We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Leskey and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I have always been an artistic person, when I was a kid I would spend all of my time drawing, making music, writing stories, sewing, and other things like that. As I got older I continued to be drawn to the arts and feel most inspired when I am doing work that requires me to think outside of the box, am able to have artistic freedom and autonomy and get to work with unique people. When I moved from my hometown to Atlanta I quickly realized that I was in a city of successful, thriving creatives and was finally in a place where I could go for it too.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
If I could share only one thing about my work as a model is that it is very misunderstood as a profession. People think that its all glamour and fun, but it is a real profession like anything else. You have to learn the ins and outs of your craft, practice and work hard. You have long days, you are stressed, you are challanged, you have to deal with discrimination, theres a lot of competition and have to learn to deal with rejection, criticism, and how not to take things personally. You have to stay true to yourself when the pressures of the industry try to change you. I have had many ups and downs in my pursuit of modeling. I am considered a “curve” model as a size 10, until recently my size or larger weren’t even considered models, there was no space for creatives outside of a certain size to work or be represented. I was also older than a typical model and had it not been for recent change in the industry I would have been considered too old to start modeling even though I am currently still in my twenties. I have also had to deal with people not taking models work seriously, I have had to work for free because there is no “budget” to pay models. I used to model in music videos, walk in runway shows and shoot for free because we would be assured it was work for exposure, but at the end of the day it was always more trouble that it was worth. I also have had to deal with scam artists trying to get your personal information through fake castings online; truthfully I could go on and on about the dangers in this industry. So on a positive note, I would like to say that I have gotten where I am today because I was willing to invest in classes like runway, pose and on my portfolio. I stay in practice by shooting often, practicing in the mirror, by maintaining healthy skin, hair and workout routine, continue to research the industry, the trends and study other models work. I network in person and online, go to castings, and never give up when faced with rejection or setbacks. What I am most excited about is what this year will bring, I am farther along the journey than I was yesterday but i’m not where I want to be yet, I have many goals i’m working towards as we speak. Who I am as a model is someone who is comfortable being exactly the person I am. I want to inspire others to love themselves and realizethat there is so much beauty in being uniquely you and embracing it. This is why i am so excited to be working in the industry right now, its the dawn of a new era, focused on inclusivity and diversity.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Lets say these are normal not corona virus times. I would take my friend to go do a little bit of everything, but since I am a total foodie I would have to take her to all of my favorite food spots like Ponce City Market or to an asain or hispanic restuarant on Buford Highway for example, I would take her to brunch in midtown, to explore Little Five Points by day and Edgewood or buckhead by night, I am a person who can have fun doing literally anything, especially living in a city like Atlanta that is full of diversity and culture.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to officially give a shoutout to Ty Pleas who is a phenomenal photographer and creative director that I happened to meet when I first moved to Atlanta when I got my start in modeling. Flash forward a couple years to when I was looking for professional representation in modeling and he happened to contact me asking if I wanted to come on board with a new agency that was in the process of launching in 2021. If it weren’t for him seeing the potential in me, I may have given up modeling all together after years of ups and downs in the industry. He inspired me to continue to pursue modeling through his work as a photographer, and when he asked me to join the curve board of Alima Industries Model Management. I also want to shout out not only Alima, but also everyone else with Alima Industries Model Management; we are like one big model family at the Agency, I have never felt more optimistic and excited about the future as I do right now, and its all thanks to Ty, Alima and the other talented creatives i’ve come to know in the Agency.
Other: Modeling and Acting Management : Alima Industries Model Management, Lots of Talent
Photo Credits in no particular order Ty Pleas Laretta Houston Stewdio Space Terrel Antoni Media Alima Albari New Captures Photography H Grieves Photography Royal Binion