Plus-size supermodel Felicity Hayward on the eternal appeal of golden-age glamour, thrifted rags and Rod Stewart

In My Beauty, fashion and culture’s most compelling faces reveal in their own words what beauty means to them

She’s the laughing, smiling bottle blonde from the London suburbs who has appeared in shoots for Vogue, Glamour and Numéro, and starred on the cover of the aptly titled Showtime issue of i-D. For if anyone is able to evoke the golden age of cinema with just a few thrifted rags, some eyeliner and a red lip, it’s Felicity Hayward.

“I’ve always been a confident person. Being a plus-size model, I have been to castings and been surrounded by much smaller girls but it doesn’t bother me because I am happy in myself, and have always had a lot of love and support around me. Even when I was a little girl and much bigger than I am now, my grandparents would tell me I was beautiful.

“My grandmother Sybil is a very good-looking woman – she never had much money but always looked effortlessly glamorous with her grey eyes and 50s perm. Her style is quite pared down – simple makeup, a coral nail and always something to accentuate her look, perhaps a cerise accessory or gold jacket. It’s an understated beauty, taking quiet pride in her appearance.

“Every bank holiday, there would be a thrift sale at the end of her road. We would both wake up early to get all the glamorous things we could find. It’s been a ritual for as long as I can remember, and probably the reason for my love of the simplicity of old, Hollywood makeup. I’ve been wearing black eyeliner and red lipstick since I was 13!

“I do love blondes. I grew up with dark hair but really liked the look of Rod Stewart on the cover of Do Ya Think I’m Sexy? I just thought he looked absolutely beautiful. I started streaking my hair with blonde mascara and then bleaching it when I was eventually old enough.

“I’m brave in my style and I think that’s why people have always been too scared to say anything about my weight.”


“I’ve been experimenting forever. I’m brave in my style and I think that’s why people have always been too scared to say anything about my weight. I really don’t give a f*** and have been a role model to other plus-size models for that reason.

“There isn’t enough diversity in the fashion industry and that’s because of consumer trends. The more people buy magazines with less ‘conventional’ cover stars, the more people buy clothes modelled by black models or plus-size models or trans models, brands will be forced to listen.

“But real beauty comes from being happy. Being surrounded by love will ensure you always feel beautiful.”