Laney Degrasse is a bombshell model with insane art skills

You might recognize Laney Degrasse from Aerie’s latest “no photoshop” campaign. She is on track to become Wilhelmina NYC’s next “it-girl” model. But most importantly, she’s honestly about to become your next body positivity inspo.

Laney is literally a jack of all trades. Not only is she just a fierce model slaying the catwalk, she is also an AMAZING painter (which you can see for yourself on her IG), and she is a workout KWEEN.

Read on to see Laney ‘s opinions about the modeling industry, what she does to tune out the world, and which female artist inspires her.

Don’t forget to follow Laney on IG, Twitter and Facebook!!

Read more: How Mia Kang Overcame Her Insecurities To Become A Swim Model

Being deemed as an in-between model is honestly annoying because I feel the industry has to put a label on everything to justify it. Why can’t we all just be “models”? Why does there have to be categories?

One thing that’s really annoying is when people say things like, “This is what a real woman looks like.” No, we are all real women, it doesn’t matter what size you are.

What do you want to see changed in the modeling industry?

I definitely want to see more diversity. Diversity in size and race. I saw a cover of some magazine one time, there was probably seven girls on the front and every single person looked the EXACT same. I just thought to myself wow, the fashion world is not as accepting as I thought. They just wanna say that they are but actions speak louder then words.

As far as size, adding one size to the industry is not diversity. Being an “in-between” model is so hard for me because I’m either too small (yes, too small), or too big. I’m never good enough for the industry. But I remember telling my mom when I started modeling, I would never change my body to book a job.

How did it feel being a part of the Aerie campaign? 

Being part of the Aerie campaign was a dream come true. When I first signed to my agency in New York I made a list of the things I wanted to do and Aerie was one of them. It was so amazing to show young girls that you can be yourself and be praised for it.

When I saw my billboard in Times Square I was in complete shock. To this day, I still can’t believe it! It was funny that happened because me and my friend were joking around one day and he photoshopped one of my modeling photos to a billboard in Times Square. He sent it to me saying, “This is gonna be you one day,” and then it happened! Crazy.

Btw, your paintings are gorgeous!! When did you first decide you wanted to be a painter/artist and why?

Thank you so much! I’ve been interested in doing art since I could hold a pencil but I started doing it as a career this past year. I wanted to become a painter because since I moved to New York my life has been absolutely insane, and I needed to let the emotions out otherwise they’d eat me alive. Some of the experiences I’ve had you wouldn’t even believe.

What inspires you when you are making these art pieces?

Just life inspires me, really. I feel like if I don’t have something crazy going on in my life it’s hard for me to find inspiration. I probably sound like a crazy artist saying that but it’s true. If I’m just painting to paint, my paintings don’t turn out the same as they would if I was feeling inspired by something that happened to me, good or bad.

Do you listen to any tunes while painting? And if you do, what’s ur favorite song to listen to?

Yes! I ALWAYS listen to music. I love listening to Jazz and Classical music. I’ll just put on my headphones, sit there with my canvas and paint and just tune out the world. Miles Davis is my favorite person to listen to while I’m painting. He has so many songs with so many different moods. He can be super up and happy, or super blissful and beautiful.

How did it feel selling your first painting?

I think I sold my first one off of Instagram honestly. I sell most of my stuff off of Instagram. A lot of people hate on it, but it works for me. I’ve tried to get into galleries but they’re like oh you have to do this many shows, AND they take 50% of the sale. It’s like someone saying you need job experience to get a job but how are you supposed to get experience if no one will hire you? Plus, I don’t really want someone controlling my creative process.

Who is your favorite artist?

Ooooh that’s so hard to say because I have so many. My favorite female artist would definitely be Frida Kahlo, she was such a beautiful soul who just wanted to love and be loved. My favorite male artist is a tie between Jackson Pollock and Basquiat. Both of them were just insane but brilliant painters.

Which do you love more, modeling or painting?

Hmm that’s hard to say. Modeling I feel is a tool for me to use to show girls that you can just be you and be beautiful. I want to make other people feel confident about themselves. But modeling isn’t going to last forever.

Painting for me is a way to release my emotions and whatever I’m going through in a productive way. I love creating things and making what I feel come to life and show people what I’m feeling through a creative process.

I think they kind of tie together in a way. I wanna use my modeling as a platform to make my art bigger.

Any advice on achieving self-confidence?

I think just doing you honestly. You can only give someone so much advice on how to be confident but confidence comes from a special place within yourself.

I was bullied in middle school because I was shy, awkward, and lanky with a big butt. It took me along time to gain self confidence but I realized what people say about me doesn’t matter, how I feel about myself is the only thing that matters.

It’s funny that the people who bullied me in school message me on Facebook all the time now.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

Five years from now, I see myself traveling all over the world doing art shows with big artists, sitting front row at fashion week, hosting big events, going to business meetings everyday, creating, and running my business.

I know you are into fitness, so what is your favorite workout regimen?

I love super high intensity stuff that makes you sweat. If I’m not dropping sweat at the end of a workout then I feel like it wasn’t even worth going to the gym.

What is your favorite body part and why?

I would say my eyes. Nobody has my eye shape or color. Plus, my mom gave me my eyelashes so I thank her for that 🙂

What is your favorite pre- and post-workout meal?

I work out first thing in the morning when I wake up so I don’t eat before I work out, it makes your body work harder and you burn more calories. Post-workout, maybe a protein shake, three egg whites with a whole wheat English muffin, or maybe some grilled chicken and pasta. It depends how much energy I have after I work out.

Photography: Prince and Jacob
Stylist: Gabriel Held

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