Real name: Lesley Hornby
Partner: Michael Witney (1977-1983)
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Twiggy, also known as Lesley Hornby, was born in the London suburb of Neasden, the daughter of William Norman Hornby, a master carpenter and joiner, and Nellie Lydia "Helen" Reeman, a factory worker at a printing firm and a counter girl at Woolworth's. She attended Brondesbury and Kilburn High School in Salusbury Road, Kilburn.
In 1966, Nigel Daves noticed the young Lesley Hornby and offered her a modelling contract. She was only sixteen and weighed 6½ stone (41 kg, 90 lbs). Daves advised her to go by her childhood nickname, Twiggy, and renamed himself Justin de Villeneuve. 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. Whereas most women fashion models were full-figured with traditionally feminine hairstyles, Twiggy was famous for her slender, 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.
On June 16, 1967, Capitol Records released Twiggy's first single for the label "When I Think Of You" with "Over And Over" on the flip side.
In early 1968, Twiggy toured Japan and filmed commercials for Toyota Motors and Choco Flakes breakfast cereal. In 1969 she did commercial work in the United States for Diet Rite Cola.
After four years of modeling, 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.
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 1976, Twiggy signed to Mercury records and released the albums "Twiggy" and "Please Get My Name Right", great discs that contained both pop and country tunes. "Twiggy" sold very well peaking on the UK charts at no.33 and gave Twiggy's 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.
In 2005, Twiggy joined the cast of the TV show America's Next Top Model as one of four permanent judges. She also returned to modeling, 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.