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Meet Dora, the girl who melted the heart of supermodel David Gandy


It goes without saying that the new baby of the super model, Matilda, and partner Steph are his first loved ones. But it was the adoption of the rescue puppy Dora that made him settle down and prepare for first-time paternity

Sometimes it is difficult to be a professional, especially when you are a journalist trying to interview a male model and he has brought his rescue dog with him. She is a little Yorkie terrier named Dora who appears to be nothing but fluff and love. You may think you're immune to the penetrating blue-eyed magnetism of Britain's only male supermodel, but when David Gandy lifts Dora to cuddle on his lap and tells you how brilliant she is towards his new human baby daughter Matilda, that is it a little hard not to melt.

After 15 years as Britain's most successful male model, David had reached a moment in his life when he wanted to take stock and he admits that Dora could have been the turning point

"It's a myth that rescue dogs are aggressive," says David, and he should know because he promoted six of them. He is an ambassador for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and encourages dogs that need a few weeks of family time to find out who they are. While David and his family live mostly in London, his parents live in Suffolk with lots of land, so the entire Gandy clan works together to measure each dog's needs – do they need more rural walking, a large group, or could they handle it? City life? – before they are rehomed permanently.

"Some of them belonged to lonely people who died," he explains. "When we got Dora, we didn't know exactly what breed or how old she was, but she had a nice temperament. She was just afraid of many things." After 14 days, the idea was that they would return to Battersea like their predecessors would ", but my friend Steph couldn't stand it and said," No, we'll keep her, she's family now. "& # 39;

Dora, mumbling on his lap, clearly supports this decision, but she may not realize that she was the trigger for her new people to change their lives. This is because after 15 years as Britain's most successful male model, David had reached a moment in his life when he wanted to take stock and he admits that Dora could have been the turning point.

David says: "When we got Dora, we didn't know exactly what breed or how old she was, but she had a nice temperament. She was just afraid of many things."

David says: "When we got Dora, we didn't know exactly what breed or how old she was, but she had a nice temperament. She was just afraid of many things."

David was something of a serial monogamist (Mollie King of The Saturdays was a former friend) and met his match when mutual friends introduced him to Stephanie Mendoros, a family lawyer. She moved in with him pretty quickly; Within a year they had dedicated themselves to the dog and two years later their baby Matilda was born last December. David will turn 40 next year and says he has stopped tirelessly going to work because he has deliberately built a business empire that allows him to step down and be present for his family. The underwear lines he and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley created for Marks & Spencer are worth £ 20m and he's constantly working on other things.

"I will never compare a dog to a child," he says with a smile, "but a dog is a good starter because of its responsibility." You have to be there for them, feed them, take care of them; You can't stay outside all night. This is a responsibility, and when we had Dora, our lifestyle changed, so a baby was the next step. Of course parenting is a bit of a shock for everyone, but we were prepared for it – and Matilda is a great baby. "

When David drove his new family home from the hospital, he drove Dora to the car to meet the newborn so they could enter the house together. When a diaper needs to be changed, it is also invited upstairs, where it gets a treat from a glass next to the changing table. "She won't be forgotten below, she's part of the gang, so don't be jealous."

Jumper, Private White VC. "I will never compare a dog to a child," says David with a smile, "but a dog is a good starter because of the responsibility."

Jumper, Private White VC. "I will never compare a dog to a child," says David with a smile, "but a dog is a good starter because of the responsibility."

Although the couple recently bought a beautiful old house in the Cotswolds, they are mostly in their town house in London's Fulham district, where David walks in the morning with Matilda on her chest and Dora trotting next to them – and so far they are Things went pretty smoothly. Well, except for the day the baby had a screaming breakdown in public and people started to stare. After checking all the obvious things ("it wasn't her diaper, she wasn't hungry"), he couldn't figure out what was wrong with her until he realized that he had wrapped her up so many layers "that she was." was really, really hot! " I assure him that all new parents have done the same.

