We had the good fortune of connecting with Leeandra Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Leeandra, how do you think about risk?
” There is no reward without risk”. Taking a risk plays a big part in my life as an artist because it’s either you are left with that “what if ” feeling or you take the risk and the outcome is bigger and better than what you had expected it to be. One risk that changed my life and opened the door to new learning opportunities was leaving my full-time job and returning to school to get my BFA in photography. I applied on a whim to the School of Visual Arts later to be accepted. Since I’ve grown as an artist and continuously perfecting my craft as a photographer. When taking a risk you need to be in a positive headspace and you will receive a positive outcome. At the end of the day, I don’t want to be left with the feeling of regret due to not taking a risk that can be life-changing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I take a lot of pride in my work because I center my work around men and women of color. Being an artist person of color myself I find that there isn’t much attention on black beauty or representation. With my work, I like to express my definition of what black beauty is and how identify with it. Since my focus is black beauty I do face challenges such as having viewers not understanding the reason why I center my work around people of color and that is because society can control the beauty standards through fashion, television, movies and I am here to break that societal norm. One thing I want the world to know about my brand and story is that beauty holds no boundaries and there is no limit to your art.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Since living only minutes away from Manhattan the possibilities of finding something to do is endless! some of the top places I would check out would be, The Museum of Modern Art and The Brooklyn Museum, taking the ferry from Manhattan to Brooklyn to get a super cool view of the city. Then heading to a few of my favorite restaurants such as 212 Hisae’s, zest sushi, spicy village, and the delancy. And for something super fun Karaoke boho orchard or the basement which is a super cool hidden speakeasy.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
One person that deserves most of the credit and a major shoutout is my Mother. She is my biggest supporter and who constantly says to me that I have so much potential and talent that it needs to be seen. And for that, I thank her for pushing me and supporting me through all my projects.
Model : Nubia Higgs