Close to the release of the new issue, LATEST had the pleasure of speaking with Anja Leuenberger. The Swiss model talks about her career, recalling her first steps in the fashion world when she was only 13, up to her life during lockdown, when she published her first book of poems that boldly highlights the issue of sexual violence in the fashion world. The model, who has participated in many shows, among those there are Zimmermann, Jeremy Scott and Armani, has a firm grip on reality, declaring herself not too projected to the future but on the contrary, focused only on the present moment, trying to gain experience in the industry as a way to learn more about herself and grow.
Where does your interest in fashion come from? Have you always dreamed of becoming a model or did you have other plans for the future?
I am absolutely in love with what I do and I am happy that my life took this direction. But I kinda just slipped into this business. I was discovered when I was about 13 years young. I traveled in Italy for the first time and I participated at a show at the beach. I didn’t understand what it was all about but I had fun. I was scouted a few weeks later in Switzerland, my hometown, and signed with an agency. That’s how it all started. With a few shoots, I discovered that I am really passionate about this career.
What is the most precious memory you have of working in the industry? What do you think are the challenges of fashion at these uncertain times?
I find this one of the most challenging questions to answer. I would say over all, my personal growth from it. All the amazing people that I randomly meet and maybe never see again but have the best conversations with. All the traveling, especially to places that were not necessarily on my bucket list and amazed me.
I would say these challenges are different for everyone depending on their experience, for me personally it’s the traveling, it’s a lot and can be exhausting from time to time and sometimes lonely. It’s worth it though, always. But it can be draining to fly across different time zones.
You also wrote a book of poems titled The Depths Of My Soul in which you talked about sexual assaults, of which you have been a victim. This is a critical issue in fashion as well as in the everyday life. You did an incredible work because this issue needs to be tackled and known by many. What do you think is the power of social media in addressing this and other relevant issues of our generation?
Thank you, I am very proud of my book, it took a lot completing it; I used to leave it, then to pick it back up, finally I overcame my fear of publishing it. It’s very vulnerable. Social media has a lot of downsides for me. It pulls you a bit too far out of reality for my taste. Clearly it also has its plus sides with somehow giving people more confidence to share and speak up about things they maybe never would have before.
Favorite catwalk you’ve done so far?
That’s a long list 😉
Coronavirus pandemic has affected us all. During lockdown people tried to spend time with different activities that implied cooking, drawing or learning a new language or instrument. How the lockdown experience went for you? What was working during lockdown like?
As you mentioned above, I worked and published my book. I finished my yoga teacher training over 8 weeks. I focused on cooking a little more for my vegan website @wildplantfood. Oh and most importantly, I became a mom to my beautiful dachshund @tinydachshundpickle.
Do you have any special morning rituals to start the day on the right foot?
I stopped picking up my phone immediately after I wake up. I lay in bed for at least 10 minutes, being grateful for waking up and being healthy, then I like to set my intention for the day, cuddle my puppy. Then I get up to get ready and write at least 4 things down in my journal for what I am grateful for. I keep them in mind if someone is trying to disturb my vibe throughout the day.
From your Instagram profile, we can see you really enjoy traveling not only for work. Is there a particular place you still have to visit and would love to?
One would be easy, I have a whole bucket list. There’s so many places I still want to see. Cape Town, for example. Then, the Dominican Republic, India, Thailand, and, and, and…
Do you have any upcoming projects for the future?
I don’t really live in the future. I enjoy every present moment as much as I can. Plus, I am limited during a pandemic. I am present and enjoying every moment I have with my dog. The only plan I really have is going back to Switzerland whenever possible because I haven’t seen my friends and family since over 8 months.