Since she first hit the Real Housewives of New York City scene, Leah McSweeney has not been afraid to speak her mind. And, now, from sexual wellness and mental health to plastic surgery and sobriety, the self-made entrepreneur and OG downtown New Yorker is leaving no subject off-the-table.
Life Boost: “I’m kind of the same [since becoming a Housewife]. I’m the same, but my life is a little different. It doesn’t feel like anything is different, but I know it is. I am still shocked that people recognize me. I always think that it’s someone I know when they’re looking at me and they say, ‘Hi’—like I know them from somewhere. Obviously, I think the show gave my life a boost. I needed a little boost and that’s what it did. I will say that I am a lot busier than I have been in a while, but all good stuff.”
Branded Content: “My newer brand, Happy Place, is so much fun to do because it’s so different than what I’ve been used to doing. I was in the streetwear business with Married to the Mob for so long that it’s exciting for me to just have a brand that can still speak to the people that buy Mob, but maybe speak to more people. Mob is very in-your-face with the bright colors and the crazy sayings and, sometimes, the curses…and Happy Place is a lot more chill. It’s like the other side of me. There’s Mob Leah and Happy Place Leah just chilling in your face.
For Mob, you just never know what’s going to happen. That’s why I love doing it—you can have a business plan and you can have goals set, but you never know what opportunities are going to come your way. You never know who’s going to send you an email and say, ‘Hey, I want to sell your stuff,’ or, ‘So and so wants to wear your stuff,’ or whatever. Rihanna posting the picture of her wearing it was obviously huge. Stuff like that happens, and it’s very much, ‘Wow, I could never have predicted that.’”
Continued Conversation: “I think that one of the best parts about being on the show has been being able to reach people and to have conversations about different topics, like mental health. I was stunned when it got brought up on the show [McSweeney was diagnosed with bipolar II], but in hindsight, I’m so happy it did. My book that I just announced [Chaos Theory: How to Embrace the Unexpected and Find Meaning in the Madness, coming out April 5 of next year], it’s going to cover a lot of that stuff, too. I feel like we have been in a collective mental health crisis…our world is upside down on so many levels, but I think that the conversation has been brought to the forefront. There’s still so much stigma around it, though. I think we still have a long way to go.”
Surgery Stories: “I get asked all the time about my surgeries [in the past year, McSweeney discussed getting a rhinoplasty and breast lift and augmentation]. It’s interesting, because I think that there’s so much lying about it still, especially on social media and with celebrities. Obviously, no one has to be open about things they don’t want to be open about. Everyone has a right to their own privacy, but if you weren’t going to be selling products based on how you look and you look the way you look, not really because of that product, but because of a $100,000 worth of surgery, I think it’s fair to be honest about it. I know in certain places in Europe, they made it totally illegal to filter pictures and things like advertisements. The more we hide things or the more we don’t talk about them, the more dangerous they become. I think it’s important to be honest—especially when you’re in the public eye. That’s my opinion on it, but I also would understand why someone doesn’t want to be 100-percent honest, because people are nasty.”
Beauty List: “I’m obsessed with Byredo everything—the candles, the hand soaps, the hand lotion and perfumes, but, more recently, I started using a few of these Korean brands: Sulwhasoo, Innisfree. I also started using Laneige. I always use their lip stuff, but now I also have the moisturizer, which I really like. I also really love Neova products.”
Fall Forward: “I’m so excited for this fall. First of all, I love fall, who doesn’t? I like pumpkin spice latte-ing it up. I’m doing all that basic bitch stuff. I’m going to go apple-picking, I’m going pumpkin-patching, I’m doing it all! Obviously, I’m a little nervous about COVID and where we’re going with it, but I’m also trying to be positive. I just moved into a new apartment, and it’s a little bit bigger. I purposely wanted to have more space because I think we’re in that time now where it’s like, ‘Who’s going to a club?’ I’m not going to a club! I’m not having big eight-people dinners out of restaurants. I want my friends to be in my home with me so I look forward to just being here. I’ve been non-stop designing the apartment and buying new stuff and I’m really very into my home right now. I just can’t wait to just be home all fall.”
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