English model Laura Bailey lives in London with her boyfriend and two children. She spoke to The Independent Online about her childhood dreams of Olympic success, being a bit of tomboy and why motherhood is her greatest joy.
What would you normally be doing if you weren’t talking me?
My kids are (patiently?) waiting for me to go for a bike ride with them to buy comics.
In moments of weakness, what do you turn to?
Time wasting on twitter (@laurabailey77). Or excessive tea or wine with my beloved Josh Wood, who also happens to be my hairdresser.
Describe the house you grew up in.
Somewhere between a house at the top of a hill in an Oxfordshire village, a short walk from my school and my friends and a flat in Edinburgh where my dad lived. I couldn't wait to get to London though!
What did you want to be as a child?
An Olympic athlete. My school friend Antonia and I used to cycle the 7 miles from our village to Iffley Road stadium (home of the first 4 minute mile) to train obsessively. I still love running for fun through London parks or cross-country. Running, like cycling, is for me, both meditative and energising.
Name a book, song or movie that changed your life.
All three! Book: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in The Time of Cholera. Music: Anything by Bob Dylan-my constant companion. Film: Gary Oldman's 'Nil By Mouth'.
What the best advice you’ve ever received?
Something along the lines of 'you'll only regret the things you haven't done, not the things you have' which I bore in mind on my recent Kilimanjaro trek when the going got tough.
What advice do you wish you’d received when you were younger?
‘There's no rush...' I also wish I'd known that motherhood would be my greatest joy, and the thing that makes the most sense in my life by far. So in that context perhaps the opposite advice would have been 'Hurry Up!'
What one thing would you save if your house was on fire?
Other than my boyfriend and kids you mean? My MacBook pro for my iPhoto library. And the painting by my friend Sophie De Stempel of my son Luc and I.
What were you like at school?
Sporty and keen! And a bit of a tomboy. My sixth form ball was just about the first time I'd ever worn a dress.
If you could meet anyone from history who would it be and what would you ask them?
I've always been obsessed with Sam Shepard. Once, in New York he was sitting in the audience watching one of his plays being performed and I was a row behind. Tried not to stare! Another hero is Henri Cartier-Bresson. A trip around the world with the legendary photographer would have been a master class in history, politics and the art of portraiture.
Laura is currently supporting Velvet’s Campaign for Trees. Visit velvettissue.com to nominate your local area for a chance to make it more lovely and green! Velvet is committed to the environment, and for every tree used, it grows three more.