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.
Couldn’t give a monkey’s.
You took the words right out of my mouth. I never got the hype over her anyway. I felt betrayal over milli vinelli. I was shocked over finding out that most of the fashion magazines use photoshop. This was as surprising as finding out Matt Bomer is gay. In other words: not surprising at all.
So I wonder was that blind item a few weeks ago about her?? the one about someone with magazines covers lying about their age and sleeping their way to the top?
She’s admitting it once no one cares. Wonderful.
That man she’s standing beside…wow…I’m having this vague but insistant urge to lick his picture on the screen.
That’s Gandy….he’s yummy!
Oh the Gandy…sigh… I miss hot guy friday so much!
That was my only complaint — she got to touch David, and I STILL haven’t.
Change my name & lie about my age… sounds like a plan…
I met her about 3 years ago, and in conversation it came up about our ages, and she said she was 26. So at THAT time, she wasn’t lying. I think if you wanted to ‘out’ females in the entertainment industry for lying about their age, that would be a long list. Agnes is really down to earth and completely stunning. I wish her only the best.
i used to model. it’s pretty routine for the agencies to shave off a couple of years. i was 17 for a LONG time.
I used to kinda like her style. In that close up shot–maybe she’s just wearing too much foundation so it’s cracking, but…looks a little Rachel Zoe :/
Just shows you how random the industry is and how it’s all about being in the right place at the right time. I’ve always been sort of “meh” about her, not great, not terrible. She does look older than 23 though.
Im sure Jessica Chastain will admit her real age a few years from now.I heard rumors that she is already 36 but claims to be just 30.I just hope she should not lie>She is a talented woman.
@kaiser: I want to hear about this ^^
She def looks older than 30 to me. Poor Jessica, this could come back to bite her in the a**
She does look 30 though, to me. Really soft skin. Plus, it’s not hard for TMZ to get ahold of a birth certificate or birth registry.
When I’ve heard about this rumors, i became curious, so i gogle her.Her wikipedia says she’s 30 but anyone can declare fake year like agyness.I also saw the tweet of Mandisa from American Idol during oscar nominations that she went to high school with her and she has their yearbook photos.mandisa is 36 so Jessica might also be 36.She is not yet famous so TMZ won’t bother to check on it.I dont even think TMZ has covered her in their site.But in fairness to her, there’s also an article about her which the interviewer said jessica doesn’t disclose her age so it may not be direct lying.
If she’s 36 and was a senior and Jessica was a freshman (for example), the youngest she could be is 33.
I always liked Agyness. Liked her look. It doesn’t matter to me if she was packaged by the modeling industry. Everyone including me likes to work and get paid (I’m not a model), so she went along with it. I give her credit for doing stage work. I think actors with stage training are so much better than actors who’ve just been on TV or movies. You can’t fake it or do re-takes on stage. More power to her.
I don’t blame her for lying. No matter what industry lately it seems that women always have to be younger… people tend to have an age cut off number and no matter what you do, who you are, how you look if you are at that number you are placed in the too old or will be soon enough category.
I simply that about women and it’s for every topic.. if you say you are 34 for example ..people tend to assume you are married with kids, if you say no it’s ” oh divorced?”. Its even in professional and personal lives women take a hit… and it’s any age.
Women are always too old to do _____. Whatever insert your topic at somebody’s age cut off in their head.
I admit to lying about my age, though generally when dating since men always assume women are younger than they are.. when I went for an interview at my friends company the manager said she really wanted to keep the same age people around her within a few years as someone “old” might bring down the atmosphere. And wanted to keep it within “our age range”. I never told her I was 7 years older than her.. and passed on that position. I didn’t want to lie the whole time.
Glad you landed the job – I didn’t realize there was so much discrimination on age until I got…older. How does one hide it on a resume I wonder.
That’s totally illegal. The manager should not have said that as she could have opened herself up to an age discrimination suit. If you have a “policy” like that, it should NEVER be stated anywhere and to anyone.
Hi David Gandy!
Wait… what were we talking about?
Her posture is terrible!
Brilliant! I was always kinda ‘meh’ about her but I like that she lied her way into being flavour of the month in her mid-20’s in an industry that considers women done at that point.
