Here Leigh-Anne opens up about the collection, how she navigated the ups and downs of 2020 and how the Black Lives Matter movement has changed everything for her. She is oh so ready…
Leigh-Anne Pinnock is booked and busy. In the last few weeks alone she has starred on Little Mix’s own BBC talent show, hosted the MTV EMAs, won two EMAs, released the poptastic album of the year in the form of Confetti (you can come for me, you know it’s true), and now she is dropping her own edit of ASOS DESIGN’s latest collection.
As we catch up with Leigh-Anne in the back of a car en route to rehearsals for our FOURTH interview together – the first an emotional and candid chat about the racism she has faced – I find a woman more empowered than ever before.
The Leigh-Anne you see in this ASOS DESIGN collection is a symbol of all the self-work and self-acceptance she has done, and we just love to see it.
2020 has been quite the ride for you – you got engaged, you had Little Mix: The Search, you have a new album and now the ASOS DESIGN edit – how are you looking after yourself with all the ups and downs?
There is a lot going on! I am just taking it as it comes and especially since the movement everyone seems to want a piece of me and it’s really daunting but I am just going to take these opportunities and continue to speak out and raise awareness. But I am ready, I am shining darling!
I was thinking about the interview we did where you opened up about the racism you faced. When you look back to that girl now how much more in control of your power do you feel?
I can’t even begin to explain how much more in my own power I feel. I think with that interview we did I touched on some of the things I was feeling but I didn’t go into it in the way I did with the video on Instagram.
That’s just down to me being scarred. I really did think I was going to lose fans. I didn’t know how to explain it. I didn’t have the courage to really go into it. So, with the movement happening and people wanting to listen and understand I just thought, ‘I am just going to say it!’ You can’t be quiet on this anymore, you can’t hold back anymore.
You need to be fully vocal. These conversations that were so awkward but now they are conversations you need to be having on a daily basis. Don’t be scared of saying things anymore. I feel like a different person, the confidence and power that I feel like I hold is amazing. It was a different girl you spoke to then.
The pictures for the edit are flamez – how have you used fashion to empower you when you have felt unempowered?
I have always loved fashion and I have always used it to express myself. To have an edit with ASOS – I just love ASOS – every piece is wicked, and I love how versatile it is.
What are you coveting the most?
There is a green dress and I kid you not, they just made that for me. I am obsessed with the colour. The fit is so sexy. We can’t really be partying at the minute but it’s perfect for cooking the Christmas dinner, maybe? I have been planning the outfits like that.
You have your own special branding of girl power. How have you breathed that into this edit?
I feel like with the shoot there is a mix of sexy and not taking myself too seriously. I am not a very serious person; I am silly, and I wanted that to come across in the shoot. Also, with me owning my power and my confidence I hope that came across, too.
Fashion should just be about wearing what makes you feel comfortable, but people still make so many sexist judgements about what women wear. What do you want to say to those critics?
We are so used to it. We just ignore it now because if you want to wear something you bloody wear it. We are at that point now where we don’t care, we don’t read the comments, we wear what we feel comfortable in, we wear what makes us feel good. We are grown ass women and we deserve to be sexy!
With your swimwear brad, In‘A’SeaShell you said you wanted it to be for everybody. How have you kept that inclusive messaging with this edit?
I would never represent a brand that didn’t represent different shapes and sizes. Every body is a perfect body. Perfection doesn’t exist. Perfection is whoever you are because however you were made was perfect. You don’t need to change for anyone. The more representation there is, the better.
Do you feel more represented by the fashion industry than ever before?
I definitely feel like there has been progress. But there is a long way to go, especially in the fashion industry. I think that is why I made a conscious decision with my brand, In‘A’SeaShell to make sure it was diverse because I don’t see it enough. Even when I turn on the TV now, I see more black people on screen so there is progress there and slowly I am seeing it but there is still a long way to go, 100 percent.
The new Little Mix album, [i]Confetti[/i] has dropped. I am thirsty for this album, what can we expect?
The album is a celebration of Little Mix as it has almost been 10 years. We have a beautiful ballad on it – we all really shine with our vocals, then it really hits you and I am so excited for people to hear that.
You have been in the public eye for nearly 10 years. You said to me
before you used to feel ‘invisible.’ Do you feel like when you are doing things like this ASOS DESIGN edit that you are doing it for that girl who used to feel invisible? How proud do you think that girl would be of you now?
Are you trying to make me cry again? Joking! I think she would be really blooming proud. I am not joking, that is a different girl. I don’t recognise her anymore. I feel so much more empowered and a lot of that is just getting this stuff off my chest. Getting that out in the open I don’t have a heavy pain anymore; I don’t have that bottled up. People know how I felt now, and I think people were shocked about it. I feel very sure, now. I always knew who I was, but I have this new power and she is coming out, now. I wish I could tell you all the stuff going on as it’s actually mad! I feel very excited for the future.
We can’t hit the Christmas party circuit in the same way. How can we make this party season Leigh-Anne proof?
If you can’t do anything and you are just in your house, I want you to blare some music out, put on your best dress and your nicest heels and just have a dance. Have a party on your own. We can still party. We can still be happy. No one is going to stop us from looking good.
We should be dressing for ourselves at the end of the day any way!
EXACTLY! That is so true.100 percent. We are not going to be in our sweats over the Christmas season. We are not doing it. No more lounge!