Twiggy (born Lesley Hornby; 19 September 1949) is an English supermodel, actress, and singer. She was a judge from (bi)cycle 5 to 9.
Twiggy was raised 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.
Twiggy during the "height of her modelling career"In 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 Jean Shrimpton and 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 modeling
After 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.
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.
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 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 Sayer 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 was not returning to America's Next Top Model's 10th season due to scheduling conflicts since she the show was moving to New York. She was instead 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 Bow and Arrow.