Twiggy (born Lesley Hornby; 19 September 1949) is an English supermodel, actress, and singer, now also known by her married name of Twiggy Lawson. A 1960s model known for her large eyes, long eyelashes, and thin build, she is regarded as one of the most famous models of all time. Twiggy went on to star in movies, judge on the reality show America's Next Top Model and, along with Fran Drescher, co-conceived the initial idea that was to become the internationally successful television series, The Nanny. She now models for Marks and Spencer to promote their recent rebranding, and appears in seasonal TV adverts with others such as Myleene Klass, as well as other forms of media for the campaigns.
Early lifeTwiggy was born in the London suburb of Neasden, the daughter of Nellie Lydia "Helen" (née Reeman), a counter-girl at a Woolworth's store and factory worker at a printing firm, and William Norman Hornby, a master carpenter and joiner. She attended the Brondesbury and Kilburn High School in Salusbury Road, Kilburn.
Modelling careerIn 1966, Nigel Davies noticed the young Lesley Hornby and offered her a modelling contract. She was only 16 and weighed 6½ stone (41 kg, 90 lbs). Davies advised her to go by her childhood nickname, Twiggy, and renamed himself Justin de Villeneuve. After sweeping England as "The Face of '66" when her modelling pictures, taken by Barry Lategan, were made public, Twiggy arrived in New York in March 1967. It was believed that the Twiggy craze would die down within a month; Twiggy, however, became an instant icon and supermodel. Known for the high fashion mod look created by Mary Quant, Twiggy changed the world of fashion with her short-haired androgynous look. Her style has dominated the runways for forty years. She was also famous for drawing long, fake eyelashes under her bottom lashes. These are, unsurprisingly, named Twiggys.
Twiggy was regarded as one of the faces of 1960s Swinging London, along with other models, such as Celia Hammond.
On 16 June, 1967, Capitol Records released Twiggy's first single for the label "When I Think Of You" with "Over And Over" on the B-side.
In early 1968, Twiggy toured Japan and filmed advertisements for Toyota Motors and Choco Flakes breakfast cereal. In 1969 she did advertising work in the United States for Diet Pepsi Cola.
Life after modelingAfter four years of modelling, Twiggy retired, claiming "You can't be a clothes hanger for your entire life!" She embarked on an award-winning acting and singing career, including Ken Russell's 1971 film version of Sandy Wilson's musical, The Boy Friend, for which she won two Golden Globe Awards. Since then she has played a variety of roles on stage and screen, including My One and Only and as Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, opposite Robert Powell, in a 1981 television production. Twiggy married the American actor Michael Witney in 1977. They had one daughter, Carly, born in 1978. That marriage ended with his sudden death in 1983 from a heart attack. She met Leigh Lawson on the film Madame Sousatzka, and married him in 1988. They reside in London.
In 1976, Twiggy signed to Mercury records and released the albums "Twiggy" and "Please Get My Name Right", discs that contained both pop and country tunes. "Twiggy" sold very well, peaking on the UK charts at no.33, and gave Twiggy a silver disc for good sales. The album contains Twiggy's top twenty hit single, "Here I Go Again" and "Please Get My Name Right" made it to no.35 in 1977.
In 2003, she released another album, "Midnight Blue" featuring previously unreleased material she had recorded from 1982-1990, the CD received glowing reviews and had duets on it with Leo Sayor and Carly Simon.
Twiggy's other recordings from 1985 failed to make the charts. "Feel Emotion" and "Diamond" have both been released onto CD format since.
In 2005, Twiggy joined the cast of the TV show America's Next Top Model as one of four judges. She also returned to modelling, fronting a major new TV, press and billboard campaign for Marks & Spencer, a British department store chain. In 2006, she portrayed herself as a nineteen-year-old in the radio play Elevenses with Twiggy for BBC Radio 4's Afternoon Play series.
In 2007, it was announced that Twiggy would not be returning to America's Next Top Model's 10th season due to scheduling conflicts. She will instead be replaced with supermodel Paulina Porizkova.
Also in 2007, Sepia records released a previously shelved album that Twiggy recorded in 1979, Produced by Donna Summer and Jurgen Koppers. "Heaven In My Eyes ['Discotheque'] contains the 8 original tracks due to be released, plus 4 remixes by The Outpsider. The album was also made available on iTunes.
Twiggy still models at times. She is signed to London agency Models 1.
2008 saw Twiggy step up to support the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, alongside fellow celebrities: comedian Alan Carr, singer Natalie Imbruglia, actress Anna Friel and DJ & presenter Edith Bowman.
References in pop culture
In a twiggy mini-skirt In a twiggy-like pose In a twiggy mini-skirt Skinny like twiggy, that's me...
- Twiggy was the subject of a song in the popular 60's era musical 'A Slice of Saturday Night'. The opening line goes:
- Twiggy is mentioned in the Namie Amuro song, New Look, from her 2008 single 60s70s80s.
- The 1973 David Bowie song 'Drive In Saturday' contains a reference to a girl sighing like 'Twig the wonder kid.' Twiggy subsequently appeared with Bowie on the cover of his 'Pin Ups' album.
