Life invariably takes unexpected twists and turns, but the course that led Gwilym Pugh from a life-insurance agent to a male model in less than a decade is more drastic than most. Much more drastic. And let’s just cut to the chase here: It’s all thanks to his beard.
The Rugby, England native decided against attending university and, by 2006, was operating a life insurance company out of his home in Cardiff. He was 21 years old at the time and was overweight at 280 lbs., thanks to a job that kept him at his desk for up to 10 hours each day, and a knee injury that prevented him from exercising.
But things started to change in 2011, when he and some friends decided to start a folk-country band, The Magic Rooster Brothers. It was around that time that his barber suggested he grow a beard to complete his folksy look.
“He told me if I was playing the guitar in a folk band, I had to have a beard,” he recalled.
And it turned out to be the best idea he had ever heard.
Actually, it was a little more complicated than that because, he was still pretty overweight. So the next step of his transformation involved eating healthier. Take-out had been a staple during his desk-job years, so he cut it and started putting more effort into exercising, averaging about 15,000 steps each day.
Walking and “generally trying to be active in some way throughout every day has been key.
I want to keep spreading the word that anything is possible if you give it enough time and patience … When you have self doubt, you have to stand up inside and tell yourself to shut up!!
It took him about four or five years to lose the weight, but once the pounds started dropping off and the beard filled out, he joined Instagram. That move was mostly to help promote his band, but the photos of this ginger’s chiseled physique caught the eye of an agent.
By 2013, he was modeling for Wales-based Nathan Palmer Clothing, and later that year, appeared in a coffee-table book, “100 Beards.”
The modeling gigs kept rolling in from there, and this majestically bearded ginger is now signed with London-based AMCK Models and serves as ambassador for David Beckham’s “House 99.”
What a fortuitous chain of events – from a sedentary, fast-food lifestyle to a top modeling agency, all because of one beard. Share his incredible story today!