My love affair with the incomparable U.K. stylist Grace Woodward began while watching Britain & Ireland's Next Top Model (BINTM), for which she was one of the judges on the show from 2010-2011. (C'mon, I know all you Top Model enthusiasts YouTubed the other English-speaking country's versions of the show like I did. We just couldn't get enough, right?)
Anyway, this gorgeous style icon is more renowned in the U.K. than she is in America, but her influence, aesthetic, and style transcends national borders. From her amazing work in styling — go check out her website, linked above, to see her stunning portfolio — to her gutsy, tell-it-like-it-is judging on BINTM to her fascination with timeless, vintage clothing and her quick-witted sense of humor (which she's always displaying on her Twitter and Instagram), she is a fun and phenomenal lady in fashion.
I, for one, would love to see even more of her in popular culture, but it's fashion's behind-the-scenes folks that are sometimes the most incredible. For someone who has spent her entire adult working career in this fast-paced industry, she shows no signs of slowing down. Here are just a few reasons I'm enamored and inspired by her, and why you should be, too.
She's Got A Massive Personality
Her sass and obvious knowledge of her field captured me from the start. Aside from probably single handedly being the person who brought those thick-rimmed, hipster glasses in style circa 2010 (a staple for her early look, which she has almost moved on from these days), her influence in the fashion world is non-disputed. She has styled the likes of Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine) and Green Day in their iconic Rolling Stone cover from 2005.
She was also the stylist on the U.K.'s X Factor in 2010 as well as the host of a show called Chick Fix, where she helped everyday women with their real problems. Her TV personality ranged from a feisty judge with plenty of sass and wit to the softer, helpful guide on her talk show.
She Believes In Mentoring
Recently, she was a part of an initiative to champion women in business. She was one of the four mentors for Triumph's (a lingerie company) "Supporting Women in Making" scholarship and mentoring program. In a Stylenest interview, she said about mentoring, "We have all learned by our mistakes and hopefully we can help by imparting some of our hard learned lessons to help get this person into business in the most informed and seamless way possible."
She's A Working Mom
She hasn't let having a baby slow her down. She was pregnant while being a part of the "Supporting Women in Making" campaign. And in late 2014, she opened her own shop in England called Graceland, which features designer vintage clothing, jewelry, and artwork.
She's Body Positive
Just check out her latest 'gram.
'Nuff said, really. I mean, even though she's styling models and celebrities who look the part of what the fashion world typically sees "beauty" as, and despite that from interviews I've read or listened to, I know she acknowledges that to be in the fashion industry often means to fit a certain mold, I still think her work encourages both girls and women to be themselves and to believe in their own confidence. It's voices like hers in the industry that I've resonated with in terms of dressing the way I want because I love it, not because I feel like I should or shouldn't based on so-called fashion rules.
Here's to the career of this fabulous woman and to her prolonged impact and importance to the ever-changing and wild fashion world.
Images: Getty; Instagram/gracewoodward