All About Leo: Your Complete Guide To The Sun Sign

Photographed by Ricky Michiels, Beauty Editor: Jade Taylor, Styled by Michael Kozak, Makeup by Lindsey Williams, Hair by Remy Moore, Model: Sara at New York Models.

Roar, lion, roar

All About Leo: July 23 – August 22

Symbol: The Lion
Ruling Planet: The Sun
Element: Fire
Quality: Fixed
Body part: Heart and back
Personal Mantra: I rule
Crystal: Ruby, tiger’s eye, pyrite, amber, carnelian
Colors: Shades of red, fiery orange, gold, royal purple
Luckiest Numbers: 1, 4, 10, 13, 19, 22

Positive Traits: Self-confident, generous, big-hearted, charismatic, influential
Negative Traits: Melodramatic, egotistical, pretentious, domineering, vain

Most Likely BFFs: Aries, Sagittarius, Aquarius, Libra, Gemini
Most Likely to be Bae: Aquarius, Libra, Sagittarius, Aries
Most Likely to be Frenemies: Scorpio, Capricorn, Taurus, Cancer

Famous Leos:
Barack Obama
Kylie Jenner
Mick Jagger
Demi Lovato
Daniel Radcliffe
Bill Clinton
Cara Delevingne
Mila Kunis
Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lopez
Jackie Kennedy Onassis
Joe Jonas
Young Thug
Ben Affleck

Just as the Sun rules the solar system, Leo rules the roost as the zodiac’s reigning nobility—or, at least that’s how these bold, confident personalities certainly view themselves. Leo the Lion proudly wears the crown jewels as the kings and queens of the jungle, and those born under this fierce feline constellation, roughly between July 23 and August 22, will happily let you know who’s butt their gilded throne is reserved for. Creative and hot-blooded, leonine folks tend to ooze charisma and a heaping dose of good-hearted generosity from their very pores. Even the most independent, unruly signs (I’m looking at you, Aquarius) can’t resist Leo’s animal magnetism, natural dominance, and shining ambition, making the fifth sign of the zodiac some of the most naturally inclined leaders out there. 

Leos can’t help but make a big splash, relishing any and every opportunity to steal the spotlight. It’s no wonder that so many Leo-born people end up in Hollywood, politics, and entertainment in general. Even when Leo tries to tiptoe through the tulips—or around a touchy subject—they end up crashing off the stage and into the orchestra pit. Indeed, subtlety is not Leo’s strong suit. But thanks to their absolutely golden sense of humor, this sign is an ace at sweetening a sour situation with roaring laughter and a fiery wit. And thanks to their literal lionhearts, these signs are some of the least likely to hold grudges. 

Despite Leo’s legendary magnanimous and royal mindset, these fire signs definitely enjoy keeping score. Competitive and sometimes domineering, or even abrasive and bossy, Leo is in it to win it—no matter the game—and has the trophies to prove it. Leo’s determination to succeed by any means necessary make this sign a formidable opponent, but their propensity for manipulating social interactions in their favor make them a force to be reckoned with in any arena. Unlike their sibling fire sign Aries, who’s known as a fearless pioneer and ruthless initiator, Leo’s lifeblood is seeing endeavors through, from beginning to end, and immersing themselves in every little detail in between. Though Leo’s flair for the dramatic has earned this sign a reputation as having silly or reactionary tendencies, the regal head that wears the crown hides a well-organized, politically Machiavellian brain. Leo’s strength in battle is being able to move swiftly through the savannah, sticking to their master plan while also remaining nimble and completely in touch with their catlike reflexes in the event of unforeseen changes.

Much like this sign’s watery predecessor on the wheel of the zodiac, Cancer, Leo’s ruling planet isn’t technically a planet at all, but fittingly, the Sun itself. Since Western astrology’s roots run much deeper than modern astronomy, the Sun and Moon are considered “planets.” Being ruled by Earth’s life-giving energy source and the center of our solar system illustrates a lot about the Leo personality. If the Sun extinguished itself, our planet’s inhabitants—from every kingdom and phylum—would surely die, and that’s exactly the kind of importance that Leo places on themselves. Sometimes, this attitude of sheer indispensability can be absolutely grating and obnoxious if fueled purely by an overblown ego (a downside of the Leo personality), but typically this theatrical sign’s mastery of “fake it till you make it” secures them with the confidence and self-assuredness others look to for solid leadership.

Because Leo thinks the sun rises and sets for them and them alone, these signs naturally expect to star in every show and snatch every crown. This pattern of hierarchical thinking can occasionally work against Leo, stifling their ability to collaborate and work as a team. Those that have tangled in the lion’s den know that diplomacy is not this sign’s strongest suit, especially when their egos have been bruised. But telling a Leo they can’t succeed at accomplishing their chosen goal practically ensures that they will shatter all expectations, going above and beyond to secure their rightful crown. No, these signs do not brood or sulk for long, springing into action when the pressure cranks up, nor do they waver in their tactical thought and execution. Leos have a laser-like focus when it comes to making decisions and choosing the right path, and will not hem or haw aimlessly. Those born under this sign are intensely proud, decisive individuals capable of navigating any terrain.

