Supermodel Leomie Anderson has something to say about the UK creative industry 

Leomie Anderson is quite the public speaker. She recently did a TED talk on what it’s like to be in the modelling industry, and is never afraid to speak her mind during interviews. But her favourite outlet for sharing her opinion seems to be via social media, (more specifically Twitter). Remember that time she defended Kendall Jenner for “just doing her job” during the Pepsi-gate uproar?

More recently, Leomie grabbed the media’s attention by calling out racism during Fashion Week, but what caught our attention last was her comment on the UK creative industry. The London born Victoria’s Secret model took to Twitter on Saturday to point out inequity in the UK creative scene.

Leomie commented on the BBC Radio 1xtra show with a series of Tweets proposing that success in the UK boils down to either being in the game for a long time or knowing someone within the hiring/booking process. The response to the tweet was generally positive, with 272 retweets and over 500 likes.

The majority of direct replies also agreed with her, however there were a couple of snubs/challenges, including a tweeter asking her who exactly she wanted to see on Fire in the Booth instead. I too would like to hear her suggestion for alternatives, as so far I’ve seen a pretty balanced selection of guests appear on the show (both signed and unsigned). It’s also known that 1xtra has a reputation for supporting new artists, so I don’t think this was the best example. I mean, there needs to be some sort of selection process based on talent and popularity.

Personally, I think that both RS and Michael Dapaah made for entertaining viewing, and I can only imagine both were invited on to the show because of their following (a result of putting themselves out there and putting the work in) so in that sense their places in my opinion were well deserved.

But if we’re going to look at what she’s essentially saying in the main tweet, I’d probably agree with it and also go as far as to say that it’s true for most industries. Hard work pays off, and sometimes that may take a number of years – a prime example would be someone like Skepta. And there’s nothing wrong with having to work hard, why should anyone be successful if they’re not willing to work hard to get it?

With regards to her point about people with contacts getting a head start, as unfair as it is, it happens everywhere and in most industries – that’s a given. And it’s not fair for those of us who don’t have friends in high places. Talent and hard work should always prevail.

Another interesting point she proposes is that the music industry only operates “for people who have a formula that has previously worked” and so because of that “no new or unpredictable talent is really emerging” which is why all UK music sounds the same. I think we all know, musician or not, that the industry is a profit-led business which means that signed musicians don’t get enough freedom within the creation process/a lot of raw talent goes unrecognised/ignored if an artist doesn’t have a place in the market. That being said, this appears to be changing. A lot more artists are doing the work for themselves in terms of self-promotion, a lot more people are realising that the industry is fucked and therefore a lot more people are doing things to try and support the new and unsigned in other ways. Maybe it’s up to us to stop paying attention to the churned out shit on the radio and find the time to discover the hidden talent on Soundcloud, for example. After all, we decide what we listen to. I do think people are beginning to take steps in the right direction regarding this, but thank you Leomie for raising a point that others might not want to talk about. After all, Twitter is there for us to speak our minds, right?

Words by Lauren Stevens

Photo Credit: Leomie Anderson for The Observer by Andrew Woffinden

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