I never really paid much attention to Agyness Deyn, beyond the basic understanding that she was a “A Thing” for several years. She got a lot of press, a lot of heat, and circa 2006-07, a lot of the style tastemakers were declaring Agyness the Next Big Thing, the next Kate Moss, the next Linda Evangelista, the next Stella Tennant. Agyness got magazine covers. She got ad campaigns – for Burberry, Vivienne Westwood and Armani, amongst others. She walked all of the big runways. She boned James Franco. And then… everything kind of died down. The hype passed. Everybody kind of figured out that Agyness – real name Laura Hollins – wasn’t all that. So now she’s trying to become an actress. And in a new interview, Agyness finally admitted something that pretty much everyone assumed: she’d been lying about her age for YEARS. When she came on the scene, she was 18 years old and she thought that was “too old” to start modeling. So she shaved some years away. And then she shaved even more away. People thought she was currently 23 years old – she’s admitting that she’s 29. You can read the whole Guardian interview here, and here are some highlights:
Agyness is an actress now: After modelling for 11 years, Deyn has decided to swap the catwalk for the stage, and this week will appear in her first play, a four-handed comedy called The Leisure Society. It is, she readily admits, quite a change. “For modelling, you have to be such a strong person in a way – or seen to be a strong person, do you know what I mean? But in acting you have to get in touch with all the vulnerability that you carry.” She’s been rehearsing for eight hours every day, and talks about it with a sort of awestruck reverence. “When I started doing little bits of acting I was like, this is what I’m supposed to be doing, you know? Going to this place where there’s this fulfillment in kind of like letting go, and also that part of really getting in touch with yourself, to be able to understand a different character, and then portray that to whoever’s watching it, and to be able to penetrate them in a way that touches them. And there’s this unsaid kind of bond with us all [in the cast] which is so powerful, you know? It’s like this family, there for each other; I feel held by the other people who are doing it, which is so great, cos like with modelling for so long it’s a very solo project, and quite lonely. Being part of – well, it makes me feel emotional just talking about it – being part of this with these great people – it’s just like so cool.”
Playing a 21 year old in the play: “I kind of feel like I have to put me as I am now to one side, cos you know, I’m 29, I feel like that’s the age when you start to think about life. What is this all about? Who am I?”
She doesn’t pretend to have an “ugly” past: Deyn seems to become less comfortable when she talks about her old career as a model. She’s the first professional beauty I’ve met who doesn’t pretend to have been an ugly duckling – “No, I suppose as a little girl I was really pretty. I was cute” – which makes a lovely change.
Why she lied about her age: “No, when I decided I would really do modeling 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.
Why she changed her name: “Yeah, I started modelling, and they said there are loads of Lauras – you can change your name. I was like, OK, and then I thought about it and said OK, I’ll be called Agnes; my grandmother was called Agnes.” It was as simple as that? “Yeah.” But didn’t her mother, a Reiki master, also change her name – and Deyn’s sister too? Yes, she acknowledges warily. And she changed the spelling because of numerology? “Laurence helped me change my name,” she says matter of factly. “Erm … yeah, that’s it.”
She’s single: “Yeah, single for three years now. I think I’ve forgotten how to function in a relationship. I hope I meet someone, cos it would be nice to have someone to share your joys and accomplishments and hard times with. To have a comrade in life. I’d like a relationship that was like two tree trunks side by side, strong but independent.”
[From The Guardian]
Ugh, I can’t believe I read the full piece. She’s not evil or bitter or full of herself, nothing like that. She’s just… deep as a puddle. Oh, well. They’re not paying her to be smart, I guess.
As for the name-change and the outright lies about her age – I tend to think Agyness was being packaged to the fashion world, much like Lana del Rey has been packaged to the music industry. Agyness wasn’t anything when she was Laura, a 20-something model in London. Then she signed to a New York modeling agency, changed her name, lied about her age in interview after interview, and suddenly she an It Girl. Do you feel betrayed by the lies? Are you pissed off that a rather average, normal girl was repackaged and “created” out of thin air, built solely on hype and vapidity-sold-as-mystique?
By the way, she looks like Tea Leoni, right?
Photos courtesy of WENN.