The modeling industry is obsessed with youth, so it’s not surprising to find out that well known models have shaved a year or two off their age. But supermodel Agyness Deyn revealed Tuesday that she’s a full six years older than she’s claimed to be when she started modeling.
Deyn, who many believed was 23 years old, told The Guardian that she’s actually 29 — not young woman so much as grown lady. Deyn says that she chose to change her age — as well as her name, which is Laura Hollins in reality — when she started modeling so that she’d have a better chance of standing out and landing jobs. And it worked.
“No, when I decided I would really do modelling I was like 18, and I think at the time that was quite old for a new face, so we knocked off a few years.” The deception has long since been corrected. “But it was my birthday last week, and [designer Henry Holland] was saying how old would you have been? Cos it got really complicated – when personal and work collide – and Henry was like: ‘But it looks like I started being friends with you when you were four or something!'”
Deyn has been facing questions about her true age ever since she struck gold with campaigns for everyone from Burberry to Vivienne Westwood. There’s even a Facebook group called “Agyness Deyn You Are Not 18.” Her age might not matter that much now that she’s tapered off modeling work in favor of acting — she’s currently promoting her turn in a play called The Leisure Society — but if she felt the need to lie just to get work, then it must have really mattered when she started modeling.
And that’s just sad. Ad campaigns and magazine covers might be dominated by young women who aren’t technically old enough to drink (Karlie Kloss) or buy cigarettes (Hailey Clauson), but we’ve always thought that grown women should have a bigger place in selling products to, well, the grown women who buy them. You see that at the other end of the age spectrum — Kristen McMenamy (47), Kate Moss (38) and Naomi Campbell (41) are still getting tons of work. But if the industry is inflexible about letting girls start anywhere past 14 or 15, it’s going to miss out on some major talent. After all, it would have missed Deyn if she hadn’t lied.