Aside from that, she’s vapid. I never got her appeal. Maybe her nothingness hidden under layers and layers of hipster was supposed to be captivating?
That guy in the picture is gorgeous. Love his eyebrows.
Isn’t idiotic? People lie about their age, and then get hired by people thinking they are younger than they actually are. So, basically, people are ok with the way they look, then why not abolish this idiotic insistence on YOUNG YOUNG YOUNG when it comes to female beauty?
I don’t blame her. I think it’s pretty standard that agencies lie. I see models for my job and they are often taller and younger on paper than in person.
You are right!! I do see some Tea Leoni in that face!!!
The only person I knew who totally kissed her butt was Perez Hilton. He is an idiot anyway. I thought this gal was in her early 30’s. I think she is still lying.
I thought she was at least 32, I think she is still lying too
She’s pretty, but how did she get “the next Linda Evangelista?” Evangelista’s face is extraordinary and unforgettable. Deyn’s is pretty, but she is no Evangelista.
Exactly. Today’s fashion tastemakers have really questionable taste. I like my top models to be rare and aspirational women, not bland girls.
I can understand the hype that surrounded the true supermodels of the 90s: Linda, Christy T, Cindy, Naomi, Helena, Yasmeen Ghauri, Paulina, Claudia, Karen Mulder; and the ’80s: Iman, Gia, Paulina, Christie B, Carol Alt, Brooke Shields. They were uniquely beautiful in their prime.
Agyness is cute but nothing extraordinary. Now they are hyping up ordinary-looking girls like Lindsey Wixson, Freja Beha Erichsen, and Karlie Kloss. Tall with great skin, but that’s about it. Color me unimpressed.
Movie trivia: Agyness played Aphrodite, goddess of love and beauty, in the crappy remake of Clash Of The Titans. Natalia Vodianova played Medusa.
Come on, Hollywood…really?
When she started doing Vogue, I said to my friends, “That bitch is not 19!” No way. She looked way to seasoned!
The modeling industry is so f’ed up, I certainly don’t see it as any big deal that she lied about her age. Better than having an actual 14 year old model.
It doesn’t bother me much. Hollywood is full of people of who lie about their age (*cough* Chelsea Handler *cough*). There is also a lot of people who have a “stage name”. A lot more common in the golden era of Hollywood but even today Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag. A lot of celebrities also get plastic surgery and then deny it.
Hollywood is full of liars if you think about it. These things don’t bother me really.
One thing I will say about Chelsea, she’s been sticking to her 1975 birth-date since the mid-90s, so at least she’s committed to it. 😉
No way she was born in 1975!!! I say 1968!
looking at the first big picture, i thought that this was tea leoni.
@kaiser, shoot, i totally missed your last sentence somehow – i just repeated what you said. 🙂
I’ve never understood what the big deal was about her. She doesn’t look remarkable in any particular way. For a model, she’s only average looking, she’s no great beauty. And her fake name is stupid. If you’re going to have a fake name, at least pick something pretty. Meow! lol
lol I agree. IMO she’s nothing amazing. She’s no Linda E that is for sure!
Maybe someone already pointed this out, and hope I’m not being obtuse but if she is currently 6 years older than “people thought” and she started out at the actual age of 18, then she pretended she was 12? This makes no sense at all.
I was thinking the same thing.
Who is she?
I LOVE this model. She has that natural born super prettiness that Tea Leoni has. Suck it, Haters!
We should be more upset about the Zac Posen models who were 14 years old and creating controversy during NY Fashion Week.
She does look like Tea Leoni. I thought it was her daughter.
The fake name thing doesn’t bug me so much (I mean if your last name is really unfortunate or really long, its probably a good idea to change it). But lying about your age is just stupid. Someone will find you birth certificate eventually.
By the way…she STILL looks younger then Courtney Stodden!
She has stupid hair.
I’ve never heard of her.
If you feel ‘betrayed’ by somebody else lying about their age, seek help? lol. Who even cares anyway? Do you know how many celebrities, especially females, lie about their age? Men can get in and stay in the game at just about any age, women can’t. So, if they have to lie about their age just to land the job, so be it. Society set these rules and standards.
