Everyone knows that beards and gingers are in big business. None more so than the story of a shy insurance man who transformed his life after shedding an incredible seven stone and growing a trendy ginger beard.
Cardiff born 33-year-old Gwilym Pugh was an overweight life insurance salesman who worked from his spare bedroom and piled on weight after suffering from a knee injury.
Now he is an international model working for the likes of GQ and David Beckham with thousands of fans across the world.
Gwilym set up his own insurance business back in 2006 when he was only 21-years-old and his weight quickly shot up to 20 stone.
Speaking to Wales Online, he explained how different his life was back then:
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in uni so I decided to put that off and I ended up working in British Gas and then I started my own financial start up back in 2006 at the age of 21.
At that time I was pretty overweight, working 12 hours a day, plagued with injuries which meant I couldn’t train at all.
The business was doing okay, but I decided I needed to get my life in order and wanted to get healthy again.
Gwilym formed a folk band with a friend and his barber encouraged him to grow some facial fuzz in order to look the part.
Around about the same time I started a band with my friend, Calum Ross, the Magic Rooster Brothers.
We were a folk country band and this was around the time I started to grow a beard, which was suggested by my barber, Joel, who had Slunks in the Morgan Arcade.
He told me if I was playing the guitar in a folk band, I had to have a beard.
Super excited to announce I’m gunna be working with me ol’ mate @davidbeckham again this year on his new grooming brand @house99 exclusive to @harveynicholsmen! Give them a follow to see what’s in store!! . . . . . #house99 #hometoyournextlook #mensgrooming #mensskincare #menstyles #mensfashion #gingerhair #gingerbeard #hawaiianshirt #printshirt #beardstyle #ad #davidbeckham
Enjoying his new beard, the musician decided to change his lifestyle too cleaning up his diet, cutting out takeaways and most importantly quitting his desk job.
This led to Gwilym losing seven stone in the space of five years which he knows had a huge impact on his wellbeing:
It was the best thing for my health as I stopped sitting for nine to 10 hours a day.
I always keep an eye on my steps and aim for a minimum amount every day averaging about 15,000 per day.
Bear in mind the weight loss took around four to five years from my biggest to leanest. Walking and generally trying to be active in some way throughout every day has been key.
London… The capital city of live music ? En route to the @vo5 @nmemagazine awards nomination party earlier this week #NewStylesNowPlaying #vo5nmeawards2018 #BeatHairBoredom #ad . . . . . . . . . . #menshair #hairstylesmen #menshairstyle #gingerhair #gingerbeard #ginger #hairgoals #hairstyles #haircut #menshaircut #london #mensfashion #towerbridge
As he started to shed the weight, Gwilym decided to set up an Instagram account which sent his ginger beard viral online.
Today he is singed with top London agency AMCK Models and has worked on campaigns for Vans, Bud Light, Diesel and is the new ambassador for Beckham’s male grooming brand House 99.
Reflecting on his transformation, Gwilym said:
Having worked in finance for years, the opportunity to work with creative people and travel around the world is amazing. But you forget how nuts it is, it all becomes normal.
I think I’m lucky I got into this profession at the age that I did. I try not to get caught up in it all and my girlfriend helps a great deal with that.
It is an inspiring story.