Daphne Selfe’s favourite things, from afternoon tea to yoga

The trailblazing fashion model, now 88, spoke to Country Life

At 88, Daphne is one of the oldest professional fashion models in the world and has been gracing the pages of fashion magazines since 1949, when Gilbert Adams discovered her at the age of 21.

Photographed by the likes of Mario Testino and our own Chris Allerton, she has appeared in countless advertising campaigns for leading designers such as Dolce & Gabbana and is a poster girl for older women.

Spreading Christmas cheer to all @models_1uk @chantaldusting ?

A post shared by Daphne Selfe (@daphneselfe) on

Daphne lives in Baldock, Hertfordshire, and her book The Way We Wore is out now.

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Afternoon tea

I love an afternoon tea party, particularly at Brown’s Hotel in London.

Tea was always a treat as a child and it’s a luxury now because I get to indulge in food I wouldn’t usually eat—tea and cake, how wonderful! It’s always a pleasure to be cooked for, but spending time with family and friends is the greatest luxury

Afternoon tea at Brown's Hotel in London


My husband was in the theatre—he was a stage manager for the West End show The King and I when we met—and worked on all the big productions. I still love the theatre and recently saw Nice Fish with Mark Rylance, which was fabulous.

Sitting there waiting for the curtain to go up is the biggest thrill and I try and see something once a fortnight. The musical School of Rock is next on my list, but I should think I’ll need earplugs


I used to ride horses for a living—teaching, training and showing, as well as hunting with the Garth in Berkshire. I worked in Essex and was taught by Vincent Francis (father of the late writer, Dick, who I used to see in the stable yard). Sadly, I don’t ride anymore, but, to keep fit, I do yoga, which Gilbert Adams got me into at the age of 20 and I’ve continued ever since.

It keeps me young and supple and, as I’m too busy to do classes, I tend to do it at home most mornings combined with some ballet or Pilates — it’s so very important to stay active.