Sophie Dahl

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Sophie Dahl (née Holloway, born 15 September 1977) is an English author and former fashion model. Her first novel was published in 2003, The Man with the Dancing Eyes, followed by Playing With the Grown-ups in 2007. In 2009 she wrote Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights, a cookery book with recipes that were recreated for a six-part BBC 2 series, The Delicious Miss Dahl. In 2011 her cookery book, From Season to Season was published, and her first children's book, Madame Badobedah, was published in 2019. She is the granddaughter of author Roald Dahl.

Early life and education[edit]

Dahl was born in London, to the actor Julian Holloway and the writer Tessa Dahl. As a child, Sophie frequently spent time at both her maternal and paternal grandparents' houses in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire[1] and East Preston, West Sussex, respectively.[2] Dahl has noted that her childhood was "an odd one, but with such magic".[3] Dahl attended 10 schools and lived in 17 homes in various locations including London, New York, and India.[3]



Dahl started modelling at the age of 18 after a meeting with Isabella Blow, who was then an editor at British Vogue.[4] The following year Dahl made her debut on the catwalk at Lainey Keogh's London fashion week show, modelling Autumn/Winter knitwear.[5] She then went on to appear in advertising campaigns for Versace, Alexander McQueen, Boucheron, Pringle, Godiva, Banana Republic, Gap and Boodles amongst others.[6][7] She appeared on the covers of both British and Italian Vogue,[8][9] along with the covers of Elle,[10] Harpers Bazaar,[11] Red,[12] Numero, and Tatler.[13]

During her career as a model, Dahl worked with photographers including Richard Avedon, Peter Lindbergh, Tim Walker,[14] 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.[15] Dahl's nude images in British advertisements caused a near-record number of complaints to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority.[16]


In 2003 Dahl published her first book, an illustrated novella and Times bestseller, The Man with the Dancing Eyes (Bloomsbury Publishing).[17] 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 four other books: Playing with the Grown-Ups (2007)[18] and two cook books, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights (2009)[19] and From Season To Season (2011).[20] She was a contributor to an anthology, Truth or Dare, edited by Justine Picardie, which included works by Zoë Heller and William Fiennes.[21] She also provided introductions to the Puffin Classic new edition of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett,[22] 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.[23]

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.[24]

Dahl was a contributing editor at British magazine Vogue for a decade, writing about subjects from cultural identity and the journey of refugees to Britain[25] to the Proustian response to scent, winning a Jasmine Award for her column.[26] She is a contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveller, and has written essays for amongst others, The Guardian,[27] the American edition of Vogue, The Observer[28] and The New York Times Magazine.[29]

It was announced in the Bookseller in 2019 that Dahl had been signed to a four-book deal with Walker Books. The first of these, Madame Badoebdah, a children's picture book illustrated by Lauren O'Hara, was published in October 2019.[30][31] Dahl's second book with Walker, The Worst Sleepover in the World, illustrated by Luciano Lozano, will be published in October 2021.[32]

In 2020 Dahl became a monthly columnist and contributing editor at House & Garden magazine.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Dahl's paternal grandparents were the actor Stanley Holloway and his wife, Violet (née Lane), a former chorus dancer.[34] Dahl's paternal lineage has been associated with the stage since at least 1850; Charles Bernard (1830–1894), a great-uncle to Stanley Holloway, was a Shakespearean actor and theatre manager in London and the English provinces. Bernard's son, Oliver Percy Bernard OBE MC (1881–1939), was an architect and scenic designer, responsible for the sets for Sir Thomas Beecham's Ring Cycle at Covent Garden.[35][36] Through Bernard, Dahl is related to his sons, the poet and translator Oliver Bernard, the photographer Bruce Bernard,[37] and the writer Jeffrey Bernard.[34][37] Dahl's maternal grandparents were the author Roald Dahl and the American actress Patricia Neal.[38]

On 9 January 2010 Dahl married the singer Jamie Cullum.[39] They had their first child, a daughter named Lyra, in March 2011.[40] The couple had a second daughter, Margot, in March 2013.[41] The family live in Buckinghamshire.[42]

Dahl is an ambassador at Place2Be, a charity who provide mental health support and advocacy in schools across the UK.[43]


  • 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.


  1. ^ "Visiting the Roald Dahl Museum", Roald Dahl, accessed 26 November 2013.
  2. ^ "Sophie Dahl, model and TV presenter", The Scotsman (magazine), 20 March 2010, accessed 26 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b "'I'm a bit of a dork", The Guardian (online edition), 19 October 2007, accessed 26 November 2013
  4. ^ "Remembering Isabella Blow, the maverick stylist who changed British fashion, a decade on from her death", The Telegraph, accessed 7 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Lainey Keogh", Bloomsbuy Publishing, accessed 3 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Sophie Dahl makes modelling comeback". The Sydney Morning Herald. 19 July 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Sophie Dahl",
  8. ^ "Brit Girls on the Vogue Cover", Vogue, accessed 23 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Vogue Italia April 2000: Sophie Dahl by Steven Meisel", The Fashion Spot, accessed 25 January 2015.
  10. ^ "Elle Magazine Canada (July 2004)", accessed 23 November 2020
  11. ^ "Harper's Bazaar Magazine - 2008 - Sophie Dahl",, accessed 15 October 2018
  12. ^ "Sophie Dahl Cover Interview" Red, 5 October 2010
  13. ^ "Tatler Magazine - October 2000 - Sophie Dahl",, accessed 15 October 2018
  14. ^ "Vogue Archive – Tim Walker", Vogue, accessed 15 October 2018
  15. ^ "The Glamorous, Scandalous History of Yves Saint Laurent's Opium Fragrance Obsession". 16 July 2018.
  16. ^ "Offensive Opium Posters to be Removed", The Guardian, published 19 December 2000.
  17. ^ "Soft-shoe shuffle", Hadley Freeman The Guardian, 1 February 2003, accessed 23 November 2020.
  18. ^ Guest, Katy (16 November 2007). "Playing with the Grown ups, by Sophie Dahl". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  19. ^ "Sophie Dahl", BBC, accessed 2 February 2019.
  20. ^ "From Season to Season: A Year in Recipes (Hardback)", Waterstones, accessed 23 November 2020
  21. ^ "Truth or Dare: The First Boy I Loved", pp. 105–117.
  22. ^ "The Secret Garden", Penguin Books, accessed 23 November 2020.
  23. ^ "Don't Tell Alfred", Penguin Books, accessed 23 November 2020.
  24. ^ "Two Programmes - The Marvellous Mrs Beeton, with Sophie Dahl". BBC. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
  25. ^ "The Long Way Home". At the Kitchen Table. Retrieved 22 October 2018.
  26. ^ "Vogue Celebrated at Jasmine Awards", Vogue magazine, 7 March 2013, accessed 26 November 2013.
  27. ^ "My grandfather Roald Dahl, the magician". The Guardian. 13 September 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  28. ^ "Fond Farewells – Patricia Neal". Time. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  29. ^ "Letter of Recommendation: Mudlarking". The New York Times Magazine. 1 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Madame Badobedah", Walker Books, accessed 12 May 2020.
  31. ^ "The Sunday Times best children's books of the year 2019". Telegraph. 1 December 2019.
  32. ^ "I'm pleased as punch...", @mssophiedahl, Instagram, 25 May 2021
  33. ^ "Sophie Dahl", House & Garden, accessed 10 February 2021.
  34. ^ a b Holloway and Richards, pp. 74–75
  35. ^ Holloway and Richards, p. 74
  36. ^ "He was the nice one: farewell to Oliver Bernard", London Evening Standard, 4 June 2013
  37. ^ a b May, A. (2004) "Bernard, Bruce Bonus (1928–2000)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, accessed 22 August 2007 (subscription or UK public library membership required)
  38. ^ "Patricia Neal Obituary", The Telegraph, 9 August 2010, accessed 26 November 2013.
  39. ^ "Sophie Dahl and Jamie Cullum's Secret Wedding", The Independent, 11 January 2010, accessed 26 November 2013
  40. ^ "Sophie Dahl Gives Birth to First Child", The Telegraph, 6 March 2011, accessed 26 November 2013.
  41. ^ "Sophie Dahl Welcomes Second Child", Vogue UK, 7 March 2013, accessed 22 October 2018
  42. ^ "Instagram snoop: Sophie Dahl", House & Garden, accessed 4 June 2019.
  43. ^ "Our ambassadors and patrons". Place2Be. Retrieved 28 January 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)


  • Holloway, Stanley; Richards, Dick (1967). Wiv a little bit o' luck: The life story of Stanley Holloway. London: Frewin. OCLC 3647363.

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