In honor of career month at Man Repeller, we’re profiling the team so that you can get a better sense of who does what, how this place runs and who refuses to wear pants. Today we’re introducing you to shins supporter Leandra Medine and sometimes Cohen, which I am so glad we’re doing because I literally have no idea who she is, why she sits next to me or how she got my email address to send me these unprompted answers.
So you’re the founder of Man Repeller. What does that mean you do?
But I also get to do a ton of awesome stuff, like work with amazing and talented photographers (hi Krista), graphic designers (sup Emily), creative specimens who can pull off ankle bandanas over tights (Elizabeth!), weirdos like our social media coordinator, Harling, and a fuck ton of others (Yvonne! Kate! Quazzy! Jay! How you livin’?), minus Amelia. I also direct our editorial calendar from top to bottom, helping to ideate what each story will look like visually and from a content perspective. That part is extremely fun.
Where were you before this?
In college. I thought I was going to get a job fact checking at New York Magazine. I am terrible with facts/don’t think they matter.
What was your major?
Journalism, but in my senior year I realized that I am much more interested in expositional writing — the sort of cathartic stuff that lets you air out laundry but also helps other people work through their stuff.
College is such an amazing time because your slate essentially remains clean for four years; you get to test out so much stuff and ultimately decide whether it is or isn’t for you without the looming fear of fucking up, or getting too deep into something you’re not sure you want to do. But the reason I’m pointing this out is because it’s never too late to change your mind! Try anything and everything and be relentless about having your business goals align with your personal goals. That = happiness.
What made you start Man Repeller?
I had an opinion, which I believed was being severely underserved in fashion (trends women love, men hate) and a way of delivering it (honestly, with a sense of humor and simultaneous respect) that I hoped would resonate. It’s never actually about fashion, is the other thing — this is just the language we use to connect with each other because sometimes words and literal conversation don’t cut it. I wanted to make a site that I would feel good about my angry teenage daughter reading, one that I’d also want to read and become part of myself. Does that make sense?
Favorite part of your job?
The super cool fuckers I get to work with, and also all the lunch meetings because I love food.
Least favorite part of your job?
What’s one thing that has surprised you in your path so far?
I never considered that I could actually start my own business because that was never really a centerpiece baked into my personal ambition, so it’s been surprising, in a humbling way, to actually be faced with the challenges of running something and what it takes to keep the wheels of a company in motion. The people you surround yourself with, honestly, are like, 80% of it, and that shouldn’t be overlooked.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A woman who is comfortable standing vertically.
What’s one piece of advice you have to give to anyone who wants a job like yours?
Again, check your ego at the door — and I mean that in both directions: whether it’s inflated or deflated. Don’t make it about you, because you won’t be able to succeed if you do. It’s helpful to have a sort of altruistic purpose and in my opinion, it is mandatory that you are building something or doing something for the greater good of someone/thing beyond just your personal appeasement. You drown in your own puddle if not.
What’s one piece of advice to someone who has no clue what they want to do?
Think about what gets you out of bed in the morning and those moments when you don’t want to go to sleep at night because reality is better. What’s keeping you up? Don’t underestimate the stuff that comes easy to you because it doesn’t mean that it’s easy for other people, and believe that your favorite hobby could become a job! We live in such a cool and weird and scary world, and have literally been given the foundational cinder blocks to architect our lives.
But also, don’t be afraid to fuck up because you have to screw up in order to learn and to keep you grounded and humble. There’s really no such thing as a fuck up; it’s a poorly marketed word. If you take the “ist” out of “mistake,” it becomes “make.” As in MAKE great things.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes. I’m not going to say “don’t settle,” but I am going to say that you should constantly ask yourself if you’re happy enough. None of it is worth it if you’re not.
Finally, tell me one weird thing about you, which will be extremely hard because you are super weird.
I lie and say that I’m allergic to bees to compensate for how I react in their presence.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.