That’s a great way to look at it. I’d imagine the stress of a lawsuit that size was not fun, but the fact that it got a response from such an iconic artist is no small thing.
I know, and she sent it as a Word doc. I should really print that out, and put it in a frame and hang it up somewhere in my apartment. It’s art. Whenever Barbara Kruger speaks or puts anything on paper, that’s art.
You were a semi-public figure before Real Housewives, but were you nervous about stepping up to that next level of being in the public eye?
I was definitely nervous. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m going to be on fucking TV!” Like, “What? This is insane.” I was definitely very shook. I guess it’s been interesting, because it’s a lot of the viewers and it’s so mainstream. In a good way and a bad way, a lot of people had never heard of Mob, but now know about it. Some are like, “Wow! This is fucking cool” and some people just don’t get it.
Some people don’t understand streetwear, or downtown New York, or that whole community and where I can come from. I don’t think they get it. It’s such a big transition from Mob to TV, obviously. I’m still trying to find my balance, where I’m still doing the brand. I don’t have a lot of time to do it, and I’m not as involved as I used to be. But how do I continue to do the brand and then also be Leah McSweeney as this new person that’s on TV? I don’t know. It’s a little weird.
How do you navigate fame, taking care of your mental health and still being a creative person?
The public eye is not kind. I never set out to be famous or anything like that. I just wanted to do cool shit that made me feel good and I’ve had different outlets to express myself. Being in the public eye is not a creative outlet. You know what I mean? I think the show is a form of art in a way, but I am still navigating how I take care of my mental health and deal with my new life. Thank god for medication, and fucking psychiatrists, and everything.
You’re on this massively popular reality show and about to be in your first movie. You’re clearly heading into the next phase of your career, but I noticed that you thanked the streetwear community first in your book’s acknowledgements.
Yeah, that makes me sad to think about, in a way. I feel really lucky to be a part of that community. I miss that world, because I’m not as much a part of it as I used to be. I miss the trade show days and all of that. But things change.
Do you think that world will always be a part of you?
I hope so. I feel like I’ve gotten a little, not timid, but I feel like I’m a lot more relaxed than I used to be. I’m not as in your face as I used to be, and sometimes I miss that girl. I think things through a little more than I used to. But the ethos of Mob, the Most Official Bitches attitude, yes. I’m still going to go through the world and every career I have from now until whenever looking through that prism.
This interview has been edited and condensed.