Biracial model Ledom was born in Germany and raised in Columbia, South Carolina. People constantly commenting on his physical appearance spurred him to book his first photo shoot as a teenager. The photo shoot was a success and he became a local celebrity on the runway. He always had interest in the world of entertainment. This passion to be in the entertainment business has fueled Ledom to follow his dreams. Ledom has modeled internationally on runways and in print ads and continues to grow his brand here in the United States. Based in Chicago, he takes full advantage of being able to get to New York and L.A. as often as he needs.
Tell us about your nationality and where you grew up.
My mom is German and Kazakh and my sweet father is African American. I grew up in my beautiful homeland of Germany originally from Koln. When I was 13 I moved to the U.S. to good ole South Carolina and spent my high school years there but always ready to break free which I did.
What began this path of modeling for you?
I always wanted to do something in the entertainment industry. I would do plays and musicals and put on my own fashion show as a child. Always into anything creative that lets me express different parts of me. So when I was 16 I attended a modeling and acting school and started from there, but I was a very innocent kid not ready for some of the wild or intense situations that happen in this industry so at 18 I stopped. A few years later, with much more life experience, I was ready to really do this with more of a strong sense of self and its really just begun. That moment began about two years ago and it’s been fantastic.
What are your unique features that separate you from others?
Well that’s a pretty vain question if I would answer it. I think that is something more for others to share what features I have that are unique. I will say that I have a great mix of features from both sides of my parents which really gives a unique interesting looking person … the European nose with the great Black boy lips. I also think the hair and the mustache might be a nice touch for some people.
What is your process to prepare for a photo shoot?
Before a shoot I make sure I am in the gym twice a day to get really right physically. Make sure my body is trimmed and neat and my toe nails and hands are nice and buffed and shined. Now that the physical is set a healthy body is a healthy mind and that you need to be in this industry. There are moments when you are made to feel larger than yourself and godlike — and there are moments when someone is picking apart everything they think is wrong with you because modeling is strictly image based. It’s easy for it to make a person feel even worse of ones self. Fortunately my mind is healthy and I am always happy with the work I put out there for the world. I also create many things from props and apparel to even creative directing many of my shoots to keep as much of me and my self in my work.
What do you find difficult about the modeling business?
I think what is difficult for me most is also the thing that is my strongest point. My “unique look”! When it comes to photographers they love something different and something out of the box, but when it comes to agencies they want you to fit in a box. This white wall of the same faces with different hair colors. I have had agencies tell me “you aren’t white enough but your not black enough.” With new seasons, comes new expectations and things accepted as a trend. You went from seeing models who wouldn’t dare have any tattoos and over the last few years, tattoos are all you saw — the more the better. So now its time for me to really share my look and share me with all of the world as a symbol of someone making it big while staying true to myself. What I bring isn’t just a blank canvas, but something you can’t find anywhere else. I bring Ledom — a multiracial creative with a dope a– mustache!
What else do you do to earn money as you continue to build your brand?
I have worked all sorts of jobs while chasing dreams. I served in restaurants for years. I’ve worked in salons and even cleaned houses. I’ve spent many days crying in my car in front of the “get me by” jobs and prayed for something to happen for me. Fortunately now I am at a great place in my life where I am able to live in my dreams but the struggle isn’t over I am still working hard to really live off of my art and passion and create an Iconic name that stands far past my time. I have also been an entrepreneur, launching a company with my partner along this journey.
What does success look like for you?
Success for me means being at the top of my game in my crafts and having it be accepted with warm arms. Making lots of money in what I do so my parents never have to worry about me, and so I can live that grande life we all want, right?
With that being said, what’s most important is that I am able to inspire people with my work. I hope then those inspired will then create things that inspire others — and it’s an ongoing beautiful celebration of Great things coming out of different people living powerfully on and on.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Married happily in love is my number one. Right next to that is having a great career shared between modeling and music (I am a singer as well), sharing myself in my arts and being celebrated on a large scale for it. Music videos and huge fashion campaigns. Being a Millionaire many times over and taking all my loved ones up with me on this rise of Ledom!!! But first I have to reach that big modeling contract and start sharing my voice with the world.