Laela Wilding, 52, daughter of Taylor's son Michael Wilding, Jr., is a spitting image of her grandmother.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 15, 2022. It has since been updated.
Elizabeth Taylor needs no introduction. The bright-eyed, London-born actress was a Hollywood movie icon as well as a savvy businesswoman, and a heartfelt humanitarian. To her family, she was also a doting grandmother.
Her first grandchild, Laela Wilding, who was born in 1971 told Art & Understanding Magazine that her grandmother "didn't play favorites"—all grandkids were loved by Taylor equally.
Laela Wilding, daughter of Taylor's son Michael Wilding, Jr., is a spitting image of her grandmother. The now 52-year-old fondly remembers her grandmother cutting her hair. "She was very artistic. She had a great eye," Laela explained, adding that she also enjoyed helping with makeup and teaching her all about fashion and styling.
"She once said to me, 'If you've got it, flaunt it.'"
Elizabeth Taylor‘s grandchildren, step-daughter, and great-grandson.— allison.✨ (@AlliApplebum) July 1, 2021
Eliza Carson, Kate Burton, Laela Wilding, Finn McMurray, Quinn Tivey, Tarquin Wilding, Naomi Wilding, and Rhys Tivey. pic.twitter.com/3UUi7biMZt
It's hard to deny that the two look strikingly similar too.
Laela currently lives with her family and works as a graphic designer in Portland, Oregon. She has not just helped carry on her grandmother's good looks but also her humanitarian efforts.
Inspired by her late famous grandmother, Laela works with the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation and serves on the board of directors at Our House of Portland, which provides health care, housing, and other vital services to low-income HIV+ people.
On the official website, she says, "I am deeply inspired by the following quote, from my grandmother’s acceptance speech for the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award (1993), reminding us all to be as compassionate and loving as we can be, and to bravely stand up for others when needed: 'I call upon you to draw from the depths of your being to prove that we are a human race. To prove that our love outweighs our need to hate. That our compassion is more compelling than our need to blame. That our sensitivity to those in need is stronger than our greed. That our ability to reason overcomes our fear. And that at the end of each of our lives, we can look back and be proud that we have treated others with the kindness, dignity, and respect that every human being deserves.'"
Laela has continued to share Taylor's legacy with the rest of the world. “Her heart was huge. She had such a huge impact with her activism and she was so full of life and love. She made a big impact on us. Continuing her legacy is important to us,” Wilding told PEOPLE. “She really wanted to break down stigma. She was independent and strong and courageous and did things for others in big ways and small.”
Speaking of the times they spent together as a family she shared, “I remember how we’d lay on the bed in the bedroom and just talk. Just snuggling and chatting and eating lunch and watching movies. We’d take a trip to the jewelry closet and she’d open up the drawers and talk about the pieces, and who gave them to her. We’d hang out and put lipstick on – she had all the colors. We’d chat about boys and dating and I would paint my toenails. She wanted to know what was going on in our lives. My sister [Naomi Wilding] lived with her for a while and Grandma always wanted to see our outfits and she’d say ‘Try those earrings on’ or ‘Put these on for tonight.’ ”
“Family was number one for her,” she added. “We had a family where we all loved one another – her children and her grandchildren and it comes from her desire to bring us all together.”
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Photo: Baron/Hulton Archive ; (R) www.elizabethtayloraidsfoundation.org