Can you remember when and where you were scouted? How old were you?
I remember very well, I was 16 and got scouted in Switzerland. I was far from thinking I could be a model - it took me a bit of time to realize.
What is the earliest memory of a model burnt into your mind?
Leslie Winer since childhood as my mother named me after her. We had a picture of her giving a middle finger to photographers on our fridge . I grew up seeing her everyday .
Can you tell me an iconic model whose work you got very fascinated by? — What did you feel when looking at images of them?
Same one , she was so strong and didnt pay attention to what people could say or think . She was more than a model , her look was against all the standards . i was fascinated by her, she could be a man or a women at the same time . super elegant but also so rock and roll .
Do you think the “male gaze" is a myth?
Haha , no it’s not a myth . but i noticed a change lately even big males try to lower it , and lucky us we have so many powerful women « gazing » the fashion today .
What was your first fashion shoot?
My first fashion shoot was for Italian Marie Claire we went in Brazil and it’s a great memory .
What do you love most about being a model?
I used to love fittings , not the most sexy job to do but it's the best spot to actually see a collection born . I loved being aside the designers until the show was ready . From scratch to the last finitions .And another thing i appreciate in modeling is that its the only job that pays women more than men :)
What do you most hate about being a model?
The hardest part from this job is to be away really often , and always booked last minute wich makes private life difficult . I also don’t really like wearing summer clothes in winter and vice versa but its part of the game
How do people react when they find out you are a model?
I mostly get a double check from head to toe , and then few typical questions.
What is the most common question you get asked as a model?
Are you on a special diet ? how tall are you ? You do you model for ? do you work out ?and my favorite : ok but what’s your real job ?
If you would start out now what would you be doing, how would you go about // who would you work with and where would you be aiming?
I started so young i have no idea how i would deal with now , this job changed so much . models from 2000 and models 2021 are so different
Statistics show that only 1 in 10 of the big money jobs i.e. womenswear- beauty and perfume campaigns are shot by women. Is there just no qualified female fashion image makers out there?
Those statistics makes me sick . I shot my most beautiful perfume image with a woman / Carlota Manaigo for the MontBlanc campaign . She is definitely one of the most talented person i worked with . There is a lot of talented women out there . Maybe we need more powerful woman deciding above, i wonder why big groups don’ t trust women for their big advertisings . Is it because they get pushed aways ? Is it a lack of agressivity in competitions from woman ? i don’t have the answers but i belielve the truth take place in the patriarca we are living in . Still in 2021 .
How does it feel to be shot by a female photographer vs a male photographer — is there a difference, if so how?
It's different to be shot by a woman , but its also different from a woman to another . and from a man to another , i shoot a lot with women and frequently with the same ones
What makes you feel comfortable in front of a camera?
18 years of practice makes me comfortable now, let’s say i gained self-confidence by doing it over and over . Nothing can really make you feel comfortable in front of the camera if you aren’t self-confident .
Besides modelling what do you do?
Beside modeling i raise a family , i photograph and cast sometimes .
One says it takes 10’000 hours to become a master of a craft, how long in hours/days/years did it take you to feel like a master of a craft?
It took months , years maybe :) and still learning i guess
Who is your female fashion image maker icon and who is your the one to watch?
Corinne Day without hesitation , and the one to watch Daisy Walker
Who is your female designer icon and who is your the one to watch?
I’ll say Coco Chanel only because i imagine how hard it must of been to succed at her time : and she made pants for women we can all thank her .I follow the work of Marie at @maisoncleo , simply the good way to be a designer this days . She creats on demand , sales only a few hours online . Use recycled materials and works with her mom . 100% french made .
What do say about the charge that all fashion imagery is predominantly sexist?
We still need a naked woman to sale a stupid bag , and i still don’t see naked man in soap commercials . Its pathetic i can’t say much more about it .
There is a big surge of feminism at the moment - do you think that will affect fashion image making?
Yes its changing with feminism and body positivism , we start to see different approaches on images for exemple : Chantelle lingeries ads are full of amazing women that truly represents family today . Older women , smaller , bigger , taller etc … we want more of that ;
What is your favourite image in your portfolio?
Shot by my very good friend Stephane Coutelle , its my favorite because there is no retouch , and i reconize myself in it .
What qualities do you value in an agent or booker?
A good agent knows their model , picks up the phone anytime and knows how to say no to clients . Those agents are super rare
What is the most valuable piece of advice you were ever given and what advice would you have wished for earlier on in your career?
We sell clothes, we don’t save lifes . CHILL is the best advise i got
What was your relation to design/fashion prior to modeling? Has it changed?
I was too young , i had no idea or interest in fashion before modeling .
How does it feel to photograph yourself versus being photographed?
The difference of being photographed by others to photographing myself is drastic. I become an object - a subject of a commercial or artistic purpose that I can’t control . When I do my SELFPORTRAITS I am myself , without selling any product or vision of someone else I barely know . I do this to reappropriate my own image of self . To heal from being disguised since 20 years at work . Maybe I do it also to confront a fear of disappearing.
See more of Leslie's SELFPORTRAITS here.