A fine mixture of innocence and maturity flows from Ayla as she walks us through her relationship with food. We had started the questioning numb in anticipation of the calorie counting to begin, but with a broad, almost self-incriminating smile, Ayla delivers us something very different. ‘Weirdly once I started taking off my clothes, I fell in love with my body more and more and now, even though I’m older, a bit chubbier, I’m as confident as ever. I no longer look at magazines and think ‘wow if only I looked like that’, because wow I am that girl, these girls look exactly the same, I know they’re retouched, it’s good lighting, they suck in.’

Ayla bravely sidesteps the preconceptions that befall a commercial model, food is more a pleasure than a pain for her, as she bravely lunges over the fear of gathering fat for that gratifying meal. Yes, she’s aware her calorie intake is, for the majority of the time, balanced against exercise but is also unbashful about the enjoyment she takes from a good meal. ‘It brings joy to my life, it’s something I really enjoy doing, I look forward to like, every meal I have and I’m always thinking about my next meal.’ It was a little sickening hearing such a nymph of a figure so excited about food but thankfully she did shed a tinge of guilt for not cooking more, unfortunately, it quickly waned as she poured over her naughty habits, her careless outings. ‘When I’m touring on the road for 5 or 7 days, it’s really compromised. I might go a whole day without food and have to then have a massive takeaway in the evening.’ Sure she boasts a high metabolism, yes she’s an active bunny but did she need to boast such an appetite?

‘I like fast food, so I like KFC, McDonald’s, Burger King. I like coffees, I’ll go and buy a whipped latte or whatever in a morning, I kinda see that as a treat. I’m trying to think of what else… I do feel a little bad when I don’t cook for myself when I don’t eat a lot for 6, 7 hours because I’m busy and then just go and eat a lot at McDonald’s to fill up.’ Bah, those pesky fast food outlets, so convenient, so speedy. Ayla slumped for a moment, hearing her own words clatter around the room then re-emerged with reasoning. ‘I became independent when I was really young. I moved out of my home when I was fifteen. And at the time which was like, how old am I now, eight years ago they were like 11p for a pack of noodles. It was amazing.’

As she corrected her thick rimmed glasses and beamed, dispelling any twist of Oliver in her offerings, Ayla pressed onto explain the roots of her eating habits. ‘There was a point in my life when I just lived off dried noodles and canned sweetcorn. I used to feel sad because I’d go into a restaurant and always get the cheapest thing off the menu because I couldn’t afford it.’ Ah-ha! We begin to understand that coming from a place where food was far from a luxury had indeed fed her new found appetite. ‘Whereas now maybe I love going to restaurants even more so because of that. You know I can pick anything I want on the menu now.’ Ayla in her own way was gorging out because in the past she has feasted for so little and isn’t that the truth. After all, we can only really enjoy food when the gut is full, when we’re genuinely hungry we do just eat.



Words on Misshapen Vegetables, featuring Ayla