Agyness Deyn
Photo by Alex de Brabant

Agyness Deyn: “I’ve mellowed out”

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Short Profile

Name: Agyness Deyn
DOB: 16 February 1983
Place of Birth: Littleborough, Greater Manchester, UK
Occupation: Model, Actress

Ms. Deyn, you seem to have taken a step away from your life as a supermodel. Do you still have an active interest in fashion?

Well I was never really that interested in fashion growing up. It wasn’t something that I always wanted to do. I was just spotted while I was out shopping in London, looking like a boy, and everything just happened to me. So I did it for several years, but it was just a job.

It gave you a lot of opportunities, but it wasn’t your life’s passion.

Right. I had a really great time and am very grateful for the opportunities fashion has given me.

But you don’t keep up with trends and the latest collections and that sort of thing?

No. I’m more into men’s fashion to be honest.

Why have you chosen acting as your new career of choice?

I was looking for an outlet, a creative outlet and also an emotional outlet, both hand in hand. I’m just so fascinated by humans and the way that they act and the way that they express themselves. Doing a film or a play is teaching me all the different ways people are.

At what point did you realize that you wanted to be a creative person professionally?

I suppose even as a kid, when you’re choosing what you want to wear and how you want to look and what music you’re listening to and what you’re reading – all that kind of stuff gives you hints. You’re picking certain things and looking back it’s like, “Woah, I was trying to find something or figure something out.”

Did you feel self-conscious that people might see you as just another model who wants to get into acting?

You’re doing this transition… But I feel like the drive that you have to do that and the commitment that you want to do that change is stronger than any judgment that you could get, do you know what I mean? To be immersed in it and be carried by what you’re doing and being in the moment is stronger than any judgment that I might have felt. When I started it, I was like, “Oh my god, I don’t know what I’m doing,” and by the end of shooting Pusher I remember saying, “I suppose I’m an actress now?”

I’m sure it takes a while to build up your confidence as an actress.

I kept on thinking that they were going to be like, “Okay, let’s get the real actress in here please.” (Laughs) But now I’ve got the bug and I just want to do it.

Was it daunting to enter a completely new profession after such success in the fashion world?

I suppose anything new, embarking on something new, is scary. You have that scariness, those nerves. I always have to remind myself that there’s excitement in that and whenever there is this fear of wanting to flee, it’s because you want to do well.

So you turn your fear into something positive?

Exactly. I want to do well, so the nerves are good. It’s exciting, you want to do it justice, for everyone involved. You want to be a part of it.

I guess that nervousness at photo shoots is long gone…

I actually don’t do that many photo shoots anymore to be honest. When I first started working as a model I did get nervous as well, because of the unknown and I wanted to do well. But that feeling wears off after time.

You made a splash in the fashion world because you stood out from the general crowd of models – the way you dressed, the way your hair was. Today you seem a bit more reserved in that sense.

I suppose I’ve mellowed out a bit in that way.I won’t be shaving my head again any time soon.

What about dyeing it?

I won’t be dyeing it blue or pink either. I actually saw some blue dye the other day and I was thinking it would look better on my friend than it would on me! (Laughs)

So now you are trying to evolve and keep looking for new things.

Definitely. I feel like every project that I do it’s like I’m starting a new job. But the difference is that when I was modeling it felt like one big job, but with acting every project feels like a new job. Doing a play for the first time was a new job. It was that same feeling at the beginning, so I don’t feel like it will ever tail off. I was like, “Oh my god, I’ve found something!”

Was moving to Los Angeles also a commitment to pursue an acting career full time?

Not really, I just kind of loved the city and wanted to live there.

Not because it’s the film capitol of the world?

I’ve been in L.A. for about two years but I don’t really work there. I only work in England, so I put myself on tape and then I come to England to shoot.