Supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley still proud of her Devon roots
- Credit: Alamy Stock Photo
Wherever you may wander, there's no place like home and globe-trotting model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley firmly believes that, as she tells BERNARD BALE
"I'm a country girl at heart," said Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. "I didn't always realise that but I do now. My work has taken me all over the world and the more I have travelled the more I have missed my roots in Devon."
Rosie talks affectionately about growing up in our county and why she cannot resist coming back here as often as possible.
"I was born in Plymouth but we moved to Tavistock when I was quite young," Rosie explained. "We lived on a farm and I spent a lot of time outdoors, sometimes because my mother insisted upon it so that she could get a little peace.
"As well as the lovely Devon countryside I had sheep, pigs, horses, chickens and ducks all around me and it was great. I think I was an outdoor girl then and I still am at heart. I especially loved the horses and that has never really changed either.
"I didn't know much about London in those early days but reading copies of glossy magazines like Vogue with my mother helped me realise that there was an exciting world in London and other cities. It seemed to me to be very glamorous and totally different to life on the farm. I loved living in the country but I was keen to sample the magic of the big city too."
That is how Rosie found herself working as an assistant in a modelling agency in London when she was just 15.
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"It was quite an experience, I was the girl who made the tea and ran the errands, I loved it but I never thought that I might one day become one of those models," she said. "I had a few problems at school which didn't help my confidence.
“I went to Tavistock College which was a good school but we even had some bullying in those days and there were some who made fun of my 'posh' name and so on. I was quite tall as well. I don't have nightmares about it but it does put you down a bit so I never thought too much of myself.
"My time at the agency was for work experience and then I took my exams. I went back there to visit later on and they offered to put me on their models' list. I was a bit surprised but didn't hesitate and it was not long before I had my first job modelling for Levi jeans. I hadn't seen myself as a model I must admit but suddenly I had a career."
Rosie has since become one of the world's most sought-after models – including high profile work as a brand ambassador for Marks & Spencer - but her career has blossomed in other ways too.
"I had an opportunity to go into acting and I couldn't resist that either," she said. "I think that has been the story of my life, I can rarely resist a challenge, whether it was running up a hill in Devon or finding myself on a film set surrounded by experienced actors."
Rosie now has two children of her own with her fiancé, the actor Jason Statham, and gives them priority but she is still in great demand for modelling shoots in various parts of the world.
"I suppose modelling always looks very glamorous and I must admit that I have probably seen many more parts of the world than I might otherwise have done," said Rosie. "You stay in amazing hotels and you get to meet famous people too.
"One of the greatest experiences for me was when I first appeared on the cover of Vogue, it seemed quite strange to actually appear on the front of the magazine I had only previously shared with my mother who was also a fitness instructor.
"Make no mistake though, a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes. To keep in shape for modelling work you cannot just sit around putting on make-up, you have to exercise and take note of what you are eating.
“I have always had a liking for pies but you have to ration things like that! I've always had a great appetite, probably all that running around outdoors started that. Working-out regularly is a necessary evil. You have to work at being a model, it doesn't just happen by accident. You do have to exercise but it is not really a chore, it becomes part of your life and you would feel a bit strange if you didn't."
Having lived in London and various breathtaking parts of Europe, the United States, Australia and other parts of the world, does Rosie actually have a favourite?
"Yes, Devon, I am still in love with it," she said. "I spend a lot of my time living in LA which is lovely. I spend a lot of time in other major cities too. There might be the glamour and fun to enjoy in a city but the real beauty is in the countryside and especially in my home county where the people are so nice and ready to volunteer smile for no particular reason.
"The country air smells so fresh and I still love to see the sheep, the pigs, the ducks, chickens and, of course, the horses. Whenever I am here and I really don't like to be away for very long, I just find it all so relaxing and lovely. It is home to me.
"I have said before that of all the places I have had photo shoots, I have really liked quite a few of them but I would still love to do a photo shoot on the moors of Devon which have a fantastic combination of challenging countryside and sheer beauty. "
So what is next for Rosie?
"I have still have many modelling assignments in the diary and I would like to do some more acting but I am also a Mum and have to make sure that I have priorities," she said. "For now it is probably more of the same - more travelling, more being in front of cameras and more trips home to Devon."