Felicity Hayward: “What my life really looked like in 2009”

Posted by for People

In October 2009, the first issue of Stylist was published and magazine history was made. Now, 10 years later, we look back at what Felicity Hayward was talking about in 2009 – and what she wishes she had paid more attention to.    

Plus-size model Felicity Hayward is one of our body positive heroes here at Stylist. Over the years, she’s taught us to love our stretch marks (“they’re tiger stripes, baby!“) and has campaigned for several well known brands to become less exclusive. 

In September 2017, the star of Curvy Girls Stripped Bare pushed for sportswear brands like Nike and Adidas to rethink and resize their plus size options. She was one of the first plus size models to have featured in a MAC cosmetics commercial, and the first ever Curve Ambassador & Stylist for ASOS, too.

Now, in 2019, Hayward is spearheading the body positive movement with her #SelfLoveBringsBeauty message and fashion line. But what was she doing 10 years ago?

Well, 2009 saw a then-unknown Felicity Hayward begin her photography degree in earnest. She had no idea that one day soon, while dancing to Diana Ross in an East London pub, she would be scouted to model for photographer Miles Aldridge, and embark upon the first few steps of her body positivity journey.

This week, as Stylist turns 10, we sat down with Hayward to reflect on what her world looked like in 2009, and everything that has changed since. 

10 years ago

I was about to…

This time in 2009 I was about to start my life as a photography graduate. I had no idea then that, in only two and a bit years, I would be throwing myself in front of the camera, posing as Anna Nicole Smith for Miles Aldridge and my career as a plus-size model would begin.

I was reading…

I was reading Boobs, Boys And High Heels: How to Get Dressed in Just Under Six Hours by Diane Brill, one of my blonde bombshell icons. I later ended up meeting her in New York for high tea at the Plaza, both of us in matching red lippie… something I’ll never forget. 

I was listening to…

Peggy Lee’s Fever and lots of Frank Sinatra. I was obsessed with the 40s and 50s era of music, most probably because I heard it all growing up around my grandparents and it made me feel incredibly nostalgic.

I was wearing…

I was wearing an oversized man’s vintage leather jacket covered in punk pins from local bands in Bury St Edmunds (my hometown) and embroidered sequin flowers I had found at a car boot sale. Along with basically anything that I could sew, update and make look different.

I was watching…

John Waters’ Pink Flamingos, because I was obsessed with Vintage 70’s Americana and Waters’ twisted humour. I used to collect all his movies on the original VHS tapes and display them like art in my flat.

I was talking about…

I was talking about the fact that there were no cool high street clothing options available in plus-size. There was also zero representation within the fashion industry when it came to girls my age and my size. I knew, even then, that I wanted to change that.

I was obsessed with…

I was obsessed with going to car boot sales and charity shops and finding vintage pieces with my nan, Sybil. There was a local one at the school field near my nan’s house every bank holiday, so I would always wake up at the crack of dawn with my bag of pound coins and my bum bag ready to hunt for bargains. 

We would always pick out the coolest fabrics – anything with sequins on – and the most fabulous brooches. I loved how my nan picked out classic pieces for cheap and made them look so expensive by adding her unique style. She’s been my inspiration for life ever since.

I wish I’d paid more attention to…

I wish I’d paid more attention to my beauty regime. Mainly looking after my skin and drinking more water, but I also wish I’d never even thought about bleaching my hair myself. I am still dealing with the damage 10 years on!

Don’t miss out: sign up to the Stylist Daily email for a curated edit of brilliant content every day

Images: Getty

Share this article

Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray