The modelling industry can be a dark, critical place. If you choose to pursue a career posing in front of the camera dressed in the season’s latest fashion, spending copious amounts of time wondering whether you look good/thin/pretty enough is sadly the norm.
But not for Moffy Gathorne Hardy. This London-born model isn’t interested in conforming to mass-market beauty ideals; instead, she’s owning every inch of herself, and embracing the things that make her different, including her lazy eye. It’s incredibly empowering.
“Fashion, and against this background, beauty, decides what it wants to be and then points to itself; it is a self-referential echo chamber of mutual appreciation between a small number of people who own the handbag and speak the lingo,” she told Refinery29.
Moffy was born with amblyopia, commonly referred to as a lazy eye, which is a vision disorder that develops during infancy and childhood. Several optometrists recommended a corrective surgery that could make Moffy’s affected eye look more like the other, but the model felt the surgery would change her too much and take away something that had become a part of her identity.
This physical difference has given Moffy a fresh perspective on how she sees others, an outlook she might not have had without it.
“I’ve always felt like a bit of an outsider, and whether that’s due to or independent of the fact of my eyes, I feel that they’re a way into seeing that about me, and that they have forced me not only to reserve judgement about people that I perceive as being strange or unusual, but have given me a sense of affiliation with them,” she said.
Casting directors are always on the hunt for unique faces, and Moffy’s look has certainly helped her land gigs in both print and on the runway. And whether she likes it or not, the brunette has become a symbol for inclusivity and body acceptance thanks to the power of social media.
“The messages I receive from people saying that I’ve helped them in some way give me an enormous sense of warmth and belonging, and above all give an extra sense of purpose to what I do,” she said. “And I don’t mind talking about it, but I have begun to wonder what people without a lazy eye get asked in interviews…”
She’s more than just a confident, pretty face with a sense of humour and a solid outlook on life. Moffy is currently penning her own novel, too, which she uses as a form of therapy.
“Starting to write is agony, because in any situation it will bring things up for you, and especially if you’re dealing with subjects relating to your own past; but once you’ve passed the pain barrier it’s the most wonderful relief I can imagine,” she said.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that’s not its only location. People like Moffy remind us that beauty comes from within.