Twiggy: ‘I didn’t think you could feel that love for a child you haven’t given birth to’
Fashion icon Twiggy talks festive traditions and approaching her 70th birthday
No, I’m 21!’ Twiggy jokes when we ask how she feels about turning 70 next year. And that’s exactly what she’s like throughout our chat: down-to-earth, positive and constantly cracking jokes.
It’s refreshing to hear that turning 70 doesn’t faze Twiggy, real name Lesley Lawson. ‘I think it’s amazing,’ she says. ‘I’ve always said worrying about getting older isn’t going to change it. I don’t understand people getting depressed. It’s a fact of life, so I’m going to celebrate it!’
It probably helps that the former model doesn’t look anywhere near her 69 years. Her secret? ‘Plenty of sleep! I try to have seven and a half to eight and a half hours a night,’ she admits.
Of course, Twiggy also looks after herself. ‘I keep my skin clean, get as much water as I can down me and I never sleep with make-up on.’
And it’s not just her face she takes care of. After putting her back out a few years ago, Twiggy was encouraged by doctors to take up Pilates, which she admits has been ‘a revelation’ for her.
‘Because of my frame, I hadn’t worked on building my inner core strength and I’ve got quite a sway back, which made it weak. Pilates is nice because it’s gentle and it tones all the tiny muscles.’
She’s even got her husband, actor Leigh Lawson, to go along with her once a week.
‘He loves it. For years he was fanatical about going to the gym and he’s always been in good shape, but as you get older you’ve got to be careful – it gets harder.’
So is taking Pilates classes together the secret to Twiggy and Leigh’s 30-year-strong marriage? Well, kind of...
‘We love doing the same things. He’s also one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, which helps – he’s got a great sense of humour,’ she says.
The couple celebrated their pearl anniversary recently, and the romance is very much still alive as Twiggy admits Leigh bought her ‘a beautiful pearl necklace and earrings’ as an anniversary gift.
Twiggy met Leigh in her mid-30s, after her first husband, Michael Witney, the father of her daughter Carly, 40, tragically died in 1983, and she thinks meeting later on is another reason they’ve gone the distance.
‘It was second time around for both of us, so we were a little older and a little wiser,’ she explains. ‘You’ve got responsibilities and you’re more careful when you meet someone. Luck of the draw is part of it, too!
‘We took it gently, we fell in love and then introduced our children. Luckily they got on – and still do.’
Something that has brought even more joy to their lives are their grandchildren – Carly’s daughter, Joni, and Solomon and Evelina, who are Leigh’s son Jason’s children.
Twiggy lights up every time she talks about them. ‘When they arrive it’s a revelation. The deep love you feel – I didn’t think you could feel that for a child you haven’t given birth to. They’re brilliant.
‘We can spoil them, then
‘The love you feel for your grandchildren is a revelation’
give them back to Mum and Dad! I’m looking forward to when they’re a bit older and can come and stay with us.’
With three little ones around, this Christmas will be magical.
‘For the last 30 years, Leigh and I have hosted Christmas,’ she says. ‘This year the children will really enjoy it because the elder two are three and a half – Joni keeps telling me what she’s writing to Father Christmas.
It’s all about them now.’
Twiggy likes a traditional Christmas. ‘We always have a tree with baubles we’ve collected over the years. On Christmas
Eve, Leigh and I play our CD of Christmas carols and crack open a bottle of champers. Then on Christmas Day everyone arrives in dribs and drabs,’ she says.
‘Up until about five years ago
I always did the cooking, then my daughter married a very good cook, Ben, so he often takes over, which is fabulous for me!
It’s also nice to hear that, like the best of us, she starts her Christmas morning in a tracksuit and T-shirt, but Twiggy’s staple Christmas Day outfit is velvet trousers paired with ‘a top that twinkles’. And high heels are off limits. ‘I always wear my velvet pumps, or bare feet!’ she says.
Twiggy has been working with Marks & Spencer since 2006. ‘I’ve always sewn and designed my own clothes,’ she says. ‘Funnily enough, it’s what I always wanted to do when I was in school – to go to art school to study design, but fate had something else in store for me as I was “discovered” at 16.
‘It’s nice that it’s come back into my life at various stages. I love my career because
I do so many different things, from singing and dancing on Broadway, to films and
TV presenting. I’m working on a new album, which I’m very excited about and a new book. So I’m really looking forward to 2019.’
‘At school, I always wanted to go on to study design, but fate had something
else in store for me’
Twiggy and Leigh with their children and children’s partners