Lee Levi: The Danish girl’s fashion and film debut
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Lee Levi: The Danish girl’s fashion and film debut

She has survived the Amazon, made a Hollywood movie and dated a prime minister’s son. Now Lee Levi is moving into fashion

Brigit Grant is the Jewish News Supplements Editor

Reaching the 5,000 friends limit on Facebook signals lionisation in the world of social media – so it’s no surprise that Lee Levi can’t accept any more requests.

As a model, influencer and actress, this Danish 26-year-old only has to appear in a pair of Gucci sunglasses to have everyone slavering for them and a poster of her advertising a cosmetic brand creates a crowd.

Yet she remains charmingly modest about her allure, possibly because she lives in Tel Aviv where beauty is in big supply or because she knows publicity can be double-edged.

Dating Yair, the son of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 certainly got her some attention and she was the girl everyone wanted to know more about for the few months they dated. “It’s not easy being the prime minister’s son,” says the actress discreetly and she broke up with Yair long before he emerged as a controversial figure renowned for his political tweets and misogynistic comments caught on camera.

Fortunately politics isn’t Lee’s thing and getting along with people was an essential part of life growing up  on the Danish island of Rømø, which is only 16km end to end with a population of just 700 .

“It was very very small and insular. And yes everyone knew everything about everyone,” she says in response to the obvious.

Her parents Arie and fashion designer Elisabeth had the only clothing store on the island, so Lee was introduced to style at an early age.

But then she was sent to boarding school where she cried every day and only found happiness in dance classes. “My passion was ballet and hip hop,” she notes before she moved to Cambridge at the age of 15 to study performing arts.

Like a lot of gorgeous women with a dream of movie stardom she then went to the Lee Strasberg theatre and film institute in Los Angeles, but before she had time to find her feet in the business, a failed love affair, no income and an expired visa took her back home. It wasn’t for long as a conversation with her brother got her thinking about where she was happiest.

Yair

“My father’s family are from Bulgaria, but he was raised in Israel, so we would visit my grandparents at least twice a year. I was always at peace there, because of my Jewish roots and the way the country made me feel.”

Relocating to Israel wasn’t an instant fix – “I was a waitress in a café,” she says, but then she got signed by an agency and became the face of campaigns for Kenzo and an ambassador for Chopard and Tous jewellery. When she then added the Israeli PM’s son to the mix, waitressing was a thing of the past and she was whisked to the Amazon rain forest to be a contestant in Hamesima: Amazonas, an Israeli reality show about celebrity survival.

“I made it to the last few, but then in one of the final challenges I got caught in a rope and suffered second degree burns. They wouldn’t let me continue because of the risk of infection.”

Lee’s reality has since taken an even more exciting turn as she will soon be seen in the neo noir film American Night alongside Jonathan Reyes Meyers and Jeremy Piven, but more importantly she has created her own fashion label – Ivel – a luxurious collection of suits, shirts and skirts pictured here that will be available at Selfridges before the end of the year.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” says Lee who is chuffed to be following her parents lead.   “ They have been the best role models in my life, so why wouldn’t I?”

 

For Lee’s clothes visit Smartech at Selfridges or
www.ivelshop.com

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