When I say how nice it will be for his daughter to grow up next to her dog, he replies: "Exactly – that was the whole intention." As a child, David grew up in a loving, very natural family in Billericay, Essex, with enterprising people Parents Brenda and Chris, who owned real estate and freight companies. He attended local state schools, but felt socially isolated, which he believed was due to the fact that he was bullied because he was slightly overweight. The two cocker spaniels of his family therefore provided him with an important company. When I say something about him not being one of those Waif-like male models, he laughs and says "clearly" and points to his body, almost as if he still sees himself carrying extra pounds, although it is only now are still muscles.

David with partner Stephanie

David with partner Stephanie

David often mentions his parents – there seems to have been wildlife viewing somewhere in the world on every childhood vacation. When he was 17 and got his first dilapidated car, I said to my father: "Look, could I have the money for auto parts and skip the vacation?" He replied, "Oh, you no longer have to go on vacation with us – but don't think for a minute that I will pay for your car." David laughs, but his father's attitude is clear has helped create a work ethic, which has only increased over the years. He was also secretly relieved to join them on this holiday because they were visiting the Alaskan brown bears, something he could only rave about recently – 20 years later – when he met Sir David Attenborough.

A dog is a good starter for a family – you can't stay out all night

I can imagine that David is embarrassed when I ask why he was more successful than other male models, but he takes it pretty seriously because he is so interested in the business side of things. He says that when young men find their way into the fashion industry, they often see modeling as a springboard. You know, "I can do that for a few years, then maybe go into acting or music or something else." While I thought, "Wait a minute, there's something there."

Modeling is one of the few industries in which women learn men, and he jokes that this can be a bit amusing, "at a time when everyone is talking about equality and I think (he makes a little comedy wave):" Hi! "(In fact, he believes Britain has done fairly well for equality," since we have a prime minister, a police chief, and a queen. ") David believes that the reason why leading female models get paid more than their male counterparts is because they're smart enough to develop strategies. When he was younger he studied their ways. I spoke to Gisele, looked at the platforms of Christy Turlington, Cindy Crawford and said, "How did you do it? you got where you are? "" He emphasizes the difference between the desire for success and the desire for fame, and that people are often surprised at how business-minded he is. "Sometimes it is difficult to go to a meeting and to have the feeling that you have to overcome some obstacles because you are a model. You have to prove yourself all the time, "But when do you not have to prove yourself in life?"

It was Dolce & Gabbana that really put David on the map in 2006, choosing his muscular 6 foot 3 inch physique at a time when male waifs were more common in fashion. In 2007, they put him in tight swimming trunks on an Italian beach and let Mario Testino shoot them for advertising their light blue fragrance. The ad landed on a 50-foot billboard in New York's Times Square and caused a stir.

"I always wanted to create something iconic, and then light blue happened – I didn't go to newspapers that called paparazzi outside from anyone who knew me outside of the fashion industry. I knew I had to build on that. I made a coffee table book with Dolce & Gabbana, then I said I wanted my own clothing line, so I started talking to brands. Life is a bit like a chess game, ”he muses. "How do you know what you want to achieve or where you want to go when you have no goal?"

Private white VC. Shirt, Berena Venezia. Pants, Edward Sexton. Sunglasses, ray ban. Boots, George Cleverley

Private white VC. Shirt, Berena Venezia. Pants, Edward Sexton. Sunglasses, ray ban. Boots, George Cleverley

If I were in government, I would make David Gandy Tsar of a Business Task Force – the man is absolutely focused on it. He clearly doesn't have a truck with ditherers. "Dithering bothers me; It is a pet hatred. I always say, "Let's try and see if it works" or "Right, I'm done with it, let's go to the next step." I am constantly on the rise and want to achieve something. "Although he is the first to admit that" it can sometimes be a bit irritating for people around me. They say, "Can't you have 15 projects on the go at the same time?"

I wonder how he has the time. It turns out that he is not sleeping. "I always saw sleep as a waste. I want to keep going, so I want to go to bed very late and I like the time when everyone else is in bed and the phone stops ringing. I am a loner sometimes and I enjoy it. But when I started going out with Steph, she said, "You have this other life when I sleep." It would come down and the living room furniture would be moved around. Or we would have talked about a vacation and then she would find out that I had booked it. She would say, "When did you do that?" and I would say, "Oh, two, three in the morning."

