Sophie Dahl (born Sophie Holloway; 15 September 1977) is an English author and former fashion model. As a writer, she published her first novella in 2003 entitled The Man with the Dancing Eyes and followed this with Playing With the Grown-ups in 2007. In 2009 she wrote Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, a cookery book which featured recipes that were recreated for a six-part BBC 2 series called The Delicious Miss Dahl.
Born in London, Dahl made her debut on the English catwalk in London Fashion Week in February 1997 after meeting Isabella Blow, who was then a stylist for Vogue magazine. Blow introduced her to the management at the Storm Model Agency in London who signed her to a number of modelling campaigns, including those for Versace, Alexander McQueen, Patrick Cox, DKNY, Boucheron and Pringle.
Dahl is the daughter of the actor Julian Holloway and writer Tessa Dahl. Her maternal grandparents were the children's author Roald Dahl and the American actress Patricia Neal. Her paternal grandparents were the actor Stanley Holloway and Violet Lane, a former chorus dancer. Dahl was the inspiration for Sophie, the main character in her maternal grandfather's book The BFG. She is married to the singer Jamie Cullum.
Dahl was born in London to the actor Julian Holloway and the writer Tessa Dahl, who had a brief relationship. As a child, Sophie frequently spent time at both her maternal and paternal grandparents' houses in Great Missenden and Angmering, respectively. Dahl has noted that her childhood was "an odd one, but with such magic". Writing in The Guardian in 2013, the journalist Kira Cochrane notes that during her childhood, Sophie attended 10 schools and lived in 17 homes in various locations including London, New York, and India.
Dahl was started modelling at the age of 18, after a meeting with the Vogue stylist Isabella Blow, who was then an editor at British Vogue. The following year, Dahl made her debut on the catwalk at Lainey Keogh's London fashion week show, modelling Autumn/Winter knitwear. Over the years, Dahl appeared in advertising campaigns for Versace, Alexander McQueen, Boucheron, Pringle, Godiva, Banana Republic, Gap and Boodles amongst others. She appeared on the covers of both British and Italian Vogue, along with the covers of Elle, Harpers Bazaar, Red, Numero, Arena and Tatler.
During her career as a model, Dahl worked with photographers including Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, Tim Walker, Steven Klein and Steven Meisel. In 2000, Dahl became the face of Yves Saint-Laurent's Opium. The ad campaign was art-directed by Tom Ford and shot by Steven Meisel. Dahl's nude images in British advertisements caused a near-record number of complaints to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority.
In 2003, Dahl published her first book, an illustrated novella and Times bestseller, The Man with the Dancing Eyes (Bloomsbury Publishing). From 2005 Dahl was a contributing editor and regular columnist at Men's Vogue, prior to its closure in 2008. Dahl is the author of three other books: Playing with the Grown-Ups (2007) and two cook books, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights (2009) and From Season To Season (2011). She was a contributor to an anthology, Truth or Dare edited by Justine Picardie, which included works by Zoë Heller and William Fiennes. She also provided introductions to the Puffin Classic new edition of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, and the Virago Press re-issue of Stella Gibbons' 1938 novel Nightingale Wood – both released in April 2009, and Nancy Mitford's "Don't Tell Alfred", reissued by Penguin in March 2010.
In March and April 2010 a six-part cookery series, "The Delicious Miss Dahl", which Dahl wrote and presented, was broadcast on BBC 2. She wrote and presented a social history documentary about the Victorian cook, Isabella Beeton, which was transmitted on BBC 2 on 29 September 2011.
Dahl was a contributing editor at British magazine Vogue for a decade, writing about subjects for cultural identity and the journey of refugees to Brexit Britain to the Proustian response to scent, winning a Jasmine Award for her column. Dahl is a contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveller, and has written essays for amongst others, The Guardian, the American edition of Vogue, The Observer, Time and Harpers Bazaar.
It was announced in the Bookseller that she had been signed to a four-book deal with Walker Books. The first of these books, a picture book called Madame Badoebdah, illustrated by Lauren O'Hara is scheduled for release in October 2019.
Dahl is the daughter of the English actor Julian Holloway and the writer Tessa Dahl. Sophie comes from an artistic background, with notable grandparents on both sides. Her paternal grandparents were the actor Stanley Holloway and the former chorus dancer Violet Lane. Dahl's paternal lineage has been associated with the stage since 1850; Charles Bernard (1830–1894), a great-uncle to Holloway, was a successful Shakespearean actor and theatre manager in London and the English provinces. Bernard's son, Oliver Percy Bernard OBE MC (1881–1939), was an English architect and scenic designer, responsible for the sets for Sir Thomas Beecham's Ring Cycle at Covent Garden. Through Bernard, Dahl is related to his sons, the poet and translator Oliver Bernard, the photographer Bruce Bernard, and the writer Jeffrey Bernard. Dahl's maternal grandparents were the author Roald Dahl and the American actress Patricia Neal.
On 9 January 2010, Dahl married the singer Jamie Cullum. They had their first child, a daughter named Lyra, on 2 March 2011. The couple had a second daughter, Margot, on 4 March 2013. The family live in Buckinghamshire.
- The Man with the Dancing Eyes. Ted Smart. 2003. ISBN 9781582343426.
- Playing with the Grown-ups. Anchor. 2007. ISBN 9780307388353.
- Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights: Recipes for Every Season, Mood, and Appetite. William Morrow Cookbooks. 2009. ISBN 9780061450990.
- Miss Dahl's Guide to All Things Lovely. HarperCollins. 2011. ISBN 9780007340514.
- Very Fond of Food: A Year in Recipes. Ten Speed Press. 2012. ISBN 9781607741787.
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- "From Season to Season", Harper Collins, accessed 26 November 2013.
- "Truth or Dare: The First Boy I Loved", pp. 105–117.
- "The secret garden / Frances Hodgson Burnett; introduced by Sophie Dahl; illustrations by Robin Lawrie Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924", National Library of Australia, accessed 24 November 2013.
- "What a tonic: the wit who refused to be waspish", The Telegraph, 12 March 2010, accessed 24 November 2013.
- "Two Programmes - The Marvellous Mrs Beeton, with Sophie Dahl". BBC. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- "The Long Way Home". At the Kitchen Table. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
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- "Sophie Dahl follows in her grandfather's footsteps with first book for children". Telegraph. 13 October 2018.
- Holloway and Richards, pp. 74–75
- Holloway and Richards, p. 74
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- "Patricia Neal Obituary", The Telegraph, 9 August 2010, accessed 26 November 2013.
- "Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum's Secret Wedding", The Independent, 11 January 2010, accessed 26 November 2013
- "Sophie Dahl Gives Birth to First Child", The Telegraph, 6 March 2011, accessed 26 November 2013.
- "Sophie Dahl Welcomes Second Child", Vogue UK, 7 March 2013, accessed 22 October 2018
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- Holloway, Stanley; Richards, Dick (1967). Wiv a little bit o' luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. London: Frewin. OCLC 3647363.
- Vincent Graff meets Sophie Dahl (The Guardian)
- Interview with Kate Lauer (The London Paper)
- Announcement of BBC cookery series (The Telegraph)
- Announcement of 'Miss Dahl's Guide to All Things Lovely' (The Bookseller)
- I'm a bit of a dork: Kira Cochrane talks to Sophie Dahl (The Guardian)