Leandra and Joshua at Secret Location
Unless you have been living the Amish lifestyle you DEFINITELY should know that name. Leandra Medine aka The Man Repeller is still relatively new on the blogging scene but has become ‘the one to watch’ for several reasons. Perhaps it’s her unapologetic writing, her hilarious yet incredible take on style or the fashion porn streaming through her ‘Manstagram’. In any case, this rising star has become the face to several iconic and independent brands and the inspiring voice of a new generation of fashion enthusiasts, myself included.
With only a few days to prepare, I started putting my questions together. (How in the HELL does one prepare for an interview like this??) I met for coffee with my dear friend Lyndi Barrett (of Lj PR & STYLEcalling) and the research began. After hours of youtubing, brainstorming and skyping with Anna, The Social Life was ready.
On the morning of my interview I had butterflies (and what’s better for nerves than a quarto shot coffee?) As I entered Secret Location, I packed all my nerves into my Proenza Schouler PS1 clutch and made my way down to our table underneath the incredible Philippe Strack Umbrella Chandelier. I was seated with Leandra and Laura Cropper of Tara Parker Tait PR, and then we began. Without further delay, I present to you my interview with The Man Repeller.
MAN REPELLER x JOSHUA LANGSTON
JOSHUA LANGSTON: You have become the voice and influence of now, but what is the one thing that has surprised you the most about blogging as a career?
MAN REPELLER: It’s funny that you say that because I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself to be the “voice of the now.” I didn’t know there was such a stigma to it when I started. It was interesting to recognize that blogging was the ‘B Team of Fashion” yet subsequently watching that dissipate so quickly. It became so important, so fast. It has really surprised me that blogging has been able to achieve the standard that it has. For someone like me who has only been blogging for two years and effectively working in fashion for six years, sitting front row at shows among editors that have been doing this for decades is a very special and humbling experience.
JL: What was the moment in your career that made you realize your incredible level of influence?
MR: When I was leaving the CHANEL fashion show in Paris this last season. There are always lots of paparazzi and people just watching and waiting outside to catch a glimpse of JLO and Kanye or whomever. When I was leaving with a bunch of my friends, this girl came up to me and snapped a picture directly in front of my face (Leandra mimics how close she was). I thought, “Hmm that was odd”. Then the girl started crying and asked me “Are you Leandra from Man Repeller??” When I replied “Yea!” She started crying harder and said “I love you so much, and you have no idea how important and special this is for me to be meeting you right now, like I can’t even handle this…” For me to procure tears from a girl that is probably my age was so shocking, it just seems so special. I always think: what could I possibly be doing to induce that? I mean, Kanye was still inside!
JL: You said when it came to blogging, it wasn’t really your plan for whole thing to blow up the way that it did. Has it become an outlet for your writing and to show your style?
MR: It’s not even that, it was an outlet for me to have my writing not be edited. I was a journalism student and we would have the opportunity to pitch for publication with the opportunity to get A’s in our class if we got published. Whenever I did that the work would come back so editorialized and I was like “this is not what I wrote; this was really funny and now it’s not.” That really pushed me to want to write for myself.
JL: What would you say has been the biggest factor in your success?
MR: Probably my candidness and confidence in who I am naturally. I’m definitely not trying to conceal unshaven legs and I’m very self-aware and honest about who I am. I think that it’s really nice for a like-minded girl to see someone has achieved these big accomplishments while still maintaining her individual self so accurately.
JL: You have become a style icon and one to watch, but in terms of your own personal style, who inspires you?
MR: I’m really inspired by the more natural girls. I’m really like Alexa Chung’s style, and I guess this is not very natural, but Miroslava Duma puts herself together really well. All those Russians are in a league of their own. I’m generally prone to wearing denim shirts with high-waist peg leg jeans and just a pair of really awesome shoes, or Golden Goose sneakers. That very much speaks to the all-American ethos and it is also the Canadian tuxedo. It’s that model off duty vibe, so I guess I’m very inspired by that look: ‘Model off duty’.
JL: We all have moments where we don’t want to get out of bed, but what’s that one special piece that makes you get out of the bed in the morning, your go-to outfit when you want to feel good about yourself?
MR: That outfit always consists of the same jeans: I have this pair of Paige low-waist denim jeans ripped at the knee with the perfect peg leg that hit me right above my ankle. They’re not too tight, a little boxier but they make my legs look super thin. It’s always those, with my favorite pair of white Celine high heel loafers and either a denim or plaid shirt…or maybe just a t-shirt with a jacket over. But that is it, the jeans and the shoes, and the top changes.
Leandra in Paige Denim
And her gorgeous Celine Loafers
JL: What has been your favorite collaboration or partnership that you have done so far?
MR: My favorite one is not out yet….
