Journey of an Overweight Businessman Who Became a Top Model

Gwilym Pugh is just a simple man, living a simple life in Cardiff, Wales. With his business booming, 280-pound Pugh is sitting 9-10 hours behind his desk, and he can’t find a motivation to shed some weight. However, after being in a band and follow his barber’s advice to grow a beard, he got the push he needed.


Before he became a top model, where he modeled alongside with David Beckham, Pugh was an overweight, shy and insecure. Because of his work, mostly sitting behind the desk, he became unaware of his body shape. But he never expected to be an in-demand model in 10 years.

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

Overworked and overweight.

Instead of studying in college, he stayed in Cardiff and began working for British Gas. He began working, snacking all day and ordering take-out at night.

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

Plagued with injuries.

“I was pretty overweight, working 12 hours a day, plagued with injuries which meant I couldn’t train at all,” Pugh recalled about his early 20s. While Pugh played basketball for an under-16 Welsh team, he gained many injuries.

Play hard, work harder.

Even if his insurance business is booming, his personal life is a complete opposite. The hard-working man, spending most of his days sitting and alone in his spare bedroom, thought he needed his life back.

The push.

One day, the now 26-year-old business man decided to put his details into a program that gave life insurance quotes based on an individual’s health. The result was inevitably not ideal, “I was statistically at a higher risk of death than an average person,” he said. “It wasn’t someone’s opinion – it was assessed fairly. It was a real kick up the a—.” At 280 pounds, this was the push Pugh needed.

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

Do right, eat right.

Finally, he decided to eat mindfully, replacing his numerous take-out meals with healthier options. He said, “It was the best thing for my health, as I stopped sitting for 9-10 hours a day.”

Step by step.

He said, “I always keep an eye on my steps and aim for a minimum amount every day averaging about 15,000 per day… Walking and generally trying to be active in some way throughout every day has been key.”Like many diets, he reported it was “a lot of trial and error.”

Doing his fit bit.

Pugh made sure he was doing his bit in keeping fit. The expert-recommended number of steps per day is 10,000, making Pugh’s 15,000 steps a great start. At 280 pounds overweight, Pugh was at risk of many health problems. That’s why, the 10,000 steps are efficient for his weight loss.

Photo Credit: Brides Blush


The irony is, Pugh was the co-founder of a life insurance company, but he wasn’t fit for the company after filling out the life insurance assessment. “I had actually ran my stats through one of our life insurance systems and saw that I was statistically at a higher risk of death than an average person.”

Fitness planning.

He was able to lose pounds quickly as he was focus on eating healthy foods. Pugh was not a huge follower of social media and was not influenced by many of the diets regimes that celebrities promote, he just wanted to get healthy.

Weight loss.

Pugh was not happy about his life, he says, “I felt I was at a fork in the road. Either I carry on and carry on deteriorating or do something about it.”He says that the key for his weight loss was “walking and generally trying to be active in some way throughout every day.”

Magic rooster brothers.

In 2013, Pugh lost 91 lbs because of his new lifestyle. Then after gaining confidence, he decided to start a folk-country band with a former colleague, Calum Ross. When Pugh thought himself how to play the guitar and they formed the Magic Rooster Brothers. 

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

The beard.

His confidence isn’t complete yet. But, one time, when he sat down with his barber, he advice Pugh to grow a beard. Apparently, when you are a part of a folk band, you should have a beard.

Hipster beard.

Hipster beard was a trend in 2013. You know what, the barber was right!


While Pugh was losing weight, he also grew his beard. Then, he decided to join Instagram. “I started using Instagram as a way of social networking and growing my profile and that of the band,” he said.

The start.

While promoting his band, he also shared his gradual transformation on Instagram. Look how big the difference is!

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

Model request.

Apparently, him, growing a beard and losing weight opened a door for him. He got requests for modeling! “I thought: ‘I’ll send them a picture. Why not?’ I didn’t tell a soul because I thought people would tease me.”He recalled his experience, “It was the most painful, awkward and weird situation ever.” But, this is just the first.

Confidence booster.

After he started his modeling career, he got a lot of attention in Instagram. “It was there I was spotted and shortly after chosen to be the face of Nathan Palmer’s 2015 collection – which gave me a massive boost in confidence.” Now, the overweight business became an in-demand model.

Ginger power.

Being ginger made him receive overflowing requests. Then, when he moved to London, he was recruited by top London agency AMCK Models. He said, “There was this guy sort of circling us, and I thought: ‘What’s his deal?’ He came up and introduced himself, and ended up signing me.”

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

Springboard to his career.

Pugh had the opportunity to be photographed for a coffee table book, 100 Beards and became a part of the Red Hot Photography project. Both was a spring-board to his career. He since worked on campaigns for Vans, Bud Light, and Diesel. He has walked on Fashion Week and appeared in magazines like GQ. However, there is a modeling gig that really impacted his whole career.

Modeling with Beckham.

Pugh is now an ambassador for Beckham’s male grooming brand, House 99. This really put Pugh on the mark and he now claims the pair are “acquaintances.” Pugh posted a picture of the pair to his Instagram with the caption, “Blue steel… Who did it best?” Just wait until you see the final transformation!

Completely different person.

The overweight businessman now became an in-demand model, longhaired, bearded and with slender body. Looking back at his old photos, Pugh said, “I’m actually very grateful I looked so bad in that old photo.”

Photo Credit: Brides Blush

Final transformation.

“The highlights have been the travel and interesting creative people I’ve had the chance to work with.”Even if Pugh have a new lifestyle, his girlfriend keeps him grounded. After press were able to pick up his before and after pictures, Pugh’s story has gone viral. But for him, it was a reminder how much his life changed. Although, there are negative comments, he says, “I think it’s good and it’s honest.”

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