adidas Originals x Girls Are Awesome Role Models – Leni Paperboats

Girls Are Awesome and adidas Originals have partnered around a top to toe product collection and to increase the representation of women+.

adidas originals x girls are awesome | female photographer | Marlen Stahlhult

In an ongoing series we will excitedly be featuring the role models who helped us shoot the campaign for our new collaborative collection with adidas Originals. 

The definition of a role model is flexible in energetic size and has a constant shifting quality and meaning to people. The same diverse qualities can be attributed to the role models involved with this shoot. Every single one of them carries a strength and drive for what they do that automatically draws others to them in a magnetic fashion.

We’re proud to present to you a group of people who have helped, inspired, supported and upheld a strong sense of community in each of their respective fields and who have all helped us to diversify our understanding of the word role model. 

Leni Paperboats is the photography mastermind behind the photos of the Girls Are Awesome x adidas Originals campaign shoot, but she is much more. Her work is mesmerizing, detail-oriented, color-potent and manages to create a feeling of there being another, and much more playful, universe available for us to immerse ourselves in.

In Leni’s work you can find strength and life force, akin to the photographer herself.

Who is your biggest role model?

I don’t have one specific role model but rather different ones for different parts of my life. I admire how much my mum is willing to give up for her family, how selfless she is and how that seems completely natural for her. On a professional level, I especially admire a friend of mine, Kira Stachowitsch, who has founded several magazines, is running her own publishing house and PR agency and has done that for more than 15 years. In general I would say I’ve always looked for role models in my direct circles rather than celebrating women on posters or screens, as I don’t relate to their journey. I definitely admire women like Emma Watson or Michelle Obama, but for someone to be my role model I have to know them personally and have a connection with them. 

What is the best advice you ever got from a role model?

“Don’t give a fuck what people think about you”. I’m getting better at it, but there’s still a long way to go. I do feel age makes you give fewer fucks though. 

adidas originals x girls are awesome | female photographer | Marlen Stahlhult

When did you first realize that you were “different”? Growing up in a small town, having curly or frizzy hair already meant that you stood out. Combined with a rather unusual sense of fashion (this could be as simple as colored tights or a hat), I was always labeled as different, at least in my opinion. It’s something that I hated as a child and teenager, but something that I absolutely appreciate now. 

Growing up in a small town, having curly or frizzy hair already meant that you stood out. Combined with a rather unusual sense of fashion (this could be as simple as colored tights or a hat), I was always labeled as different, at least in my opinion. It’s something that I hated as a child and teenager, but something that I absolutely appreciate now. 

Was there any specific character that gave you inspiration from a young age?

To be honest I was more of a tomboy growing up, so I would hang out with boys most of the time. I only stuck with girls that played soccer, dressed like boys and opposed anything too girly. I hated the idea of not being taken seriously if I would be perceived as too girly. I was always the buddy, never the girl you would date. I never had a thing for dolls, Barbies or Disney princesses, but rather for characters like Ronja Räubertochter, a girl living with robbers in the forest. I feel that there is much more content about female heroes that aren’t princesses nowadays. And if I ever have kids, I very much look forward to teaching them about female scientists, discoverers, inventors, etc. 

What is your biggest strength?

I’m very determined, at least when it comes to things that I’m passionate about. If I want something, I find a way to get it. If a creative project that I want to do has to be shot in Tokyo to be how I want it to be, with a model that is far too expensive and without me having a team there, I’ll find a way to make it happen. I can get crazy excited about the tiniest things and I have a rather positive outlook on life. I feel it makes your overall quality of life much better if you try to find the positive in everything. I also tend to go with “everything happens for a reason”. So if I didn’t get a job, it’s probably because there’s an even better one waiting for me. It might not be the case, but if you believe it, it works like a placebo. And that’s all that really matters in the end. 

Thanks to Leni and the spark she brings! 

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