Losing 100 Pounds and Growing a Beard Launched This ‘Shy’ Insurance Salesman to the Cover of GQ

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True life transformations are rare, and they typically aren’t easy. Transformation often takes the will to change just about everything in your current life in order to create a better life. But one man did just that. He decided to change his life for the better by losing 100 pounds, becoming one of the most recognized faces in the modeling community.

Gwilym Pugh, who was born in London, was a life insurance salesman who typically sat at his desk anywhere from 9 to 10 hours a day.

Eventually, his sluggish lifestyle and some old medical injuries he’d received¬†throughout the years caught up to him.

“At that time I was pretty overweight, working 12 hours a day, plagued with injuries which meant I couldn’t train at all,” he said. “The business was doing okay, but I decided I needed to get my life in order and wanted to get healthy again.”

Pugh’s barber recommended that since he recently created a folk band with some of his friends that he look the part by growing a beard. The Daily Mail reported Pugh was always self-conscious about his now iconic red facial hair.

Against his better judgment, he listened to his barber. His fire red facial hair is now one of his most recognizable features and helped to define his modeling career. At the same time, Pugh cleaned up his diet and quit his office job.

“It was the best thing for my health as I stopped sitting for nine to 10 hours a day,” he said. Thanks to the never-ending support he received from social media outlets, Pugh was able to get himself into the modeling world.

The 33-year-old has represented brands such as Bud Light and worked with David Beckham’s male grooming brand, House 99. But he catapulted to superstardom when he appeared in GQ magazine.

He now looks forward to waking up every day. “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,” he said.

“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.”