My birth name is Laura but when I went to the modelling agency they said I had to change my name because two other models were called Laura. So straight away I was Agyness because that was my grandmother's name.

I was spotted at the age of 17 on a London street. I had fun expressing myself in so many ways with clothes and movement and images. I worked with some of the top designers and photographers.

I never really looked like all the other models because I looked like a tomboy and a punk and I'd shave my hair or I'd bleach it. There was a kind of freeness in that as well. My image was very famous.

I started acting in my late 20s. I'm 33 now. I never had any training and first did a few short films. I had small roles in bigger films and said, "Yes, this is it!"


I had travelled a lot as a model and it got lonely. There was no feeling of a family, whereas you can have intimate, meaningful relationships on films.

Every role I play I learn something about myself and I step into scary places that I wouldn't normally want to visit. I was untrained to start with but now have a coach and I learn from everyone I work with, including Tom Wilkinson and Sam Worthington on my new sci-fi film, The Titan.

When I worked with Terence Davies on Sunset Song it was a massive experience as I'm in every scene. We shot for almost a month around Christchurch as it was a good substitute for Scotland. I'd never been to New Zealand before and it was like nowhere I'd ever been. It was stunning. All the cast would go on road trips when we weren't working.

Initially for my role they were only seeing Scottish actresses but when I read the script I wept from start to finish and I just had to do it. I worked hard on the Scottish accent and when I went to my audition Terence said I was the only one to choose the hardest scene, where she stands up to her husband.

I've never experienced giving birth so my mum, who is a midwife, talked me through those scenes beat by beat. Terence made me do it again because I wasn't reacting strong enough the first time! I had to find this intense personal connection. I don't find it easy to be vocal.

My mum was a single mum and as I was growing up she was very inspiring to me, like super strong.

Agyness Deyn is in Sunset Song, part of the NZFF and in general release on December 1. Hail, Caesar is currently on digital release.