The RWN Shape Collective is our community - a community of collaboration, support and storytelling. Our RWN Shape Makers are the exceptional women who are creating incredible work across the world. Whether it’s within business, politics, fashion or more - these women are carving out their own place in the world and we want to share their story.
Introducing our first RWN Shape Maker - Leah Vernon.
How would you describe your work?
I'm a content creator, plus-size model, and body-positive activist. I'd describe my work as thought-provoking. Whether it's in the photos I take or the blog posts that I write, it's always going to elicit some kind of conversation about women's rights or racial equality or religious freedoms.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? What is the hardest part?
The most rewarding part is fanmail and the messages of hope. When I first started blogging, it was to be seen, be popular. That quickly changed when I got a letter from a girl in Asia telling me that I gave her hope that as a fat woman living in Asia that she could be confident and dress nice and feel good about herself, despite all the fat-shaming she got from society. After that, I set out to inspire with my own story rather than be popular in the blogosphere.
The hardest part would be the instability of being in a 'creative' field. Despite what my social media looks like, most of the clothes are clearance rack, borrowed, or sent to me by companies. Right now, I don't make a steady income doing what I love. Every day is a struggle to figure out how to stay true to my brand but also make a living.
What would you say is your passion in life?
My passion in life would be discovery by traveling out of my comfort zone. We live in little boxes of life sometimes, and there is so much more to be seen and heard and absorbed. Traveling alone does that for me. It takes me way out of my comfort zone, but I end up learning so much, hearing stories, and learning that I'm much stronger than I could've imagined.
What role has fashion and style played in your life?
It plays a huge role. Fashion for me is expression. And my life is all about expression through different mediums. Good and bad fashion choices have made me the person I am today. It will always play a big role.
If you could tell your younger self one thing - what would you say?
I'd say don't ever listen to people who tell you what you can't do. They are toxic and drop them immediately. Be you as much as you can and be bold and unapologetic while you're doing it.