Though Leandra Medine spent part of her summer mentoring aspiring young bloggers, she doesn’t recommend it as a career choice.
“I don’t know if this is very encouraging advice, but I don’t think that you should quit your day job to start a blog,” Medine said. “If you need to pay bills, do not quit your job and assume that you will get paid for taking photos of yourself.”
Medine served as the face of a mentorship program hosted by H&M and blog network Bloglovin’ to identify the next big style blogger, a natural role given her success at the helm of Man Repeller. Since starting the site in 2010, Medine has transformed her personal blog to a full-fledged media company with a 16-person team and a new office in New York City. The blog’s name comes from the principle on which it was founded: irreverent, witty style commentary that may “repel” men.
“It’s the kind of the stuff that everyone is thinking, but they might not know they’re thinking it, or no one is saying because they feel like they can’t,” she said.
For Medine, “the message is more important than the medium,” which has now taken on a number of forms beyond the site, including two podcasts — “Oh Boy” and “Monocycle” — and a robust social media following, with more than 1.5 million followers on Instagram and more than 360,000 followers on Twitter.
Medine ultimately credits Instagram for the site’s success and the ability to share content in a way that connects and engages readers. She’s focused on sharing genuine moments on the platform, whether it’s an editorial post or a glimpse behind-the-scenes from the office.
“I grew up with Instagram because I was so in the thick of social media when it rolled out initially, so I feel like I get it more than I do any other app,” she said. “Maybe it’s because it feels most like my own language, that’s why I feel so connected to it.”
We selected recent posts from Man Repeller’s Instagram and asked Medine to weigh in on the pictures and share the inspiration behind them.
“This is from a community event we did at the Zola Townhouse last month. We invited 15 of our ‘super users’ from the site to come to the space and we spoke about love and feelings and emotions. It was so incredible to meet all of these people who I recognized from the comments section and just listen to their super intelligent takes on what it means to be in love and navigating that through your 20s and 30s. It was a really, really special night.”
“I was promoting a video that we ran the last week of August called “Welcome to the Neighborhood” and we essentially ran around Nolita on a lazy Tuesday morning and started talking to a number of people in the neighborhood. This man is a psychic. I asked him about my aura and he looked at me funny and I was just like ‘Ok, please don’t tell me anything.’”
“The mailbox is Vetements. Just kidding, it’s not. This was from a campaign that we shot with Gucci, and so I’m wearing a Gucci dress and a scarf, but I posted this months after the campaign because it’s such a fun picture. I don’t think anything is actually in those boxes.”
“This is our new office. We had Homepolish help us decorate and they did such a great job. It kind of feels like a human body when you walk in. Toward the top is the brain, where all of the desks are clustered together. Then there’s a conference room and a private office and I feel like those are the legs, where the execution happens, but the desks at the top is where all the thinking happens.”
A photo posted by Man Repeller (@manrepeller) on
“This wasn’t even one of my favorite looks from Altuzarra — I just felt very validated by the fact that Altuzarra is no longer on board with pants.”