Hayley Hasselhoff on the importance of plus-size models in 2021

Hayley Hasselhoff is making waves in the modelling industry (Picture: Getty)

The actress and ‘curve model, 28, on Playboy, moving to LA during Covid, and swearing in her first audition.

What was your reaction when Playboy asked you to be their cover model?

There was a moment of apprehensiveness. I wanted to make sure it was with the right people and it was the right time and the right message. Then, when we came to understand that I’d be their first ‘curve model’, it really was a no-brainer because I’d been championing body positivity for such a long time. To welcome all different shapes and sizes, and to know that you’re desired and loved and wanted, was a beautiful way for me to jump into this wholeheartedly. I was in my lingerie but completely covered. They were shielding me to get from the hallway to the set-up and I was like, ‘I’m fine! I’m in lingerie! This is nothing! This is my job!’

Did your dad, David, ever do a Playgirl cover? In a back issue he’s featured as one of the Top 10 Nighttime TV Hunks…

I would have no idea!

Didn’t you end up wearing some of your own lingerie from LA boutique Trashy Lingerie?

Yes, Trashy Lingerie is one of my favourite places in LA. There’s a mix of stuff in there. The Playboy cover features a red silk robe but it’s actually a dress I bought from Ghost that I turned into a silk robe. I’ve always been very crafty about how I buy things. As a curvy woman, you do not have that availability to just go into a store and say, ‘I want to buy some beautiful silk nightgowns and silk robes.’ I’ve always had this way of finding trinkets that make me feel good and also lingerie, silk nightgowns and silk robes, I have a full closet downstairs just dedicated to them.

What do you think the most important changes have been in the curve modelling industry since you started aged 14?

I feel so grateful to see the media has jumped on board because what we forget is that the Ashley Grahams of the world have been around for years and years. We forget Emme and Crystal Renn, models who paved the way in the media for how people understand that inclusivity is something that is the average-sized woman’s right to have. There’s still a long way to go but change is happening. It’s taken till 2021 to have a curve model on the cover of Playboy but I’m grateful that we’re here.

You’ve moved back to LA from the UK. How was doing that during a pandemic?

It’s been challenging but I’m very happy that we are settled now. I shipped 22 cases. It’s just a madhouse. And to do it all on my own and also during a pandemic has been one for the book.

Ashley Graham leads the way for curvier models, but she’s the latest in a long line (Picture: T Jackson/Backgrid)

How is your boyfriend, Dominic, settling into LA life?

Dominic’s not here because of the regulations. I came over in December and we thought we’d just be apart for three months but it’s now turned into six. We still have our house in Kent but I think it’s the next step in my life to be back in LA and to develop from here. It’s going to be interesting. I’m eager for him to be here but there are so many more problems in the world to be solved before my heartache becomes one of them. We’re not in any rush.

Had you done a lot of thinking about who the right guy would be when you were single? Are you a list maker?

Oh God, no — maybe I should have but I didn’t at all. I’m a free spirit. I think that’s what makes me ‘me’. I loved dating at one point. The actress in me is always curious because you get to find out so much about that person in the first couple of dates — about where they grew up and their life and who they perceive themselves as. Me and Dominic, we just naturally stumbled into each other and didn’t let go from the second we met.

Hayley has no idea if her dad David Hasselhoff ever posed for Playgirl… (Picture: Franziska Krug/Getty Images)

Are you acting again?

Yes, coming back to LA, I’m working a ton, not only in the mental health and body image space, but getting back into acting so there’s a lot of great things in the works.

Can you remember your very first audition?

When I was three years old I was in my mom’s show and then, of course, I did a couple of episodes of Baywatch but I wouldn’t really categorise that as acting, it was more just fun. ‘Go play but here are some cameras that are going to be on you.’ I’m like, ‘OK!’ My first audition was for House when I was six years old. They made me go in and there was no scene. It was really just, ‘Here are a couple of words to say and we want you to just scream them, vigorously.’ They were cuss words. I remember walking with my mum and my dad and crying, ‘They made me say these words over and over and over again!’ I was mortified. I think that was when my family said, ‘OK, we need to wait until we figure out if this is what she wants.’

Hayley is partnering with charities Project Healthy Minds and WeAreBridgingTheGap throughout Mental Health Awareness Month. Follow Hayley on Instagram @hhasselhoff

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