Holly Willoughby's 'utter shock' at being slammed for weight after teen modelling meeting

Holly Willoughby attends Holly Willoughby's launch of Wylde Moon
(Image credit: Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Wylde Moon)

Holly Willoughby has revealed she was left in “utter shock” as a teenager after hurtful comments about her weight were made following a modelling meeting. 

Holly Willoughby is one of the most popular ITV daytime stars on our screens, but she started her career as a model before moving into presenting. Now the This Morning host has opened up about the heartbreaking moment she was slammed by a modelling agency for her weight during her teenage years and how it inspired her to leave the “brutal” industry behind. Holly spoke out about being left astonished by the cruel comments in her new book.

Entitled Reflections, Holly revealed earlier this year that the real reason for her absence on This Morning was due to working on the book. In it, she shares her thoughts regarding inner and outer beauty and reveals emotional moments from her past.

Holly Willoughby attends the press night performance of "Satyagraha"

One such heartbreaking moment took place when she was just 17 after a modelling meeting in Australia. As reported by the Daily Mail, Holly wrote about how she was spotted by a modelling agent at the Clothes Show after doing work experience in London at Model 1 agency in her youth. 

The star later made the decision to travel around Australia, commenting that her shape as she got older “didn't fit the modelling bill anymore”. It was following a meeting over there that Holly received devastating comments. 

Holly Willoughby arrives at 19 Management's 19th Anniversary Party

(Image credit: Photo by Steve Finn/Getty Images)

Holly explained, “I hoped I'd do some modelling there and maybe live in Sydney for a bit. The booker was really nice. Afterwards, I spoke to my London agency to see what she'd said, and the comment I got back was: ''We'll put her weight down to healthy eating while travelling.'''

She added, “I just thought, wow. I could look in the mirror and see what I was seventeen and tiny... so to hear a comment like that was a complete and utter shock.”

It was after hearing these cruel comments about her weight that Holly made the brave decision to pursue a totally different career. 

Reflections by Holly Willoughby | Amazon | £10Exploring everything from emotional topics such as burnout and body image, to beauty and self-care, Holly Willoughby's Reflections shares her insights into life in the modern world and all she's learned.
Reflections by Holly Willoughby | Amazon | £10
Exploring everything from emotional topics such as burnout and body image, to beauty and self-care, Holly Willoughby's Reflections shares her insights into life in the modern world and all she's learned.

“I saw for myself the brutal and, in my opinion, ugly side of what I'd always thought was the most beautiful place, and I realised then that it was no for me,” she wrote, adding that “forcing [her] body to be a certain shape wasn't a good way to live.”

Instead, Holly set her sights on presenting upon her return to the UK and landed a job on S Club TV on CITV. From there her career went from strength to strength and she started her iconic This Morning hosting role in 2009 alongside Phillip Schofield, with whom she still presents the show from Monday-Thursday. 

Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby attend the National Television Awards 2021 at The O2 Arena

The revelations come as Holly debuted an epic transformation and took to Instagram and TikTok to promote her insightful new book. Donning a red Annie wig, she mouthed along to The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow whilst holding a copy of Reflections.

Now after months of agonising waiting, fans can finally get hold of it themselves and get many fascinating insights into Holly’s musings on life, image, burnout and general life lessons.

Emma Shacklock
Senior Lifestyle Writer

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with six years of experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, Goodto.com, and My Imperfect Life.