Twiggy is considered by many to be the first real “supermodel” and is undoubtedly an icon of the 1960s – her waifish frame, painted eyelashes, and pixie haircut defined the look of the decade After a hugely successful career, Twiggy retired from modelling after only four years, in 1970, but did not disappear from the public eye. Instead she went onto act, became a TV presenter, returned to modelling and continues to be featured in magazines including Vogue and Tatler.
Here are 10 things you might not know about the British style icon:
1. Her real name is Lesley Lawson. “Twigs” became her first nickname because her friends thought that her skinny frame and androgynous look made her resemble a twig. Her hairdresser boyfriend Nigel Davies (now Justin de Villeneuve) was the first to give Twiggy the name she’s most commonly known as, altering her childhood nickname as a marketing stunt. Davies went on to become her manager for the next seven years.
2. In her ‘60s heyday, Twiggy was the focus of many products made in her image including a Barbie doll, a board game, a lunchbox, her own magazine, and of course, false eyelashes.
3. Twiggy was one of the youngest people to be featured on the biographical television documentary, “This is Your Life”, aged only 20.
4. Way before Kate Moss’s time, Twiggy is sometimes blamed for the start of the fashion industry’s obsession with young skinny girls and the rise of eating disorders. Today she’s quick to point out that she felt unattractive and awkward as a young teenager and “much too thin”, stating “I hated what I looked like.” Twiggy weighed just 6.5 stone as a teenage model and has claimed that “that look is a total impossibility for women over the age of 20.” She is also of the opinion that unnaturally skinny celebrities look “terrifying”.
5. Twiggy was a judge on America’s Next Top Model for five cycles of the reality television show. During filming the series she requested to be put in a hotel suite with its own kitchen so she could make her own tea, because “they can’t make tea in America.”
6. Twiggy has spoken out against the pressure on older women to undergo botox and plastic surgery in order to look younger. However she was the subject of controversy when it was shown that a photograph of her used to advertise Olay anti-ageing eye cream and been digitally retouched to remove wrinkles.
7. She’s one of only a handful of celebrities to have a rose named after her. “Twiggy’s Rose” was revealed at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2010 – an apricot-pink fragrant rose with summer and autumn blooms.
8. Twiggy designed a rubber duck for breast cancer awareness month – a light pink duck with yellow flowers. The Twiggy duck was also available as a mobile phone screensaver.
9. The iconic eyelashes or “twiggies” that she is famous for were her own invention – the teenage Twiggy experimented with eye makeup from the age of 14 and would layer three pairs of false eyelashes and paint extra lashes on the skin beneath her eyes.
10. Twiggy’s collaboration with Marks & Spencer and the launch of her own fashion line for older women is said to have led to the “twiggy effect” – women in their sixties and older are now more interested in fashion and looking good than ever before.