- Jeordie White, member of rock/metal group Marilyn Manson, has the stage name Twiggy Ramirez, in keeping with the rule that the band's members name themselves after the first name of a celebrity and the surname of a serial killer (Twiggy, and American serial killer Richard Ramirez). Marilyn Manson himself is named after Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson.
- 1966 Mattel issued a 'Twiggy' doll. It was Barbie sized, but with smaller bust and hips.
- 1971 Film debut as an extra in Ken Russell's The Devils
- 1971 First leading role in features as Polly in Ken Russell's adaptation of Sandy Wilson's pastiche of 1920s hi musicals The Boy Friend; initial collaboration with Tommy Tune
- 1974 Made West End stage debut in Cinderella
- 1974 Made second feature, the thriller W; co-starred with future husband Michael Whitney
- 1974 Hosted own British TV series, Twiggs (later renamed Twiggy)
- 1977 Makes an appearance on The Muppet Show.
- 1980 Made cameo appearance in The Blues Brothers
- 1981 Starred as Eliza Doolittle opposite Robert Powell in Yorkshire TV production of Pygmalion
- 1983 Broadway debut in the musical, My One and Only, starring and co-staged by Tune; earned a Tony nomination
- 1987 Played a vaudeville performer in the British TV special The Little Match Girl
- 1988 Had supporting role in Madame Sousatzka, opposite second husband Leigh Lawson
- 1989 Cast as Hannah Chaplin, mother to Charles, in the British TV-movie Young Charlie Chaplin; aired in US on PBS' Wonderworks
- 1991 Co-starred in the ill-fated CBS sitcom Princesses
- 1997 Acted in London stage revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit
- 1998 Played Gertrude Lawrence in the biographical stage musical Noel and Gertie at the Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, Long Island
- 1999 Returned to New York stage as Lawrence in Off-Broadway production If Love Were All, a revised version of Noel and Gertie, directed by Lawson; what set this edition apart were its tap numbers in period style; starred opposite Harry Groener's Coward
- 2001 Co-hosted the British magazine programme This Morning
- 2005 Was a judge on America's Next Top Model for Cycles 5-9
- 2006 Twiggy was featured on the cover of the Icons issue of SWINDLE magazine
- The Boy Friend (1971)
- W (1974)
- There Goes The Bride (1979)
- The Blues Brothers (1980)
- Pygmalion (1981)
- The Doctor And The Devils (1985)
- Club Paradise (1986)
- The Little Match Girl (1986)
- Madame Sousatzka (1988)
- The Diamond Trap (1988)
- Sun Child (1988)
- Young Charlie Chaplin (1989)
- Istanbul (Keep Your Eyes Open) (1990)
- Body Bags (1993)
- Something Borrowed, Something Blue (1997)
- Edge of Seventeen (1998)
- Brand New World (based on the Jeff Noon play Woundings) (1998)
- Shakespeare-Told: The Taming of the Shrew (2005)
- Twiggs (1974)
- Twiggy (1975)
- The Muppet Show (1976) (1 episode)
- Victorian Scandals (1976)
- The Donna Summer Special (1980)
- A Gift of Music (1981)
- Princesses (1991) (2 episodes)
- Tales from the Crypt (1992) (1 episode)
- The Nanny (1994) (1 episode)
- Heartbeat (1994) (1 episode)
- Absolutely Fabulous (2000-2001)
- This Morning (presenter in 2001)
- America's Next Top Model, ANTM (judge, Cycles 5-9) (2005-2008)
- Friday Night With Jonathan Ross (Guest) (2008)
- The Boy Friend (1971)
- Twiggy And The Girlfriends (1972)
- Cole Porter In Paris (1973)
- Twiggy (1976)
- Please Get My Name Right (1977)
- Captain Beaky And His Band (1977)
- Pieces Of April (1978)
- My One And Only (1983)
- The Doctor And The Devils (1985)
- The Boy Friend & Highlights From Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1990)
- Twiggy And The Silver Screen Syncopaters (1995)
- London Pride - Songs From The London Stage (1996)
- Beautiful Dreams (1997)
- Dead Man On Campus (1998)
- The Best Of Twiggy (1998)
- If Love Were All (1999)
- Peter Pan (2000)
- Midnight Blue (2003)
- Twiggy (2004)
- Twiggy & Linda Thorson - A Snapshot Of Swinging London (2005)
twiggy in Danish: Twiggy
twiggy in German: Twiggy
twiggy in Spanish: Twiggy
twiggy in French: Twiggy
twiggy in Indonesian: Twiggy
twiggy in Italian: Twiggy
twiggy in Dutch: Twiggy
twiggy in Japanese: ツイッギー
twiggy in Norwegian: Twiggy
twiggy in Polish: Twiggy
twiggy in Portuguese: Twiggy
twiggy in Russian: Твигги
twiggy in Simple English: Twiggy Lawson
twiggy in Finnish: Twiggy
twiggy in Swedish: Twiggy
twiggy in Chinese: 徐姿
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