with a mesh black T-shirt or a mesh dress like the one I wore to Coachella. The fact that they have so many colors means that my wardrobe is just filled with life right now.
What are three words that describe your style?
Cozy, comfy, sporty.
What’s your go-to outfit for a day off?
A gray jumpsuit from my brand, LAPP—I wear it pretty much every day, and I helped design it as well—with my Victoria’s Secret embellished logo bra, because those diamonds give you a little kira kira. [Laughs.] It’s popping.
Who’s your ultimate style icon, and why?
Definitely Rihanna, because you never know what she’s going to wear. She’s the queen of switching up her style.
What’s the best fashion advice you ever received?
To understand that your personal style can change—that you can have fun with it and use it as a form of expression. It’s something I learned from my older brother, actually. He was the first fashion person I ever interacted with, and he was always playing around with what he wore.
What was your style like as a teen?
Terrible. Yeah. [Laughs.] I definitely did a lot of experimenting with color, and with mixing masculine and feminine shapes, which could end up completely terrible. I had good days and bad days as a teen, as we all did.
What’s your biggest fashion regret?
So many that I can’t even count. But a sort of related regret, which is more to do with a job, was when I had a nip slip on the runway and I was too scared to correct it. I was maybe 17, and it was a smaller show, but the pictures are probably still online somewhere.
How did you react? Were you mortified?
Nah. My boobs are just, like, whatever—they’re free spirits. [Laughs.] And the dress was beautiful.
What’s the most prized possession in your closet?
Currently, a vintage Dior trotter. It’s a three-way bag, so it’s a backpack, a fanny pack, and a chest rig. It’s crazy—I’m even getting emotional talking about it right now. It means so much to me because I love having bags that nobody else has, and I watched this thing on eBay for about four months.
How much do you tend to go on eBay?
eBay is my place, my home, my heart.
What are you eyeing on there right now?
Well, I kind of went into overload because I also got a gold metallic Louis Vuitton Miroir [bag]. I’m currently watching a Chanel backpack on there, but now that I’ve got my Dior bag, maybe I’ll just give it a leave. But who knows with me? [Laughs.]
Do you have any advice for eBay aspirers?
You have to have patience, you have to do your research on the seller, and you have to read reviews. You have to compare products as well. You can find amazing things and really great authentic bags on there, but if you just rush and buy the first thing you see, you can end up in a really bad position. Always buy from sellers that accept returns; that way, if you want to do your own research once the bag arrives, you can take it to a store to test its authenticity. And if it’s not real, you can send it back. Usually, if someone doesn’t accept returns, that means the bag might be fake.
How much of your wardrobe would you say is from eBay?
Every single handbag I have is from either eBay or somewhere else online. Clothing-wise, I’d say about 30 percent. But I love vintage—you can find so much, and it’s better for the environment.
What was your first major fashion purchase?
A vintage Ralph Lauren blazer, which I also got off of eBay, but with my mom’s bank card. She actually didn’t even notice, which made me even happier about buying it, because I didn’t get in trouble. I was around 16 years old, so I’ve been shopping on eBay now for a good 10 years or so.
What’s your favorite outfit that you’ve worn on the runway?
Of course, I’m being biased, but obviously some of my Victoria’s Secret looks. I loved the one I wore in the Mary Katranzou section of last year’s show. I love my look from the Mountain Romance section of the 2015 one. That was when I got to hold hands with [Lady] Gaga, which was amazing, obviously.
Which model’s style do you admire the most?
Imaan Hammam. I think that she’s beautiful and has great street style. She’s very carefree and knows herself, and you can tell her personality through her wardrobe, which I really like.
What’s the best fashion-related tip you’ve picked up on set?
To not be afraid of things not looking right together, and just selling them with your personality. That’s something models have to learn how to do, because sometimes you’ll be wearing something and thinking, “What is this?” But then you look at the picture and you see why it works. You just have to have the confidence and conviction in your look. You could be wearing the craziest outfit, but if you’re confident, it makes people think it’s actually a stylish outfit.
What do you always keep in your bag?
My VS lip gloss and rollerball, because they’re travel size, which is perfect.
What’s your favorite fashion moment from pop culture?
Definitely Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake’s double denim.
A Look Back at the Earliest Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows
Beverly Peele at the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York, 1995.
Natane Adcock at the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York, 1995.
Beverly Peele backstage at the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York, 1995.
Angelika Kallio at the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York, 1995.
Tyra Banks backstage at the 1996 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Heidi Klum backstage at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Tyra Banks backstage at the 1996 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Stephanie Seymour at the 1996 Victoria’s Secret Valentine Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Naomi Campbell backstage at the 1998 Victoria’s Secret Pre-Valentine’s Day Fashion Show, with Jeff Probst, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Claudia Schiffer backstage at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Rebecca Romijn-Stamos at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Naomi Campbell at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Georgianna Robertson in a Valentine’s Day ensemble at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Spring Revelations Fashion Show in New York.
Naomi Campbell at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Spring Revelations Fashion Show in New York.
A model wearing a black scuba-diving femme fatale corset at the 1997 Victoria’s Secret Spring Revelations Fashion Show, inside the Plaza Hotel in New York.
Naomi Campbell on the runway of the 1998 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at the Plaza Hotel in New York.
A model wearing a silk handkerchief and a satin thong at the 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York.
Heidi Klum, who wore that year’s $10 million “millenium bra,” and Karen Mulder backstage at the 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Gisele Bündchen at the 1999 Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show in New York.
Tyra Banks at the 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York.
Stephanie Seymour at the 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York.
Gisele Bündchen at the 1999 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in New York.
Heidi Klum in front of a Concorde jet after arriving for the 2000 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and charity gala for amfAR during the Cannes Film Festival.
Adriana Lima at the 2000 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and amfAR charity gala during the Cannes Film Festival.
Gisele Bündchen at the 2000 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and amfAR charity gala during the Cannes Film Festival.
Alessandra Ambrosio backstage at the 2001 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at Bryant Park in New York.
Karen Elson backstage at the 2001 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show fittings in New York.
Gisele Bündchen backstage at the 2002 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, inside the Armory in New York.