The 24-year-old recently released her debut album, “Trendsetter”, and sat down exclusively with Essence to address the constant ridicule that she receives.

“Throughout my career, people have always shared their opinions about me, how they feel and what they think,” she stated. “I’m glad to remind people that I do it for myself and I’m living for myself… I love myself more than anybody and that I will put myself first.”

Ever since Leray stepped on the scene with her music, she has been on the receiving end of backlash and ridicule for her looks. Petite in frame and known for rocking her signature braids, Leray displays a stark contrast from her wig-wearing, curvacious, female-rap peers. 

“As a female artist and not being a hundred percent sex symbol, sometimes you have to put in a little more work for people to really see and hear you,” she shared. “I just applied pressure and made sure that people heard and saw me and did it with confidence.”

And the confidence is surely noticed. From sporting sweatsuits on red carpets, to embracing her small frame proudly, Coi Leray stands firmly in who she is and doesn’t bow down to the expectations of what society, or the music industry, deem to be beautiful or sexy. 

“I wish it didn’t get this bad with the whole body shaming thing – I think it’s so pathetic,” she shared. “Yeah I weigh like 110 pounds. I’m mad small. I’ve always been little. Is it by choice? No, this is just how God made me. If I had the option to make this ass 20 times bigger, of course I would – who wouldn’t want a fat ass?… But this is what God gave me. So what am I going to do?”


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Leray’s defiant attitude in response to the ridicule explains why “Trendsetter” is the perfect name for her debut album title – ultimately her introduction to the world. 

“I want the listeners to become trendsetters… If people can understand that everyone can contribute to this industry, then it might limit the animosity and tension that comes with it,” she shared. “Everyone has something in them. What you have in you and what you were made for – that’s the trend. You just have to find it.”