Tigerlily Taylor for Grazia UK November 1st 2016 issue.
Photography: Kristin Vicari.
Hair & Make-Up Artist: Sophie Higginson.
Words: Louise Gannon.
'I don't get Taylor Swift – she's boring'
Model – and Queen progeny – Tigerlily Taylor is shrugging off the 'daughter-of' mantle. Grazia meets the outspoken star-inthe-making.
TIGERLILY TAYLOR IS THE LATEST MEMBER of rock's aristocracy (her dad is Roger Taylor from Queen) to become the darling of the fashion world. Blonde, green-eyed and pillow-lipped, she is also on a mission to be taken very seriously indeed. 'Do I think it's a cliché to be the model daughter of a rock star?' she says. 'Abso-bloody-lutely. But I'm doing it my way – on my own terms.'
The 23-year-old middle child of the Queen drummer and model Debbie Leng (whose scandalously sexy chocolate advert for Flake caused uproar in the late '80s) is a far cry from the Insta-fame celebrity progeny hitching a free ride from the fashion world.
She doesn't tweet, she bins most of her red-carpet invites and is also pretty hard to get hold of, as interviews have to fit around her timetable as a BA Hons English student at Sussex University. 'It's my final year,' she apologises. 'I desperately want to get a First. I would never put modelling before studying.'
Tiger, however, is well worth the wait. Her surrogate sisters are the Geldof girls (Paula Yates named her youngest, tiger Lily Hutchence, after her), she spent a gap year travelling with Sascha von Bismark (his older brother Nikolai – Kate Moss's ex – joined them in Myanmar) and she is under no illusions about the power of her famous last name – which she sees as both a blessing and a curse. During the course of a very frank conversation, she describes herself as 'a feminist and a revolutionary'. Opinionated, funny and smart, she cites her hero as the 18th-century women's rights advocate Mary Wollstonecraft. This is a Tiger who wants to roar.
She admits that growing up as 'the daughter of' had a profound impact on her own sense of identity, turning her into a teenage rebel. She quit one school after another, including Bedales, where she was in the same class as friend Cara Delevingne.
'I had the most idyllic childhood,' she says. 'My brother [Rufus, 25] and sister [Lola, 16 – she also has a half-sister, rory, 30, and half-brother, Felix, 36, from her dad's marriage to Dominique Beyrand] and I had a really lovely life. I had horses and I was a total country bumpkin and then, when I was nine [in 2002, the year her parents split], we moved to London.'
At school she felt her identity was overshadowed by her famous parents. 'I never said who my dad was and I'd e waiting for people to find out. I dreaded that. People would wind me up by playing Queen songs.'
At the age of 16, tiger moved out of the family home into a flat in West London bought for her by her father. 'I really put my parents through it,' she says. 'I'd have lots of parties at my mum's. We had so many rows and then my dad agreed I could move out.'
The same year, she was scouted several times to model. Along with Pixie Geldof, she went into Select models to ask to be taken on. 'At the time I had zero confidence about the way I looked and I knew a lot of the reason I was asked to do modelling was because of my dad.
'I wanted to be completely business-like about it. I grew up with the Geldof girls. Bob and my dad are great mates. The girls all lived with us when I was a kid and we'd go on holiday together every year. I loved the way Pixie had handled herself, she models, she sings, she's cool, she's her own person. I talked to her about it and we went into Select together.'
When Peaches died of a heroin overdose, Tiger was devastated. 'I hadn't seen her for a while but the Geldofs are like my sisters. It was a terrible time. It's still a shock. Peaches was like a big sister. She was so smart and she could be so visiously funny, she was such a one-off. It was all horribly sad.'
Her mother was very much against Tiger modelling (her campaigns have included Urban Outfitters and she has appeared on the covers of teenage fashion magazines). 'She knew where it could lead, she knew how easy it is to be taken advantage of and the whole thing about being so-and-so's daughter. But I still thought I could make it work for me.
'In the end, I decided to put my modelling on hold, take a gap year and then go to university.'
Today, Tiger is the face of Bluebella, a lingerie company founded by former Oxford University graduate Emily Bendell, whose aim was to create high-end underwear for women designed by women.
After meeting Tiger, Bendell found her perfect ambassador. 'There's a feminist ethos to Bluebella that I love,' says Tiger. 'It's all designed by women so it's comfortable and it does make you feel strong and sexy.
'What I loved even more was that Emily didn't want any pictures airbrushed. Initially, that makes you feel nervous. But the more I thought about it, the mode I just loved the idea. I love the fact that this is all me. This campaign has given me more body confidence than anything else, because it's about accepting being what you are and who you are, and that is such an important message to send today, when we live in this mad, airbrushed world.'
I ask about fellow London models Cara and Georgia May Jagger, but she shakes her head. 'I think Cara is great and I know Georgia May a it but I'm not part of any model gang,' she says. 'Most of my life is down at uni, just being a student. No one there asks me about famous friends or who my parents are. they just don't care. I love that.'
Taylor Swift's squad gets a raised eyebrow. 'I just don't get the obsession with her. I don't care about her. I find her incredibly boring.' Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj are similarly dismissed as 'women playing up to some pornographic male ideal and calling it empowerment. I find it just sad.'
Tiger's goal is to write. 'I've een writing poems since I was a teenager. I write short stories and, ultimately, I want to write novels. but right now I just want to get better at writing.'
She lives with her boyfriend, the model Henry Pedro-Wright, who she met at a festival two years ago. Pedro-Wright is the first black model to walk for Prada. They have been described as 'London's coolest couple'. She laughs. 'I don't think that's us. We live in Brighton. Most of the time we're sitting in bed eating pizza, watching Game of Thrones.'
She remains 'ridiculously close' to her famous family. 'All five of us are so tight. We all go on holiday together and when Rufus is performing with his band – The Darkness – Lola and I are at the front, dancing and screaming our heads off.'
As for the music of Queen, she is now proud to put herself as a fan. 'I didn't listen to their music for years, but of course I love it. If you have famous parents, you can feel judged by it but ultimately you grow up and you realise how amazing your parents are and how lucky you are. And then you have to find out who you are and absolutely be yourself.'
Bluebella is offering 20% off all purchases at Bluebella.com with the code GRAZIA20.
A behind the scenes picture from October 19th, 2016.
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