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8th March, 2020


Grace Denny

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m Grace Denny - I’m a British model living and working in London. I model for different brands in the beauty and fitness industry. I originally trained as a professional contemporary dancer but after graduating I got scouted as a model. I was then signed to a London modelling agency and haven’t looked back since.

Describe a typical day at work for you.

One of the things I love most about my job is it is very varied. Pre-covid my day to day was running across London from one casting to another- now castings are often taken through zoom or self tapes which I am loving as it’s a totally new way of working. Castings can range from beauty campaigns to photoshoots to fittings - no day is the same. Since signing as a Furyan model I have worked with more fitness related brands which is my absolute favourite as I get to live and train in the clothes I love wearing anyway.

You’re in an industry that is very focused on image. Has this influenced the
choices that you make regarding your body and the choices you make?

My body is my tool and so I invest a lot into my health and fitness. It is very important for me to feel my best as I need to feel confident on photoshoots and in front of a camera. I need to be ready to pull off any look I am given. To do this I make sure I eat healthily and train. Training is super important to me as it keeps me focused and actually makes me more zen!

I am an extremely fast paced person and also a perfectionist especially when it comes to my work. To calm my mind I love physical training or movement as I can put all my focus into the workout and push myself to the limit whilst focusing on technique and form. The feeling at the end of the workout is the best sense of achievement so if you have a bad day no one can ever take that workout away from you.

When training to be a dancer I was training every day so moving was second nature to me and a way of expression. However when you leave and your set training schedule isn’t there anymore it’s a hard transition and then its up to you to go and take class and make exercise a conscious choice.

This is definitely a stress reliever for me so whatever my mood I try to train or stretch and work on my flexibility which is my natural mood lifter. I would probably do these things regardless of the industry I am in but modelling has definitely made me more much more aware of my image and my choices do reflect this.

What are your three tips for feeling happy in your own skin?

Look after yourself first and foremost. Eating healthily and exercising really helps even if that means going for a daily walk to get outside.

My second tip is accepting who are and owning it. Don’t seek validation from other people or care what other people think as long as you are proud of who you are that’s all that matters.

My third tip is, feel the fear and do it anyway. If you have a goal or something you really want to pursue in life don’t let fear get in your way. Some of my biggest jobs I landed are because I pretended to be the most confident person in the room when in all honesty I wasn’t at all! I started to realise I could play any role in an audition room and pretend to be someone else for the day which took away all my fear and was so fun. If there is something you want to do in life go for it and don’t let fear or anything else stop you.

The modelling industry is full of criticism. How do you look after yourself and your mental health to ensure that this negativity doesn’t impact your life too much?

Modelling is part of who I am but there is so much more to me than that. I don’t let any negativity from the industry affect me because I surround myself with positive and uplifting people who I can laugh with and not take life too seriously with. Modelling is a creative outlet for me that I am lucky enough to get paid for but as I mentioned before I use it to be someone else for the day or to play a character. Unfortunately modelling does come with criticism it’s part of the job to be judged on how you look but I just take it with a pinch of salt. You have to listen to the criticism and then either use it to improve yourself or brush it off. I’ll also call my best friend to tell her what a shocker of a day I’ve had and we just laugh about it!

I also read a lot of psychology and personal development books if I am ever feeling deflated or unsure of myself. There is always someone out there who has felt the same way you do you so you aren’t alone there are always answers or advice for everything. You just need to seek out the information and you can literally google anything these days.

I would also say never listen to any doubters. In fact, block and delete them from your life if you can. You don’t need criticism from your friends unless its useful. Yes, the modelling industry is full of criticism but it is important to remember this. They are judging you from how you look and not who you are. Often you may be half an inch too short or even just not the exact look they are looking for- it isn’t personal and the jobs you don’t get weren’t meant for you. You learn to build a tough skin over time which is so good for all areas of your life. Rejection is redirection which will lead to the jobs you do get. You want brands to want to work with you so don’t worry about any criticism the ones that do want to work with you will find you and this will be way more authentic.

Do you feel pressure to look a certain way? And do you think the industry is changing with regards to the body positivity movement?

