Twiggy: My Jewish family connections

By Robyn Rosen, September 17, 2009
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Twiggy addressing the World Jewish Relief lunch: “I’d grown up hating what I looked like. I was a funny duck-like creature” (Photo: Lara Minksy)

Twiggy addressing the World Jewish Relief lunch: “I’d grown up hating what I looked like. I was a funny duck-like creature” (Photo: Lara Minksy)

Twiggy has spoken about her Jewish family — and her desire to visit Israel.

Before addressing a packed World Jewish Relief women’s lunch in Watford on Tuesday, the fashion icon and actress revealed that her maternal grandfather, who died when she was three, was Jewish. Her actor husband Leigh Lawson — who accompanied her to the lunch — is also halachically Jewish and they had hired a genealogist to discover more about their families.

Mr Lawson’s Jewish mother, Caroline (née Hawkins), died in 2001 and although they were not practising, Mr Lawson had taken some of his background to heart, she explained.

“Every time we go abroad, he will go to find Jewish areas. We have visited synagogues all over the world and I’ve become really interested in it all through him.”

Most recently, a visit to a Holocaust exhibit at a Jewish museum in St Petersburg, Florida, had Twiggy “crying my eyes out. It was amazing but very upsetting. We stayed for hours. It’s important that nobody ever forgets what happened.”

Visiting Israel was an ambition. “I’d love to go to Jerusalem. It must be the most magical place in the world.”

Twiggy, who will be 60 tomorrow, was asked to speak to WJR supporters by her lawyer Mel Stein, whose son works for the charity. Answering questions from some of the 300-plus guests, she recalled being “totally shocked” at being named the “Face of 66”.

“I’d grown up hating what I looked like. I was a funny duck-like creature so to be suddenly told by great photographers I was beautiful was extraordinary.”

Although never having undergone body enhancement, she was not averse to the idea. “If I did, it would be the nip-and-tuck type, not injections. If you want it and can afford it and get the best doctor, then why not?”

The Gemini committee lunch raised £14,000, with proceeds swelled by a raffle to which Twiggy donated items.

    Last updated: 3:15pm, October 9 2009