Being “Internet Famous” Helped Leandra Medine Find Her Voice

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.
The idea of dressing for the pleasure and praise of men has existed since long before fashion magazines — and we’ve had just as long to get real tired of all that nonsense. Therefore, we can think of no better champion for radically original personal style (that takes men totally out of the equation) than Leandra Medine, founder of Man Repeller. Listen below as Medine gives us the exclusive on how she conquered the fashion and digital worlds based on a simple desire to stand out. Launched in 2010 when Medine was 22, Man Repeller has grown from an indie blog to a global media business, one which extends far beyond the fashion community thanks to its indefatigably modern mission: Style is a form of self expression, so why waste your energy on pleasing others? Through the years, Medine has not only seen her business change, but herself along with it: “I feel like becoming recognised and ‘internet famous,’ makes me feel much more comfortable with my place in the world. I used to act out in ridiculous ways because I wanted to be heard, but nobody would listen," she says. "[Now,] I feel really, really at ease and comfortable with my voice.”

I feel like becoming recognized and ‘internet famous,’ makes me feel much more comfortable with my place in the world.

This week on UnStyled, Medine gets frank with host, Christene Barberich, Refinery29's Global EIC and Co-Founder, about the evolution of her media empire and why getting dressed can be symbolic. Be sure to subscribe to UnStyled here (we thank you for it!), and check out some of the highlights from Medine's chat with us below.
Man Repeller is a business. How do you describe it as a business?
“At the crux of Man Repeller, it's this community of fiercely intelligent people who are just interested in talking to each other. No topic is off limits for intellectual dissection.” When you started your first blog, you were 22 and living at home. What about that time in your life felt like a rich opportunity for you to start talking about what was happening?
“I was starting to feel more and more comfortable with my place in the world. I think that's really it. I had just gotten back from a semester abroad in Paris. And, when I was in Paris, I was keeping a blog called Four Months in Paris. And I developed a readership, beyond just my parents. And that was really interesting. I'd been at school for writing, and it was so satisfying to self-edit — a.k.a. not edit at all.” I think there's a level of spontaneity that's just really refreshing and hilarious with Man Repeller...
“When I launched Man Repeller, I was a junior in college, and I just started writing it because I was looking around one of my non-fiction classes one day, and I was thinking to myself that we were all going to be graduating together, and we were probably all going to be fighting for the same two reporting jobs in media. I just wanted to work in a place where I could defy the odds of looking like a fashion girl who worked in fashion.”

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