Twiggy is beaming with delight. We are chatting about her grandchildren, Joni, who is a year old, and Solomon, aged 13 months.
“We’ve got two babies in the family,” she says, proudly. “I feel so lucky that both my grandchildren came along almost at the same time. They’ve both brought such happiness to all our families.”
Twiggy’s only daughter Carly (37) is Joni’s mum, and her stepson Jason is proud dad to Solomon. “It is a love that I didn’t know I had in me,” Twiggy continues. “The feeling you have for your own child is indescribable – I adore my daughter – so I didn’t think it would be possible to experience that feeling for somebody else.
“Everyone talks about being a doting grandmother and now I understand as I’m one myself. My husband (Leigh Lawson) often jokes that he has gained grandchildren and lost a wife!”
Twiggy says that since Carly, a print designer for Stella McCartney’s baby clothes, became a mum the bond between them has grown even stronger. “We’ve always had a special closeness – we speak every day – but Joni has given us a reason to get together more often which is wonderful.”
Although she’s still engaged with her business interests, Twiggy is keen to spend as much time with her family as possible. “They’ve always been my number one priority. They’ve kept me sane. In this business it’s easy to get carried away but I’ve always been family-orientated.”
It’s that foundation that has undoubtedly helped Twiggy stay grounded during her glittering career.
Can it really be 50 years ago that the waif-like model first took the world by storm? Twiggy laughs: “It’s like that little girl from the Sixties sits on my shoulder. She never really goes away. Wherever I go in the world there is always a T-shirt or a bag with my face on it.”
I don't have any particular faith, but I do believe in kindness. If more people were kinder and more giving to each other the world would be a much better place
Discovered in February 1966, Twiggy’s slender frame and short pixie crop captivated the fashion industry and she became the face of swinging London. Within a year she had modelled in France and Japan as well as appearing in American Vogue.
When asked about her memories of that heady time, she replies that there are too many to recount. However, she does remember a particular photo shoot for Vogue with David Bowie, who died earlier this year from lung cancer. “He was a huge superstar at the time and then the art director said he didn’t want to feature a man on the front of the magazine! So David used it on the cover of his seventh album Pin Ups (1973). I love that picture (see top right). We kept in touch for a while afterwards. I was devastated when I heard he had died.”
She has fond memories, too, of the film director Ken Russell, who was a major influence on her career. She explains: “Ken was a force of nature and I owe him a lot. He had the vision to cast me in my first leading role in the film The Boy Friend in 1972, a part that changed my life. It added a dimension to my career other than modelling. After that movie, I got a TV series, parts in other films and musicals on Broadway. I even sang live with Bing Crosby on his last Christmas TV special.”
At 66, she’s still astonishingly youthful-looking and very relaxed about ageing. “I’ve had no work done. Mainly because I’m too scared! There is nothing you can do about getting older. So why do people get their knickers in a twist about it? I don’t understand,” she shrugs.
It amuses her that she is still instantly recognisable. “The nicest thing is that people talk to me in the street and it’s really lovely,” she laughs. “They talk to me as if they have known me all my life – which I suppose they have, especially older people.”
But she never takes success for granted. “I know I’ve been given amazing chances in life but on the other hand, I’ve actually taken those chances – and they could have ended in tears.”
Away from the limelight one of her favourite pasttimes is cooking. “I’m not fanatical about anything – except good food. My husband would testify to the fact that I am a good cook. He likes his roasts!” she laughs. She’s also involved with several charities, particularly those which involve animal welfare. And she’s passionate about kindness. “I don’t have any particular faith, but I do believe in kindness. If people were kinder and more giving to each other the world would be a much better place.”
So what’s next for Twiggy? “There are always projects in the pipeline. I have a very creative side. I love sewing. I learnt to sew when I was about 12. I was a Mod back in the Sixties and made all my own clothes. I can lock myself in a room, put some music on, get my patterns out and I’m in heaven. And I’ve just started knitting again. Guess who for? You can knit a little baby jumper in two weeks.”
She smiles and looks like a very happy grandma – or Mimi as her grandchildren call her.
Turning on the glasses style
Twiggy has recently helped create a second new range of glasses for Specsavers called the Twiggy for Aurora collection. “You can make glasses a fashion statement so when the company approached me to help design a range, I jumped at the chance,” she says. Eight elegant glasses in the range are complemented by four pairs of glamorous prescription sunglasses, see right, all featuring the signature Twiggy for Aurora gemstone detailing.
“Every pair has a little bit of crystal embellishment – nothing over the top, but they add a bit of extra glamour!” she says. Twiggy has worn glasses for 20 years, first for reading and later for distance. “I don’t need them all the time but if I want crystal clear vision, then I will wear them. I like to see the faces on stage when I go to the theatre!”
- The Twiggy for Aurora range is available from Specsavers from May 16. For more details visit www.specsavers.co.uk
There's more star chat in every issue of Yours
Did you know...?
- Twiggy was born Lesley Hornby in 1949
- She became famous for her waif like figure and her androgynous look of big eyes, long eyelashes, and short hair
- She was named "The Face of 1966" by the Daily Express
- As an actress, Twiggy's role in The Boy Friend (1971) brought her two Golden Globe Awards.
- She has hosted her own series, Twiggy's People, in which she interviewed celebrities, and also appeared as a judge on the reality show America's Next Top Model.
- Her 1998 autobiography, Twiggy in Black and White, entered the bestseller lists
- Twiggy's mother taught her to sew from an early age and she used this skill to make her own clothing
- Twiggy is married to the film and stage actor, director and writer, Leigh Lawson