It is not lazy to describe a beautiful woman as an “angel” if that happens to be her actual job title.
And for the last three years, Lily Aldridge has been just that – a Victoria’s Secret Angel, one of that elite band of prepossessing supergirls who represent the ultimate in bombshell beauty, as defined by an American mass-market lingerie brand. As the photos on these pages demonstrate, it doesn’t take a model scout – like the one who spotted Aldridge when she was 14 – to see that she’s got Angel potential.
In person, the 27-year-old California native is equally stunning. When Esquire meets her at the bar in an upscale Mayfair hotel, Aldridge also turns out to be disarmingly polite.
“I absolutely love London,” she twinkles. “I consider it my second home after Nashville. My dad lives here, and we come whenever my husband’s touring Europe.” Her husband of two years is Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill (hence the residence in Tennessee), with whom she has a one-year-old daughter, Dixie. Lily and Caleb make quite the showbiz power couple, but the union of sex symbol and rock’n’roller is in Aldridge’s blood: her father, the British artist Alan Aldridge, is a Sixties mover and shaker who designed album covers for Elton John and The Who, and had illustrations commissioned by The Beatles and The Rolling Stones; her mother, Laura Lyons, was a Seventies Playboy Playmate.
“Yeah! It’s a funny story,” beams Aldridge. “When I was like 10 or 11, I found a copy of Playboy in my dad’s studio, and I ran to tell my mom! I thought it meant he’d had an affair or something! But my mom was amazing about it – she sat me down and explained that she was one of the Playmates. And I thought it was the coolest thing!”
Aldridge is an unflickering beacon of all-American positivity. Her international travel schedule is ridiculous, but she never complains, “I couldn’t. I’ve got my dream job.” Her hours are gruelling, though she manages to ensure her diary meshes with her husband’s: “I made sure I could work from the UK while he was touring here.”
And she still finds the time to be maternal – “Sorry if I kept you, I was putting Dixie down for her nap!” is her opening gambit today. Sex symbol, wife, mother: Aldridge makes this having-it-all business we hear so much about from our own womenfolk look effortless. “I do feel very feminine,” she says, with a smile that could make grown men weep (and women rend their garments).
So, there it is. If Aldridge has a flaw, it’s in her glossy, inaccessible perfection. And then, unbidden, she announces her deep love of Game of Thrones. “I love it – I’m totally into fantasy and sci-fi. The TV show is great, but the books are incredible.”
Frankly, I’m sceptical. This is just one of those things beautiful women are told to say, so it seems like they can relate to the rest of us. Fine, if you’re such a big fan, what’s your favourite House? She pauses for a millisecond before confidently firing back, “The Starks. Definitely. The Lannisters are, like, meh, but the Starks – they’re the ballers of Game of Thrones.”
Oh, Lily. You angel.
Photography: Andrew Woffinden, Styling: Jane Taylor-Hayhurst