second acts

Why Be Laura Hollins When You Could Be Agyness Deyn?

Agyness Deyn.
Agyness Deyn. Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Agyness Deyn just turned 29, and yeah, we totally know what you’re thinking: How DARE she, that old hag! Of course, being 29 isn’t weird or shameful for most people, but for Deyn it caused a big fuss, since she used to lie about her age. She explains to the Guardian:

“When I decided I would really do modelling I was like 18, and I think at the time that was quite old for a new face, so we knocked off a few years.” The deception has long since been corrected. “But it was my birthday last week, and Henry [Holland, a childhood friend] was saying how old would you have been? Cos it got really complicated – when personal and work collide – and Henry was like: ‘But it looks like I started being friends with you when you were four or something!’”

Even though Deyn has been open about her real age for years, the Daily Mail treated the item like breaking news, and several blogs picked up the story, as though Deyn is secretly a great-grandmother or something. But while we’re on the subject of clearing up Deyn rumors, she also talked about how she got her name (she was born Laura Hollins), which is really much more interesting:

“I started modelling, and they said there are loads of Lauras – you can change your name. I was like, OK, and then I thought about it and said OK, I’ll be called Agnes; my grandmother was called Agnes.” It was as simple as that? “Yeah.” But didn’t her mother, a Reiki master, also change her name – and Deyn’s sister too? Yes, she acknowledges warily. And she changed the spelling because of numerology? “Laurence helped me change my name,” she says matter of factly. “Erm … yeah, that’s it.”

The Laurence she mentions is “name analyst” name Laurence Y Payg, who has a thing for excess Ys and claims to use numerology to help people create more “positive” names. Which sounds totally weird, but hey! Agyness Deyn is a lot more distinctive-sounding than Laura Hollins, that’s for sure; what’s more, plenty of people — particularly celebrities — change their names. We’ll never know if Deyn would have become as famous as she is if she hadn’t had her name or lied about her age, and it’s sad that she felt she had to. But on a positive note, the joke’s on the industry: If agencies were more open to 24-year-old Laura types, perhaps they’d get more Agyness Deyns to show for it.

Why Be Laura Hollins Instead of Agyness Deyn?