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Victoria's Secret model Leomie Anderson on Strictly, online trolls, her number one girl crush and her Angel friends

Plus, her advice for staying off your phone

Leanne Bayley

Right now, model Leomie Anderson is living her best life strutting her stuff in Cannes for the amfar Gala. Showing off her killer legs in her rainbow-coloured custom-made Rami Kadi dress, the Victoria's Secret angel can be seen striking her best poses for the waiting paparazzi. Let's face it, if anyone knows their angles, it's a world-renowned supermodel. For those of you who don't know, Leomie is the 26-year-old model, designer and founder of online feminist platform LAPP, who was discovered by London agency Premier Model Management walking home from school in Wimbledon, aged 16. She is now a regular on the catwalk, and just recently, she made headlines when she was given her VS wings - a huge moment for any model.

We caught up with Leomie at the 'Incredible Every Day' panel event - right before she jetted off to Cannes - to discuss her new job as an angel, her number one girl crush, how she deals with trolls and why the Strictly Come Dancing glitterball could be in her sights.

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VIDEO: Watch Leomie on her HFM cover shoot back in August 2018

Leomie on… the moment her agent told her she'd got her Victoria's Secret angel wings

"I was like: 'Huh?!' What?!' It felt like such a dream, and it still feels like a dream even now, working for them. It just felt unreal… so unreal. I have been modelling for 11 years now, so to have something so big - and with a brand that feels like my family - it's unreal."

When asked who the first person she called, Leomie told us: "I called my best friend Imani … I used to always call my mum when I got good news but she never answers her phone [laughs]. I had to call my best friend because she has watched my journey for so long and she has been there when I've been living in model apartments with roaches."

Leomie at the UK launch of the new Incredible Bra

Leomie on… Being one of the first black British angels

"It means so much to me to be able to represent black girls everywhere. And to be one of the first British angels, c'mon the British, we have the banter so I'm glad I get to bring the banter to Victoria's Secret. It just means a lot to me to be able to represent dark-skinned girls because when I was growing up I would go to stores and not see anyone like myself … it means everything to me."

Leomie on… her number one girl crush

"I need to stop saying her name, it's always Rihanna. She's the only one that makes me feel starstruck because I aspire to be like her because she is multi-faceted, she's an entrepreneur, she's always pushing boundaries and that's something that I really want to do with my own career and my own personal life. She's probably tired of hearing this but she really is the only person."

MORE: This Victoria's Secret model wants to swap wardrobes with the Duchess of Sussex

Leomie on… the one thing she wished she'd known before modelling

"I wish that I knew that it wasn't like America's Next Top Model, just for a start. That would have been some really great information to know. But I think the one thing I wish someone had told me about the fashion industry is just the fact that just because everyone's saying nice things to you, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily always going to be that way. You have to develop a very tough skin in this industry but you also have to understand and remember, your own value and your own self worth. I just wish that someone had told me to listen to yourself before you listen to other people and remember that YOU are the person who has your best interests at heart."

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Leomie on… dealing with negative criticism

"I think there's negativity and those kinds of pressures in every single industry but I think, with being a model, people just assume you have the good life. People don't even want to think there's any sort of negativity going on, I think the hardest part is the fact that people assume my job is all good. To be able to deal with it, I just have to talk to myself every day and let myself know that you're doing the right thing. You're staying true to yourself. Not everybody is going to have something good to say to you. Not every piece of criticism you're going to get is going to be constructive, but as long as you know yourself, you can take positives from every situation. So, when you're getting trolls online, for example, you just need to understand that is someone who is not very happy in themselves, and seeing your happiness irritates them in a way. When it comes to constructive criticism, you just have to understand that someone is telling you something because they want you to get better at things and obviously you want to take offence, but you have to take the positive aspects from that criticism and understand that it's just to make you better. Honestly, most of the time, I just don't listen [puts fingers in ears]."

Leomie on… her beauty philosophy

"Use beauty as a form of self-expression. Don't use it as a way of masking yourself, use it as a way of showing yourself. If you're in a great mood, make sure you show it off in your hair and your makeup. If you want to show off your personality, you can use makeup and hair to be able to do that. Don't try and conform, try and be you and express yourself in whatever beauty regime that works for you."

Leomie on… Working out - not her body - but her mind

"When it comes to looking after my mind, I think it's just very important for everyone to understand that we're not machines. We can't run 24/7. So when I have those days when I'm really feeling tired, I just allow myself to just completely relax. I try and put my phone to the side, I put on a movie, I order my favourite food, maybe put a sheet mask on and zone out. Actually, one of the things I really enjoy is painting my nails because I can't be on my phone. I literally just focus on making my hands look nice. I think it's very important, in this day and age, to have at least an hour where you put your phone down and you're not looking at it. It seems crazy that it's something so simple but you don't even realise how often you're carrying around your phone - and you're carrying around the pressure to respond back to people, you're carrying the pressure of the emails you keep putting to the side that you know you need to get back to, you're carrying around the WhatsApps from the auntie that's sending chainmails to you and that sort of stuff. Sometimes it's just good to put your phone down, focus on a book or whatever your thing might be, but it's very important to detach."

Leomie on… What she'd do on a day off in London

"Ah, if I had a day of pure freedom in London I love to visit Richmond Park. I just went there with my boyfriend right before I was off travelling again, and I love it there because it kind of feels like you're in the countryside because you have the deers running around. I don't like to get too close to those, though. I just like to have a little picnic, get situated. If I'm off to get drinks, I end up in East London, my best friend lives there as well, so I'm always around there and it's really good for vintage shopping. And when I'm not eating, I'm shopping."

Leomie on… the Victoria's Secret angel she'd call on for a night OUT

"So it's definitely going to be Lais [Ribeiro] and Sara [Sampaio] because when she has a little drink or two, she becomes 'Fara' which is fun Sara, so I like to bring Fara out."

Leomie on… the reality tv show she'd like to be on

"If I could do a reality TV show, yeah, I think Strictly Come Dancing would be cool. But I would have to pick the songs because the songs on there are lame. If I could pick my own songs, then Strictly. I'd also like myself some Love Island… just throw me in there. Just for the banter. I'd be the one with the headlines the next day: 'She actually has a boyfriend.' Basically, anything I could get my personality out there."

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