Leo the Lion is a deeply loyal and honorable sign, and more than being driven by their own desire to rule or feed a hungry ego, these signs are motivated by their commitment and responsibility to what’s right. Leo-born people are known to hold their word as bond more so than other signs, and will bend over backward to fulfill promises and adhere to obligations, rather than disappoint those that rely on their strength or mar their character’s honorability. This self-assured verve and unquenchable thirst for life also place Leos at the forefront of mentorship, making these big-hearted personalities brilliant role models, instructors, coaches, and teachers. Just as the Moon is associated with the Divine Mother, the Sun is considered her archetypically masculine counterpart, lending Leo their proud, paternal or “big brotherly” instincts. 

Unsurprisingly, hot-to-trot Leo is in the fire sign family, which means their personalities burn bright with unstoppable drive and fearlessness. These signs, like their fiery siblings Aries and Sagittarius, prefer to take big, dramatic plunges and avoid pussyfooting around what they want out of life. Sometimes, this extremely active, all-or-nothing attitude can make for impulsive, downright romantic spontaneity, and yet other times this devil-may-care streak could spell disaster. Fortunately, Leo-born people tend to be much too put-together and dignified to allow themselves to be outright humiliated or publicly defeated. Embarrassment isn’t completely avoidable even for the most regal of signs, but when awkward disaster strikes, you can be sure that a Leo will be quick to recover, granted their trademark sense of humor is as robust as their ego. Otherwise, take cover! These kitties have claws and are known for throwing down some major temper tantrums, though their roar is usually worse than their bite in the end.

As a “fixed” sign, Leo belongs to a group called a “quadruplicity” consisting of four signs that occur right in the middle of the season. As the Lion rises at summer’s midpoint, so too does Scorpio last through mid-fall, Aquarius in the middle of winter, and Taurus in mid-spring. Fixed signs’ purpose and strength are in their perseverance, illustrated by their dates coinciding with the given season’s deepest, most intense point. Leos, along with their fixed-sign relatives, are resolute and unswervingly focused in their every pursuit. These signs are confidently aware of their power and purpose, sticking to the steady route (though Leo may become impatient and cranky if forced to wait to pounce on their prey for too long). Fixed signs avoid struggling against tides of change by relying on their willpower, grit, and inner strength to see them through every challenge. These traits also carry with them a darker side, which can sometimes bog down their personal progress, manifesting as stubbornness and inflexibility.

Leo’s innate courage usually is what wins these personalities their notably huge fan bases, but their true gift is catering to their happiness. Like a true performer, Leo can’t resist turning their friends, family, colleagues, and really anyone nearby into an audience, taking the charge in sociable situations to keep boisterous, cheerful energy flowing in a fun feedback loop of good vibes. Lions are notorious party animals, possessing unmatched stamina for all-nighters and crashing any scene. After all, Leos are the true rock stars of the zodiac, and to tag these signs as status-conscious would only be nicking the iceberg. Despite their unending creativity and capability in slaying practically any goal they set their mind to, Leo’s passions lie in capturing a slice of celebrity. When Leo lays their manes to rest at night, they sleep best knowing that they are known. Having your name in lights is one thing (and they love it), but being on the tip of everyone’s tongues is another. Talk is cheap, but a little gossip goes a long way; only one spark can set an entire forest ablaze.

Drama tends to attract itself to the Leo personality, likely because of their intensity and theatrical nature, but at the end of the day, these wild beasts are big-hearted lovers who would rather keep the peace. (Though Leo will be number one in line to grab the popcorn and watch the tea get brewed, served, and spilled—all from the safety of their private opera box on the sidelines, of course.) Leo-born people view their contemporaries, friends, and family as the court subjects of their kingdom, and a benevolent ruler knows that their place on the throne will be secure if their people are loved and well fed. Leo’s flair for grandiosity, progressive-mindedness, and infectious self-confidence only make them more appealing as valued friends and lovers.

Those born under this sign hold the pleasure principle in high regard, taking care to balance their seriousness with irreverence and their work with plenty of playtime. And when quittin’ time rolls around, Lions have no qualms whatsoever with making it rain. Leo can spend money just as easily as they can earn it, and why not? These hedonistic beasts—much like their fixed-sign sibling, Taurus—believe in rewarding themselves generously for their hard work. Leo’s casual-baller attitude toward money sometimes gives these signs a taste for testing their luck gambling, either on glitzy Vegas tables or throwing dice once in awhile in some noir back alley.

