Dubbed ‘the coolest British model on the block’ by the Telegraph, Ruth Bell and her sister May were the perfect identical twins for the fashion industry, that is until Ruth was cast in the Alexander McQueen fall 2015 campaign. Two days before the McQueen shoot with David Sims, Bell was informed they wanted to shave her head and as promised, less than an hour after her arrival Paul Hanlon had removed almost all of her hair. Her luscious locks were donated to the Little Princess Trust, a charity which makes wigs for children undergoing cancer treatment. Since that fateful day the 19-year-old Kent beauty has landed several campaigns, including Burberry Prorsum, Zara and the Saint Laurent cruise 2016 campaign photographed by Hedi Slimane. “Shaving my head has got me more diverse work and it has made my work non-stop, which is tiring but awesome! It's also allowed me to work with people and designers who I never thought would work with me,” she says. She’s walked the runways of Moschino, Gucci and Lanvin, and more recently appeared on the cover of Vogue Korea wearing a selection from the Miu Miu Spring Summer 2016 collection.
To provide some context, Ruth Bell wasn’t always so punky, the 19-year-old started her modelling journey with her twin sister, May. Before falling into modelling, she had ambitions to become a pilot in the Royal Air Force (a search and rescue helicopter pilot to be exact!), whereas her twin sister May wanted to become a paramedic. But fate had other plans for the sisters, born in Ashford Kent. At age 15 they were first approached by an agent in Paris and later in 2013 entered the Elite Model London competition , where they later signed with the agency that same year. Their first job was for i-D magazine, which then lead to Topshop’s Summer of Love campaign photographed in the picturesque English countryside wearing flowing bohemian dresses with long witchy hair to match. Their duality also saw them signed to represent Reneevon, a South Korean brand but perhaps their collective career highlight was starring in Mario Testino’s Burberry campaign alongside Dylan Brosnan, actor Pierce Brosnan’s son. The pair have also worked with Vogue Paris and Urban Outfitters and also share an Instagram account, but Ruth also has her own account, cleverly named ‘ruthnotmay’.
A very wise woman- as a matter of fact, it was Iris Apfel, once said, “If your hair is done properly and you're wearing good shoes, you can get away with anything”. One could even argue that the careers of many elite models hinge on a haircut (if you don’t believe me, look no further than Linda Evangelista, Karlie Kloss or Edie Campbell before the chop), and for Ruth Bell her now legendary buzzcut was life-changing. While some other women might regard it as a curse, she regards the chop as “a career highlight”, which seems only fitting, as she has always been the more tomboyish of the two. Josie Crawley, Bell’s booker with Elite models also noticed a change in her demeanour after the buzzcut, saying: “Ruth's new hairstyle may have launched her career to a whole new level but it's also helped Ruth become more confident. She has grown both as a person and a model these last few months and her style is now just as sharp and clever as her sense of humour.”
With her signature blonde buzz cut and elfin features, Kentish beauty Ruth Bell has a face that is unforgettable, no matter what the setting. From punk to the picturesque; a dirty apartment to the splendid outdoors it’s no wonder Ruth has gone from strength to strength. While she has no idea what the future holds in store for her, she doesn’t seem to mind one bit: "…I don't mind not having a plan. I didn't plan to model but I fell into it and its turned out incredible so far". What started out as a hobby and something for the girls to do outside of school, has blossomed into so much more. Ruth’s representation within the industry, coupled with Charlize Theron’s portrayl in the new Mad Max film proves you don’t need a full head of hair to be a fashion muse or pop culture icon.