Lourdes Leon is more than just the daughter of the Queen of Pop. She's finally at a place in her life where she’s owning every inch of her destiny — by herself.
Leon, the first child of Madonna, recently sat down with mom's longtime bestie Debi Mazar in a revealing chat for Interview magazine. It it, she talks about the world she's creating for herself, stepping into her identity as an artist and the toxicity that is Instagram.
“I want to create a world in which models have more agency over what they’re doing, and they’re not just silent clothing racks,” Leon said. “That’s the age that we’re coming into in the fashion world: models as personalities and artists.”
Leon, who goes by “Lola,” made her runway debut in 2018 when she walked in Gypsy Sport’s Spring 2019 show. This year, she made her second runway appearance as part of Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Vol. 3 fashion show for New York’s Fashion Week.
She also made headlines at this year’s Met Gala when she showed off her armpit hair, which she's never been shy to do. Despite the criticism she received from what she called "misogynistic" trolls, the model says she takes all of it with a grain of salt — a lesson instilled in her by her mother.
"We don’t get any handouts in my family," said Leon, who paid for college tuition and her apartment on her own dime. "Obviously, I grew up with extreme privilege. There’s no denying that. But I think my mom saw all these other kids of famous people, and she was like, 'My kids are not going to be like this.'"
“She’s very much like, ‘Proceed with caution and think about what you want to be known for,’” she said of heeding her mom's advice. “I’ve thought a lot about that recently, because as a ‘model,’ you’re basically relying on your looks. It can feel very overwhelming, and can potentially cause a lot of insecurity. Obviously, you’re not going to look the same your whole life. My mom is very insistent on making me think about what I want to be known for beyond my looks. That’s not what I want people to remember me by. It’s not real.”
“[Madonna] said something to me recently that has really stuck with me," she continued. "I’ve been so concerned with making a decent living, and wanting to live more luxuriously than I was when I first graduated and wasn’t earning a lot of money. She was like, ‘Remember, this s*** is not real. It’s not about the money or your face or how hot you look. It’s about what you’re bringing into the world and what you’re going to leave behind.’ That always shakes me awake when I get too caught up in everything.”
Though Leon certainly feels the support from her followers, she's cognizant that the world of social media is often just a bunch of smoke and mirrors.
“Instagram is not real,” she said. “It’s the biggest lie of all time. People create personas on Instagram that are nothing like who they are in person, and it’s the scariest thing to me, because I’m the same everywhere."
“I’ve been judged from a young age, but I think that privacy is the reason why I was able to keep my wits about me and not find myself in a mental asylum,” she added. “I want to figure out who the f*** I am before I let anyone else try to tell me who I am, you know?”