JL: Ok. Well besides the one you cannot mention right now, what would be your favorite you have already done?
MR: I did some loafers for a Miami based company Del Toro. I really enjoy doing shoes because I love them so much. I have a way fun shoe collaboration coming up, and we can talk about it in August. (JL: yes please!)
JL: If you could do a collaboration with any brand or person, who would it be and why?
MR: I would love to do shoes with Nicholas Kirkwood. JL: WHO WOULDN’T!? MR: Yea. Exactly!
Leandra in Nicholas Kirkwood heels
JL: Seeing New York and the East Coast working through the devastation of Sandy has been difficult to watch, yet seeing how New Yorkers have come together to help each other and the city is incredibly inspiring. What moments have you have seen during the Sandy relief has made you the most proud to be a New Yorker?
MR: I think it wasn’t even during Sandy Relief, but I remember the day after the hurricane had ended the streets were so full of people. The subways were not running so everyone was above ground. Random people in cars were offering rides to people. I had not seen this kind of kinship manifest in NY since 911. I thought, it’s is a shame this only ever happens in the wake of disaster but it’s really sweet to know that if and when we are in troubling times we have each others backs. As New Yorkers, that is just who we are and what we do. That inspired me. A couple Sundays ago was spent with five of my close girlfriends. We sat around and cooked all day, sent food to The Rockaways in Queens and the Bowery Missions in the city. It was really fun! Nothing feels as good as doing something for other people, really. It’s hard to see New York so bruised, because as New Yorkers we are taught invincibility, and then when something like Sandy happens you go “A Ha! Not so invincible after all.”
JL: One of our readers wanted us to ask you ‘if a law was created tomorrow making layering illegal and you were forced to wear one item for the rest of your life, what would that item be?
MR: Well if layering was illegal does that mean I can only wear one item for the rest of my life??
JL: Ok, let me rephrase that. If you had to leave at a moments notice and could only grab one fashion item, what would it be?
MR: Well there is this grey Dries van Noten blazer that has a huge copper oriental bird down one entire side of it, so I would probably hold on to that. I would get very hot in the summer months…but it would be worth it.
JL: Sorry I didn’t mean to scare you proposing such an idea of a world without layering! What are you looking forward to most while you are here in Vancouver, have you been here before?
MR: Not in Vancouver, but I have been skiing at Blackcomb once and it was really nice. I don’t know, I’m actually leaving really early tomorrow morning but I’m most excited to be meeting people tonight. It’s always very exciting to meet people that are affected by what I do. I’m always like “why?”
JL: I know you have a book coming out soon, is there anything you can share with us regarding it?
MR: (Laughs) Well actually I’m in a fight with my book…so….
JL: Ok we can skip past that
MR: No no no, I’m not fighting with my publishing house, I’m fighting with my book. Like we’re having an argument because it wants to be something I’m not capable of making it.
JL: I was looking at your wedding photos and they are obviously amazing, a white leather Rebecca Minkoff jacket over a Marchesa gown…INCREDIBLE. What were you wearing for shoes, because I saw these amazing 6″ cry staled platform tennis shoes on Dannijo’s Instagram.
MR: Superga had made me a pair of custom 6″ tennis shoes for my wedding dress, but they were very heavy because of the platform. I was afraid I would sprain my ankle in them so I had some fancy crystalized sandals at the ceremony and my very comfortable Michael Kors flatform wedges that are super light, but are my favorite shoes of all time.
JL: Did you change dresses for the reception?
MR: No! I never understand the motivation of changing dresses, especially when they are expensive. “My money doesn’t grow on treeeeeeesssssssss” (Shaking her finger back and forth while bobbing her head side to side with some attitude) I have been sort of thinking about cutting my dress into a tube dress, because it has all these tiers of gorgeous tulle. The artistry and craftsmanship in the layers is so evident: there are beads that are strung through on every tier. I want to cut the bottom off and turn it into a tent dress that’s ankle length. I haven’t done it yet, but I’ll do it soon.
Leandra in her Rebecca Minkoff…
…and Marchesa wedding dress.
JL: Thank you so much for sitting down and chatting with me, it was an absolute pleasure. I’m really looking forward to tonight!
MR: I’m so excited to meet everyone!
After the interview, we took a quick photo, as I knew our readers were dying to see her outfit. Leandra was wearing the most exaggerated Culottes I have ever seen, she could have fit me and 20 of her closest friends inside one leg, STUNNING. I gathered my bag, still heavy with all my pre-interview nerves. I walked pasted Secret Location and around the corner and finally stopped holding my breath (and perhaps did several little jumps, arm flails and a couple squeals…)
HUGE thank you to Leandra Medine, the team at Tara Parker Tait PR and Secret Location. This is an opportunity I will always be thankful for and an experience I will never forget. Until next time… Joshua xx