Sophie Dahl - Biography
"I don't think I could be a wallflower with a body like this," said a 21-year-old Sophie Dahl in 2000, referring to her outgoing nature and her six foot, size 14 figure. The British model was credited with helping to bring back the curves into Nineties fashion, mesmerising designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Jean-Paul Gaultier with her voluptuous Fifties look.
Born on September 15, 1979, Sophie is the granddaughter of legendary British author Roald Dahl, and was the inspiration for the character of Sophie, the Big Friendly Giant's helpmate in his book The BFG. A bohemian childhood saw her constantly moving between her parents' home in LA and boarding school in the English countryside, and her unstable lifestyle led to bouts of teenage depression and anorexia.
Sophie always imagined that she would end up writing like her grandfather – she released her first book, The Man With The Dancing Eyes, in 2003 – or following in the footsteps of her father, the actor Julian Holloway. But one night in 1996, Sophie was spotted by Vogue stylist Isabella Blow while crying her eyes out in a London street after a row with her mother. Within weeks, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Sophie was signed to Storm, one of London's hottest model agencies.
But Sophie's arrival on the fashion scene wasn't quite as spectacular as her figure. Stylists and photographers complained they couldn't find clothes to fit her, and on her first shoot for Vogue, Sophie's beautiful Gianfranco Ferré outfits were all held together by pins. In fact, many photographers, like Herb Ritts for the 1999 Pirelli calendar, have opted to capture Sophie's curves au naturel.
These days, she seeks stability in her private life and tries to avoid the unhealthier temptations of the fashion industry. She is rarely out of the gossip columns, however, and trysts with ageing rock star Mick Jagger made headlines and brought about the end of her three-year relationship with 45-year-old film director Griffin Dunne.
In 2002, Sophie was spotted stepping out with a new beau, up-and-coming New York artist Jonathan Cramer, and she was later linked to Cold Mountain actor Charlie Hunnam and American business student Dan Baker.
Her 2000 appearance in an advert for Opium, wearing nothing more than a string of pearls and a pair of high-heeled shoes, caused a sensation in the British press and complaints from some quarters. "I think the photograph is beautiful... it was seen as being anti-women, when in fact I think it is very empowering to women," said the sensual blonde.
In 2007, Sophie began dating jazz star Jamie Cullum. Standing eight inches taller than her new beau, the model suddenly found her love life the centre of attention and a talking point for many – though her own view on the height difference was nothing if not practical.
"We happen to be two people who met, fell madly in love and will probably produce fairly average-sized children, hopefully with his more elegant feet, not mine," she said, calling the constant references to Jamie's stature "weird".
After craving stability for so long, Sophie certainly found it with Jamie. "We've got a small paved garden and I tend lots of plants in pots. I'm growing lavender and mint, and I've got a camellia," she said. "On Saturdays we might go and have a late breakfast, or lunch, at the Wolseley. I love their crayfish salad and scrambled eggs on toast with smoked salmon."
The unlikely couple wed in a winter wonderland-themed ceremony in Hampshire at the beginning of 2010. Not long after, it was back to work for the new bride, who filmed a cookery show for the BBC named The Delicious Miss Dahl – a follow-up to her recipe book Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, which she'd launched a year previously.