I’M OF MY INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS. I DON’T WHAT TO DO WITH
still, a belt. She is currently planning to top up her Jo Malone moisturiser pots with Dove or Garnier to save money and recently put back some steak from Waitrose when she spotted the £50 price tag: ‘Imagine cooking that and burning it, you’d be gutted.’
Her earnings could be significantly higher but, savvy about her personality and lifestyle brand, she won’t endorse cosmetics lines and diet products. She’s much more about body confidence, scoffing sausage, mash and onions – her favourite meal – and indulging in the odd glass of rosé or a Porn Star Martini (passion fruit, champagne and vanilla vodka) at weekends. She admires the Kardashians and their 24/7 commitment to their looks but, when asked which one she likes best, it’s not Kim with her big sculpted booty or her supermodel sister Kendall Jenner, it’s Kris, the momager and brains of the family.
‘I would not have loads of work [cosmetic surgery] done,’ says Dani. ‘People love you for the things that ain’t perfect. You could be the most beautiful girl in the world and have a grey, bland, used teabag personality, and then you aren’t beautiful in my eyes.’ They’re the words of a true iconoclast in an age when being sexed-up and made-up seems to matter more than who you are or what you do. She puts slogans on the T-shirts and jumpers she designs, such as ‘God Is A Woman’ and ‘Girls Do It Better’, to encourage others. ‘When girls are young they need those words in their head to big up their own securities, to own it a little bit.’
I’m amused, though, when I ask her who she’s designing for, and she says, ‘Mmmm, young girls from 15 to 25,’ before adding as an afterthought, ‘and even older.’ Zeds might accept they are growing up but they haven’t started to think about growing old. Not yet. That’s still something that happens to other people.
Listening to Dani, what stands out is that in a world of constant change, where the core skill is an ability to adapt and update as fast as an app on a smartphone, Zeds need a steady inner life.
Dani might be tapping, typing, swiping, scrolling and scattering heart emojis across the internet, she might be happy to be an early adopter, an influencer and social-media driver, but she sounds as though she’s reached back to the last century for her social, moral and economic values.
She was born four years before it ended, in 1996, the daughter of Danny Dyer and his school sweetheart Joanne Mas who found herself pregnant at 18. When Dani was three, with Danny senior’s acting career about to take off, the couple separated. They would eventually reunite, have another daughter, Sunnie, now 11, and a son, Arty, five. They married in 2016 with Dani as maid of honour. The Dyer clan are so close that Dani doesn’t hesitate to name her mum and her nan as her role models. Her pride in her dad and the work they’re doing together – you can see them on stage in Nativity! The Musical and on TV in Through the Keyhole – lights her up like a beacon.
After school she trained as a dental nurse and went to lots of fruitless auditions while pulling pints at a pub near her home. Love Island changed her life – and made her life – because it was the perfect vehicle for the perfect Zed girl to showcase her opinions, values and ambitions. Before that she says, ‘trying to get going in my career was like looking for the end of the rainbow. I could never get there.’
Now she has arrived and she’s got her pot of gold, though it has cost her in some ways. She misses her privacy, the chance to shop in Primark without the risk of being mobbed, the fact that if she doesn’t post on Instagram for a couple of days people wonder if she’s split up with Jack, the way a big meal encourages people to speculate that she’s pregnant. ‘But I ain’t gonna moan,’ she says. ‘Why would I?’
The only thing that really Urban Outfitters. Miss Selfridge. Astrid & Miyu
Dani with boyfriend Jack BRA, DUNGAREES, EARRINGS,