Breeny Lee is a blogger, vlogger, model and fashion designer but, most importantly, a girl after God’s own heart. She talks to Girl Got Faith about her journey in to modelling, how she found Jesus and why she’s not interested in fitting in.
Despite how she may appear, Breeny only needs a quick ten minutes to get herself ready in the morning. How!? She points at her high-waisted black jeans “these are my favourite. I wear them like every day because they are so easy to style.” But for beauty in a rush her go-to routine is “Concealer, eyebrows and brush my hair”.
With now over 38k followers on Instagram and a brand ambassador for Beauty Locks, Breeny’s teenage dreams of becoming a model have become a reality. “When I was in secondary school I would think about my future and what I wanted to do. I was thinking I would love to be a model! Bearing in mind I wasn’t model size or model look.” With no course for modelling, Breeny turned to fashion design and began her studies at Hackney community college after the summer holidays with not only a passion for fashion, but a new found passion for Jesus.
“I grew up in the church but my mum said one day; ‘I’m not going to force my children to go to church, if they want to, they’ll go.’” So at 13 years old she decided to take her mum up on that offer. “Me and my sister used to stay at home and watch Hollyoaks omnibus on Sundays and just chill out, living the life!” Laughs Breeny. “From the age of 13 to 16 I feel like I experienced a lot of life, probably a lot too soon. But then I got to a point where I was like, my life is so repetitive. I thought this can’t be it.
“My niece was doing a play at my mums church so I thought I’d go and watch the play, little did I know that day I would get saved. A guy was preaching a message about my name being written in the book of life. Before that I had always had a fear of dying, but when I heard the message it was like confirmation for me so I gave my life and I never looked back. I didn’t expect it at all, but it was exactly what I needed at the time, and I am thankful for being saved so young. It completely transformed my thinking.” Breeny explains.
After college she spent four years studying at the London College of Fashion which is where her modelling began. “People would always ask me to try their stuff on and model in the end of year fashion show. One person asked me to do a hair shoot for them, and when the pictures came out I put them on Facebook and people started saying ‘oh Breeny’s a model now’. So it was like a domino effect.”
As more modelling jobs came in, she wasn’t sure if she should sign to an agency “I did go to a few agencies one day but I realised I didn’t have the stamina to keep getting told no. I didn’t want to be tied down either. They want to change how I look and put me in a box but I’m creative, I do design, blogging I want my hair big one day, I want it green the next, but in a modeling agency you have to be this one person all the time. So I continued my freelance journey and everything has happened how it was supposed to have happened, with God in the midst of it.” She says with a smile of content.
Although she loves modelling, Breeny doesn’t ever want to be known for that alone. “When I was designing people would be like, oh you’re a designer? And I’d be like no; I’m a model and blogger, too. Then people will ask; how is modelling going? And I’ll be like yeah, good, but I’m still designing and blogging too!”
But one thing she doesn’t mind being known for is her faith; “I feel like Christianity is not just something I do on a Sunday – it’s my identity. It is who I am. And then out of that I can do the fashion, I can do the beauty, I can do the making videos, it’s who I am. It’s not a contradiction and it’s not something I put on or put off. A Christian is who I am. And everything else is what I do. It’s the Christ in me that empowers me to do what I’m doing to the best of my ability.”
Breeny is well aware that all the industries she is involved in have the potential to distract her from her faith “it kind of affects the way you look at beauty because it is so much about what you look like and your outward appearance so you’ve got to be careful not to value that more than you value the beauty of the inside, of compassion, love and generosity. That’s the main thing about Christianity. It’s not what you look like, it’s the heart.”
If you follow her on Instagram you will see that her faith is at the heart of everything she does. Yes, there will be beautiful images of a perfect face and bright eyes, gorgeous hair and amazing clothes, but even that can’t disguise her heart for encouraging others and wanting them to have a relationship with God.
“Posting pictures and getting likes compared to somebody messaging me and me being able to give them advice is completely different, and it’s where my heart lies. I know God is just using things like Instagram as a vehicle for me to do that.” She explains.
Although her followers grow in number every day she never set out with that goal in mind. “I used to use Instagram as an editing app to edit my photos to put on Facebook. Then one day I saw ‘someone liked your photo’ and it was one of my friends. I had like 500 photos that I had edited! Imagine the same photo that you’ve edited ten different ways. I was like nooo you can’t see this so I deleted my whole Instagram!”
It’s important not to be deceived by what you see on social media though, warns Breeny. “You can have all these followers but still be broke, or depressed. It’s not a true reflection of who you are. It just so happens that the world we live in is quite shallow, it’s all about image. But when you’re doing what you love doing it’s going to attract people.”
There have been times that Breeny’s felt like she doesn’t fit in anywhere, not even with other Christians. However, over the years she has learnt that she can be confident in who God made her to be. “God made me liking fashion and beauty and all this other stuff and I’m not going to change because I’m supposed to be doing it this way or this way. I’m going to be authentic.”
To see more from Breeny check out her Instagram and Twitter @BreenyLee