His philanthropic work includes the partial funding of a mentoring program at his old elementary and secondary schools in Essex, which is carried out by the charity Achievement for All. He says that he certainly didn't fly through school and had support, so children whose background or circumstances may limit their performance are encouraged all the way.

Crew Neck, Private White VC. Jogger, David Gandy for autograph at Marks & Spencer

Crew Neck, Private White VC. Jogger, David Gandy for autograph at Marks & Spencer

T-shirt, David Gandy for autograph at Marks & Spencer. Jogger, Mr. P.

T-shirt, David Gandy for autograph at Marks & Spencer. Jogger, Mr. P.

He speaks fondly about the man he calls his father-in-law – Steph's father, a Greek entrepreneur who moved to Yorkshire, where Steph grew up "because Margaret Thatcher encouraged people like him to start businesses in the UK". David's older sister Claire lives in Spain, where she brings up her six children ("so I will never complain about having only one baby"). He recently spoke to her about his almost teenage nephew on Instagram, so they agreed he'd make it. David doesn't think it's a great place for teenagers to develop healthy self-esteem, and quotes a poll that shows how teenagers who were banned from all social media for two weeks saw their anxiety levels decrease. With almost a million followers on Instagram, David could probably double that number if he posted videos of his private life and not just photographs – but he refuses. So I ask what he would do if his daughter wanted to be a Kardashian. There is a pause before he answers firmly and unequivocally: "It won't be her."

He adds that it is difficult not to be impressed by the Kardashian clan. "I mean, I would never say anything against her because the daughter is a billionaire." (It refers to news reports that Kylie Jenner, 21, Kim Kardashian's younger sister, recently became the world's youngest billionaire.) How can you argue with that? “I would imagine that easily. "Well," he admits, "because even if you see some of the brilliance of it, it all depends on selling your life." I came into this business to be a success and that brings some fame and recognition with it. You can build on what you want – but my privacy is more important than the money. "

VICTORY! a private tour of Battersea dog home with David Gandy

VICTORY! a private tour of Battersea dog home with David Gandy

YOU offers readers the opportunity to take David on their own tour of Battersea. As an ambassador for the world-famous rescue center, David would like to share his puppy love with a YOU reader and introduce her to the wonderful dogs who are looking for a new home. The winner will also receive a signed photo of David and Dora from our exclusive shoot. Nine runners-up will receive a signed photo. Answer the question and follow the instructions below to take advantage of your chance to win.

question What year was David Gandy born?

HOW TO ENTER

Call 0901 293 5222 and leave your answer and details OR text DOGS, followed by a space, your answer, your name and postal code at 65700 (e.g. DOGS 1928 John Smith W8 5TT).

GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS Texts / calls cost £ 1 plus your standard network fee. All proceeds go to Battersea. The competition ends on Thursday, April 11th, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. The winner must answer their phone if we call or lose the prize on Friday, April 12, 2019 between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. We will try a maximum of three times. The name of the first award winner will be published in the mail of the next week on Sunday. The winners will be chosen at random from all qualified entries. Open to residents of the UK (excluding NI) aged 18 and over. No cash alternative. Date of visit subject to availability by David Gandy. Travel expenses not included. Signed photos are delivered unframed. The full terms and conditions apply – see the "Puzzles" section of Sunday's mail in the main paper

Having said before that he didn't have to get married because having an child with someone is an even greater obligation, I ask if this isn't just a good excuse to avoid it. He smiles and admits, “That could possibly be true – I knew that quote would come back to haunt me. But having a child with someone is really the biggest step you can take. "

He warms up for his topic and wants to explain why people may have the wrong idea about him and marriage. "I don't talk much about Steph and Matilda in public, and people may think I'm not proud of my family because I don't put them on social media." But it's just not true. I am terribly proud of my family and we are ridiculously close. I tell them I'm proud of them. I tell them that I love them. I don't have to do that on the Internet. It is important to me to keep it private. "

David is represented by Select Model Management. He is a Ambassador for Battersea. For more information, see battersea.org.uk

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