MOTHER. ACTIVIST.

INFLUENCER. SURVIVOR.

LANI DEE

by Jamyce Patterson

Winning “Best Dressed” at 2018 Glam Awards, a red carpet awards ceremony, I thought this would be another interview with a model and her extensive modeling resume (a mile long). As I began to dig deep into Lani’s life, I knew she had a   story to tell. In dealing with her daily struggles, she uses modeling to help overcome them. Attempting to get her agoraphobia in check, she focuses on the love for her 4   children and modeling.

     

Modeling Experience:

  • New York Fashion Week

  • Love Fashion Show

  • Lupus Foundation Fashion Show James Bond Soiree

  • Compilation 2.0

  • Fashion & Beauty Expo

  • Camillya's House of Style

  • Hat Off Alopecia Fashion Show

  • Fashion At The Mueller

  • Ray Darten Pop Up Shop & Fashion Show

  • Mother's Day Extravaganza Fashion Show

  • Pittsburgh's Smokin Jim Frazier

  • Inspiring Lives Magazine,  published model (6 times)

  • Italian Sons and Daughter's Fashion Show

  • Parisian Fashion Magazine

  • “People in the City” Exhibition, Barcelona

  • Kiya Tomlin, catalog model

  • KDKA Channel 2, featured

  • Garbage Bag Gala and Fashion Show

  • Boston PROJECT RUNWAY

  • Fashion Designer and Art Week

J:  What was your first inspiration to get into modeling?

L:   My first inspiration with makeup was a combination of my mother's makeup, Vogue and Bazaar magazines and this white background poster I got at Spencer's Gifts of a pale-face with rainbow colored eyelids and lips. I tried to emulate it with my mother's makeup at the age 10. My father, typical Asian stereotype, loved photography. He was always buying the latest cameras and taking me to beautiful places to shoot like Seven Springs in Delmont, Pennsylvania and the Fall Foliage, Disney World, Philippines. Inspired by the pages of Vogue, Bazaar and wedding magazines, I played the fashion designer and the princess turning curtains into trains and having fashion shows in my room or the bay window of my living room which has a windowsill as big as a stage for a small girl, complete with a double set of curtains.

     

J:  What are some of your greatest accomplishments?

L:  I have done some great "bucket list" things.  I’m so proud of being a part of make up campaigns for some popular local    magazines.  I have, also walked in runway shows for many of Pittsburgh's most prestigious designers such as Eva Dixon, James Houk,  Stephanie Renee Moye and Leesa Kassler to name a few.

 

J:  What is your greatest challenge in modeling? How did you overcome it?

L:   Having to push through my anxiety when I’m getting ready to leave my house.  I have agoraphobia, panic attacks, PTSD and anxiety from a severely abusive relationship.  I was made to dress down, “like a man,” my clothes were cut up and  I wasn't allowed to wear makeup to work.  Basically, I didn’t feel beautiful, but since, modeling have changed all of that.  Once the music starts, I hold my head up high and walk with confidence and pose feeling like a goddess. I've learned to pull focus and ask for help when I need it. Breathing, lots of hugs and surrounding myself with a   positive uplifting support system is key.

 

J: What are you known for in the industry?

L:   I have a signature, sultry smile. The meanest “smize” you will ever see.  Also, I’m proud to be known for my kind heart.

J:  Whatcelebrity would you like to work with?

L:   I would love to work with Ann Leibowitz, because of her incredible talent. With her perspective of black and white photography, she has inspired me to create my own exhibition.  I'd, also, like to be photographed by Exquisite Voodoo's, Scott Guy. His photos and gifs of my model friends are AMAZING. As far as celebrity make up artists, Patrick Ta, Jeffree Star and Shane Dawson are some of my icons and I would love to partner with them in a beauty campaign.

J: You’ve recently participated in Inspiring Lives Magazine #metoo shoot. How was that experience and what did you take away from that campaign?

L:  The  #metoo movement came along at the peak of my modeling career. After almost a decade of control and abuse and even dealing with multiple stalkers, I was proud to be part of the shoot for Pittsburgh Action Against Rape in Inspiring Lives Magazine. My message to a #metoo  survivor of sexual abuse is to know the red flags and have a plan to leave your abuser.  It is imperative to get out of a volatile relationship, because it could be the matter of life or death, so have a strong support system and absolutely don’t go back for any reason.  At times, it has been difficult to continue to follow my modeling dreams, but it has made me strong enough to be an advocate for the social media page “Empowering   Models Group” that uplifts and forewarns models against (GWC'S) Guys With Cameras. In the group, we educate young models about sex offenders and traffickers that   frequent social media pages, events and photos shoots to prey on vulnerable models.  We take the time to show them how to do their research on photographers and managers, bring chaperones and scams to look out for.

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J: What important tips would you give a model getting in the fashion world?

L:   First, be safe.  Know the people you are working with.

Then I would say, build a professional portfolio and network on all social media platforms.

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