I am pissed that you are considered old when over 25
She shaved off some years and gave herself the pseudonym “Agyness”?
Now, if only Angelina and Rachel McAdams will admit their true ages.
I’m afraid that Angelina J. Voight (mother’s maiden name Bertrand) is really included in the birth registry for 1975 😉
Canadian records are more difficult to get a hold of, but 1978 looks about right for Rachel McAdams.
I wonder what would happen to the state of debate of the word ‘haters’ were stricken from the language? Wait, no I don’t: It would improve by a thousand fold, since we would be forced to think up arguments rather than spit out ad hominem cliches. But I’m probably just jealous, hm?
I don’t really have anything to say about this girl. I used to see her subway ads, now I don’t.
What is it with people changing their names from Laura in the process of becoming famous? First Reese Witherspoon (from what I’ve heard) now Aygness Dean. I’m a Laura what’s so wrong with my name!?!?
Wow, when Tea Leoni met Lindsey Lohan and merged into one… especially in the questionable lace/two-piece “gown.”
Oh no, no, there was something special about Agyness. She stood out among the bevy of Caucasian models in the catwalk b’c of her Eurasian features. She is unique. Overhyped, yes; Overrated, nope. She does well as a model. Many famous models were repackaged to another persona anyway and given “fashion” names. You know like Coco Rocha, Twiggy, Veruschka, Elle Macpherson (Eleanor Gow).
Anyway, she did admit back then that she’s about the age of her bf (can’t find the link). That time she was dating Albert Hammond, Jr. of the Strokes, now 31.
But..if you look her up on…zimbio of something, it’s always said she was born in 82. Idk how it was a secret.
I dont find her even remotely attractive. She sort of favors Lindsey Lohan which isnt good.
can anyone do math? if she is actually 6 years older than people thought she was that means when she started modeling at 18 she told people she was 12… does no one else realize that makes no sense?
It says at the top of the article that she shaved a few years away, then shaved more away. So she probably said she was 15 or so and after a few years, subtracted another couple of years until she was down six. I highly doubt she could pass for 12 at 18, though I never paid any attention to her.
I like her – in that she is a bit cooler than the bog standard Russian/Eastern European robots that have taken over the modelling industry now – and all those boring Victoria Secrets models (lovely yes, but dull. There is an amazing documentry (have forgotten the name) by a New York model, shot over a few years. She mentions how all her friends over 23 yrs had started having to lie about their age even to get a look into a job. They mention a reallly really young Russian girl who is doing all the New York shows and filling in colouring books in between shows. Crazy.
many models begin in their 20’s, so if your features are good and you are wrinkle free, i’d say it’s unnecessary to lie about your age. now,a agyness doesn’t really have beautiful or overly feminine facial features, so that’s probably why she lied. on the other hand, she’s lucky she started after the 90’s were practically over, because facial beauty was really important back then, by contrast the models of today (save for victoria’s secret models, ironically) are typically unique but kinda ugly looking in the face, while they are much skinnier than the 90’s top model. i remember i would look into magazines and turn on the t.v. to see all those gorgeous models, making me feel bad about my own looks. girls have it easier now because their boyfriends think these models are rather ugly (all my male acquaintances do) however they have e.d.’s as badly as we did back in the day.
I always quite liked her as a model. And it’s cool that she’s getting into acting by doing a play instead of being in, say, a Michael Bay film or something like that – gives her a touch more credibility as a potential ‘actress’, IMO. Who knows if she’ll be any good, but good for her for taking that risk.
Wish she cut her hair short again, it gave her and edge that other models don’t have. Now she’s just meh to me.
Please. It’s a bit dramatic to ask if anyone feels “betrayed by the lies?”or if we are “pissed off” by a model who lied about her age. She did what she had to do to model, blame the industry. She doesn’t seem stupid either. She is just trying to live the best way she can, like all of us.
We women need to stop dragging each other down with remarks about our weight disguised as pseudo concern about our health, or how intelligent we are or aren’t. Give a sister a hand up!
the fact that women have to lie about their age says more about our culture. equality my ass!
I’m surprised that no one was able to find out her real age sooner. It’s unbelievable her classmates didn’t say anything to the press.
Fugly man-face. Punk poseur.