"Internet rapper lady" Hall, class of 2000, stays fit and quirky

Sweaters and spandex from Goodwill, a neck brace, and a campaign that shocked the whole town were all one art nerd needed to win prom queen at Ames High in 2000. Pause for four years for college and then add in the Internet. Now you have the final product: a self-professed diva and YouTube phenomenon. At 10:30 am on an average Thursday morning, six ecstatic WEB staffers piled into one compact car and ventured down Northwestern Avenue to Wheatsfield Grocery. There, we found a barely recognizable, normally attired Leslie Hall. “After campaigning and walking the halls proclaiming [that I had broken my neck], the rumors started and started successfully,” Hall said about her favorite high school memory. “I knew I had to angle it correctly to win. So, I went for cripple: ‘Let’s do it for her.’” Hall began her prom queen campaign in the fall, entering the Homecoming parade on Main Street uninvited while wearing a prom dress and riding on a Mustang. Her ‘publicity stunt’ appalled all of Ames, making the front page of the Tribune the next morning. Hall then made posters and campaign buttons with her face on them, holding her “campaign headquarters” in the art room at Ames High. Leslie describes herself as an “Internet rapper lady”. Her music videos have almost 5.7 million views on YouTube, earning herself a spot on the VH1 countdown, 40 Greatest Internet Superstars . Hall has also appeared on several episodes of the Nickelodeon TV show, Yo Gabba Gabba , and is a part of their touring cast. Hall is the lead singer of the music group, Leslie and the Ly’s, with whom she has released four studio albums and performs across the US with. They are well-known for their satirical lyrics and sometimes overwhelming performances. “I saw [Leslie and the Ly’s] at VEISHEA last year, and it was absolutely crazy. I didn’t even know what to think,” junior Alyssa Bovinette said. Hall has the goal of performing everywhere in Iowa at least once. Notorious for her unique, homemade performance wardrobe (an abundance of secondhand sweaters, metallic spandex, big glasses, and even bigger hair), Hall began developing this look in high school. But who in the world wears spandex in high school? “Hell, I started wearing spandex in middle school,” Hall said. “I found my first pair at Goodwill.” It was love at first synthetic fiber. Mrs. Google, Hall’s art teacher at Ames High, was the one who pushed her and other art kids into going to arts schools and pursuing careers in the arts. Hall earned a scholarship to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, to which she attended for her degree in painting. Leslie, with the help of modern inventions like YouTube, uses her music as her most recent creative outlet. Hall credits her main artistic and performance influences to Britney Spears, Shania Twain, John Waters, and the TV show Lost . “But I’m mostly self-driven,” Hall said. “I just love the attention.” Some think of Hall’s material as too strange to be true. “I don’t understand her or the draw to her music,” junior Bridget Fonseca said. “I like to be smart about my work. Instead of saying, ‘Meet me in the back with the jack and the jukebox’, although that is a great line, I like to be more creative. Like, ‘Touch my brow as I perspire to these great jams’,” Hall said. “I want kids to listen and adults to be like, ‘Oh, she is sick. But at least she hides it from my kids.’” Currently, Hall is living in Ames, but of course, is staying busy. “Staying attractive right now is my number one goal; I’m trying to keep my skin silky. I’m fighting age,” Hall said. “Internet can be cruel.” Hall still enjoys painting in her free time, and her work is on sale through her website and is also displayed in many galleries. She the owner of a “gem sweater museum”, totalling over 500 sweaters. Leslie and the Ly’s are also currently working on a new album and planning to go on a US tour after its release. But in the meantime, she has some advice for Ames High students.“Don’t talk to ISU students – they only want to touch your uppers,” she said. “Quirky kids should get together with other quirky kids. Form a band! It was the most exciting thing that I’ve ever done.” Surely enough, Hall has made a name for herself in and outside of Ames High School. Her neck brace and spandex will forever be remembered in our beige hallways. “I need like a bronze statue of myself at Ames High, or I could sponsor a cubby or something in the Art room. We could have a ribbon cutting ceremony and everything.”