Yes. The pressure for unobtainable perfection is a lot however the industry is changing massively and its more accepting of different body types and embracing all types of beauty. When I was a teenager if you weren’t at least 5’8 with very long limbs it was hard to get a look in. I’m not sure if it’s from my ballet training or just my genetics but I’ve always had a more athletic build compared to other models however you should embrace what you are and use it to your advantage.

I have. I have been able to work for some amazing beauty, fitness and lingerie campaigns from embracing this instead of trying to fit in on a catwalk.
And at the end of the day when you meet someone who is happy and confident in their own skin that always shines through – that is what is really beautiful.

If you could choose any other job, what would you do?

I would have carried on dancing. I was teaching ballet as a part time teacher before modelling so I would have pursued that and become a full-time ballet teacher and owned my own dancing school.

What would be your top three skin care products for moving into spring?

I like to keep my skin care simple so I don’t use many products but these are my top three.

Bioderma Micellar Water- I use every morning and evening to cleanse my face -It’s so gentle and soft on the face.

Astral moisturiser- I swear by this and I’ve tried so many expensive brands- I always have a tub in my handbag!

Chanel – Soleil bronzer.

I don’t like to wear foundation if I’m not on a photoshoot so I let my skin breathe and this is my go-to. You only need a tiny bit and it lasts forever.

P.s (Drink loads of Lemon and hot water- its magic for your skin)

Is there an area of wellness that you want to particularly focus on/ work on right now?

I would love to focus on Yoga and meditation this year.

I recently got into doing meditation and started doing a lot more yoga too in lockdown.

I find it really relaxing and calms my mind so this would be really good for me. I also read that all of the most successful people meditate daily so I definitely need to add this to my routine!

What is your go to work out and why?

I do weight training 4-5 times a week with my PT on Zoom. It has helped me develop strength and keep my whole body toned which is great for my job. Often women are put off weights as they think it will make you look ‘bulky’ when in fact lifting weights can shape your body to develop a leaner and more toned physique.
I combine weight training every week with Pilates.

At dance school we took Pilates every week as it goes hand in hand with ballet. It’s amazing for dancers and athletes as it’s a full body workout that improves posture and balance. It particularly helps me as it releases any tension I get from weight training through articulation of the spine and helps me to maintain and constantly work on my flexibility. Weight training and Pilates are my favourite go-to work outs as well as stretching at home.

Who are your biggest female inspirations (industry or non-industry)

My biggest female inspiration is Grace Kelly. I was named after her and I grew up watching her films. She is the epitome of elegance and grace. She was also the Princess of Monaco after her acting career so she was an absolute dream to me when I was growing up.

I love all the old school Hollywood actresses such as Sophia Loren, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn and Bridgitte Bardot. They have such natural and effortless beauty. I recently saw photos of Marilyn Monroe weight training at home which I love as she was an absolute siren. These women had such poise and sophistication and yet seem to exude power and sass at the same time. They are the kind of women who would silence a room with their elegance, power and natural beauty and you don’t really see that kind of beauty anymore today.

And finally there are a lot of dancers I admire but my favourite at the moment is Francesca Hayward- principal ballet dancer at The Royal Ballet.

Being a model is so on the go, what snacks do you love for those busy days?

I try not to snack as I’m a very all or nothing person so I struggle with moderation and wouldn’t stop once I started! So instead of snacking I stick to three main meals a day. If I am really hungry I will have a protein bar after training.

What are you most looking forward to this upcoming year?

I am most looking forward to working with new brands and meeting new people and creatives in my industry. I love working on incredible concepts and creating interesting imagery with like-minded people. I want to continue to build my work portfolio and continue to do what I love and just get better and better.

What has the previous year taught you about your personal wellness journey?

It is really important to focus on yourself and not worry about what stage anyone else is at in their life. Everyone’s journey is different. I have always been a very competitive person and so I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to try and be the best at whatever I put my mind to, so it has been really nice to slow down and focus on the things and people I love the most in my life.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical body, so you need to look after this and surround yourself with all the best people. Last year has also taught me to always believe in yourself and your capabilities. Your imperfections make you the person you are so just embrace them and use them to your advantage no matter the situation.

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