Leeza's serene demeanor is the first thing that greets you but beneath that is the warmth of a woman who's grown into her own, powerfully and gracefully. Leeza is many, many, many things: nimble oil painter and brave wielder of charcoal, candid talker about social taboos on her YouTube channel, anchor, and presenter for sports events. But our favourite thing about Leeza by far is the unspoken ways in which she's smashing ideas of conformity.
She let us into her home and spoke with us about the paradox of the phrase 'everyone is beautiful' and about sisterhood.
Sun sign: Gemini
What you do: I’m a content creator
What you would be doing if you didn’t do what you currently do: I think I would quite happily be a baker
City/town you presently live in: Mumbai
Your current favourite…
Beauty products: The absolutely stunning “Le Rouge Parfum” scented lipsticks by Kilian, and a perfume called Lys 41 from Le Labo
Self-care ritual: Running outdoors
Instagram handles: @alokvmenon @sainthoax @unseenfriend
Podcasts: Invisibilia, a fascinating NPR podcast about the invisible forces that govern human behavior and shape our ideas and beliefs, and the NYT Modern Love podcast
Book and/or film: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
Haunt in the city: Qualia
Indian and international brands/designers: Lola by Suman B
What jewellery style naturally attracts you?
I like jewellery that is simple and timeless, in yellow or rose gold.
First thought/word that comes to your mind when you think about Lune?
A moon lit sky
Opinions/musings about the following:
The industry that you work in: The media landscape, and particularly the digital media landscape is constantly changing— just when you think you’ve figured out one platform or type of content, another one emerges and eclipses the earlier one, so the exciting challenge is to figure out how to stay relevant for the long haul.
Sisterhood (what does sisterhood mean to you now that you wish you knew 10 years ago): Sisterhood for me is women supporting each other, —and having each other’s back—not only passively with kind words of encouragement and the like, but also actually standing up for each other in real-life situations. Women working together to unlearn internalized misogyny. Women collaborating, mentoring, and nurturing each other. For me, sisterhood is women coming through for one another, and I think it’s really powerful.
What have you learnt from disappointment? That it’s best not to come into any situation with too many preset expectations.
On love and kindness: I live for love and kindness. They are my all-time favorite modes of expression. There is nothing that makes me feel more alive than giving or receiving love and kindness.
What’s beauty to you? I’ve been thinking about how obsessed we are with being considered beautiful, and how misplaced this obsession is. Even in our attempts at dismantling unrealistic beauty standards to be more inclusive— by popularizing phrases like “everyone is beautiful,” for example, we are still making it seem very important to be beautiful. Really what we should be saying is there is more to life than beauty.
On routine: I like routine — I like to wake up at least 2 hours before I have to leave for anywhere because I hate rushing my morning routine of hot water and lemon in bed, followed by black coffee, followed by some stretching and reading—before I’m ready to really deal with the day. A sunset run outdoors at least 3 days a week is similarly sacred.
On city living: I like the opportunities that the city presents me with, and the idea that whatever you want can not only be found here but also home delivered. However, city life can also feel relentlessly transactional.
The reaction you get when you talk about sexuality, female pleasure, mental health, and other socially taboo subjects: People are mainly overwhelmingly supportive! You’ll get the occasional troll trying to slut-shame me, but it’s mainly people being excited and supportive about my content, saying thank you so much for talking about these things, this needs to be talked about.
What it’s like to be a part of the YouTube community and what you’ve learnt from speaking to other YouTubers: The YouTube community is great— I’ve met some really wonderful creators and the atmosphere is always really friendly and open. People are super accessible and love collaborating so the energy tends to be really positive and fun. The thing that makes me sad about social and digital media though is that it’s becoming more and more like boring old traditional media, particularly in the politics of what platforms choose both to amplify and to censor — for example, female nipples are banned on Instagram, and sex-ed videos are demonetized on Youtube— while fake news and hateful trolling is rampant.
The future is…inevitable
Leeza wears Shop Lune jewellery: the Small, Medium and Big Moon Medallions, Medium Ale Hoops, a Crater chunky bangle and Mie ring set of 4 as a midi ring in the cover image. She wears the Mama Crescent charm and Medium Star charm mismatched on Medium Ale Hoops, Viper Moon choker, Mama Crescent charm on a Plain Chain and Toggle bracelet with a Line Bar ring+Mother Of Pearl Crescent ring with her second outfit.