British supermodel Lily Cole comes out as queer: ‘I feel the need to acknowledge that I am not straight’

Lily Cole has come out as “queer”. The British supermodel has said she sees other labels of sexuality as “quite rigid”.

According to an Independent report, the 33-year-old made the revelation during an interview with the Sunday Times Style, wherein the mother-of-one discussed her debut book Who Cares Wins, and the choice of the word ‘queer’ that allows her to “be open” while also having a private life.

Per the report, the model was quoted as saying: “I like that word [queer] because of its openness, because I think all those boundaries are quite rigid. I have lots of friends who identify as bisexual, lesbian or whatever, who also identify as queer.

“I’ve always been quite private about my private life, consciously, and I want to continue to be, so I don’t feel the need to be explicit. At the same time I feel the need to acknowledge that I am not straight.”

The Independent report also states that this is not the first time Cole has spoken about her sexuality. She had touched upon the topic in Who Cares Wins, while also discussing the ‘privilege’ of being born in the UK. “If I were living in another country today, my queerness would be a crime. Had my mixed-race daughter been born in a different country, she would have been a crime,” she said.

Cole and her partner Kwame Ferreira welcomed their daughter Wylde Cole Ferreira in 2015.

In her interview with Sunday Times Style, the model also talked about the duality of the modelling world, saying that while the industry empowers women, it also imposes impossible standards of beauty .

“I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I feel that fashion is one of the only industries where women are more empowered than men — female models are paid more than male models, the consumers are predominantly female, it is a very female-centric industry. And so, in a strange way, I felt very empowered. That being said, yes, there were photographers who were inappropriate. I didn’t really understand that or recognise that at the time, and I can recognise that now,” she was quoted as saying, referring to when a casting director had commented on her “puppy fat”.

The model was scouted when she was all of 14, and had appeared on the cover of British Vogue two years later.