#26 GRACE WOODWARD - from smoke and mirrors to incredible self-reflection and reinvention

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Looking in from the outside Grace Woodward appeared to ‘have it all’. Her fashion career encompasses raising cult lingerie brand Agent Provocateur into the spotlight as their PR agent, working with leading clients and magazines as a stylist, a judge on Britain’s Next Top Model, as Fashion Director at X-Factor and as Brand Director, reviving the fashion house of Dame Zandra Rhodes. However, behind the smoke and mirrors, Grace’s life was far from perfectly styled.

Working relentlessly towards a version of success that had been devised by those at the top of the ladder whom it benefits the most, was beginning to take its toll on areas of Grace’s life. Growing up in an eating-disordered house (with her mum struggling with anorexia) and working in the fashion industry, where being thin is often a prerequisite, you could say that issues with food and body image were inevitable. Beginning to reassess her role in fashion, Grace found herself greatly conflicted by the story she had told herself and the ‘tricks of the trade’ advice she was giving others.

Sadly, at a time that is usually associated with joy - that of spending time with her son just weeks old - Grace’s mum died as a result of her eating disorder. Suffering physically (due to her ‘go-to diet pills’), mentally and financially (trying to keep up with the fashion machine) Grace decided to move out of London.

Leaving her career behind and embarking on an incredible journey of self-reflection, Grace has analysed every aspect of her life and also how her actions have impacted others. For her latest project entitled ‘Body of Work’, she is revisiting photographers she has worked with over the years and asking them to shoot nude portraits of her with a strict rule of no pre-shoot diet and absolutely no post-production retouching. The aim of this is to face her own body image internal voices and questions of ‘can I age naturally?’ and also to support other people exploring their own #bodypositive journey.

In this podcast, we talk to Grace about her incredible journey of heartfelt passion, pain and self-discovery that is opening the door for acceptance and love.

In addition to this interview, we are honoured to have a listener question from Jade McSorely who is a model and co-founder of Loanhood a peer-to-peer fashion rental company. Jade who has previously appeared on Britain’s Next Top Model (as a contestant, not during the time when Grace was a judge), raises some great points around ethics in modelling and what we can do to encourage a healthier industry.

www.instagram.com/gracewoodward

www.blackneondigital.com

112 episodes