Likewise, no Leo will stand for a basic palace or bro den; celestial Lions will spare no expense at making their home as comfortable and cushy as they believe they deserve. Leo-born people are happiest and most balanced when they exercise regularly, ideally creating time for a gym regimen as well as team sports in their leisure time. Friendly competition, teamwork, and physical exertion are Leo’s perfect storm for blowing off steam and flexing their extroversion muscles. Leo is ruled by the heart and the back, indicating that these signs tend to develop cardiovascular issues as well as heart disease and are more prone to injuries of the back, particularly from overexertion, skeletal issues, or poor posture.

Spotting a Leo by their physical traits is fairly straightforward, simply look to the person with the most regal stature—they’re usually the ones surveying the room as a Lion scans their pride. Regardless of how tall or short they may be, Leos carry themselves with a uniquely majestic swagger and measured, theatrical motions others can’t help but notice. People born under Leo also tend to have legendary manes, much like their symbol, showcasing thick, cascading tresses others are drawn to and envy. Their faces are usually a bit broad and feline, particularly the eyes, which are always warm, happy, and sparkly. The complexion typically reflects a gold glint and has the tendency to tan well, becoming ruddy or luminous after sun exposure. Leonine people’s facial features can be striking, even arresting, but their commanding visage still retains an approachable, easy-going quality that makes these folks appear welcoming and protective.

Leo’s power colors are none other than fiery reds, orange hues, shades of yellow, and gold. In fact, Leos tend to feel so confident decked out in their iciest gold pieces that this sign has acquired a reputation for being overly showy and gaudy. True Leos can’t resist a bit of camp, adding humor to their aesthetic, which isn’t at all obnoxious or over-the-top when Leo executes conceptual styles flawlessly. If anyone is going to take a sartorial leap of faith into the abyss of drama, let it be Leo, possibly the most confident and capable sign for the job. Leo’s lion-sized wardrobe boasts rich, jewel-toned colors in exotic patterns and luxurious textiles that evoke images of far-off islands and romantic tropical locales. And being the most regal sign of the 12, Leo has an affinity for deep purples, indigo, and royal blue in their personal style and decor. Overall, Leo is a sharp dresser with a keen judgment of what to wear for whom and when. You might run into your favorite Leo at the corner store in their athleisure, but you can bet money that they still look chic and respectable covered in Nike checks.

Photographed by Ricky Michiels, Beauty Editor: Jade Taylor, Styled by Michael Kozak, Makeup by Lindsey Williams, Hair by Remy Moore, Model: Sara at New York Models.

Shadow Side

Leo’s optimism and charm create a sunny facade masking the molten lava running through these hot-blooded personalities’ veins at all times. Though more mature Leos are able to handle challenges and adversity with humor and steadfast confidence in their ability to persevere, the regal lion of the zodiac isn’t immune to their negative traits, or “shadow side,” manifesting in times of stress. One of the most common facets of Leo’s ill-tempered characteristics is their tendency toward developing a wildly overblown ego. In fact, the strongest Leos learn the hard way how far their egos can take them, and if they are smart will apply the lessons of their foolhardy arrogance—which is usually a product of their youthful years—to the rest of their lives, ultimately becoming more seasoned and graceful as they age.

Because Leo maintains a lust for fame and celebrity, these personalities know how to play the game, faking confidence and a Hollywood grin until their bank account reflects their self-image. However, this cinematic view of life and taste for playing the lead role in every situation—real or imagined—lends a real air of melodrama to their personality. All the world’s a stage to Leo the Lion, and they are taking it all in, soaking up the spotlight—so you’d better recognize, or else. While some find Leo’s theatrical flourishes to be charming or whimsical, most hit a plateau of how much Leo they can handle after feeling stifled and manipulated by constant drama. Unfortunately, Leo’s magnetic appeal to drama doesn’t typically wane with maturity, leaving even the most chill lions with a lifelong appetite for the grandiose.

Status is a powerful motivator for these big cats of the zodiac, sparking greed, materialism, and worst of all, a viciously pretentious attitude in less-evolved Leos. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working hard and showing it off, but some born under this sign become so blinded by material assets and social climbing that they can become susceptible to being “bought,” selling out, or compromising their honorability and ethics for personal gain. Crossing over into the shadow side can be extremely toxic for Leo’s reputation—which is their currency and claim to fame, after all. Since these signs enjoy more time in the limelight than other signs, they can assume an almost super-villainous archetype role in the eyes of their “audience” or kingdom of subjects.

Leo’s natural leadership capabilities organically put these folks in the driver’s seat of most group dynamics, but Lions with badly bruised or inflated egos may attempt to prematurely snatch the throne by being domineering, unnecessarily bossy, and just plain obnoxious. Much like the Leo who crosses over into materialism and greed, the Leo who rules by intimidation may see an immediate uptick in power—but that spark will be short-lived and fizzle out. These power-hungry beasts tend to pass through many portals of understanding until absorbing the basic lessons of karma: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Every successful ruler knows that their kingdoms and empires can only thrive if their subjects and people are loved and cared for. The quicker Leo can learn this lesson in empathy the quicker they can reign as the rightful king or queen of their universe.