Lily Cole (born May 19, 1988) is an English supermodel and actress.
Cole was born in Torquay, England, and raised in London with her two siblings. A chance encounter began her modelling career when she was fourteen. She was walking through the streets of Soho after a hamburger with friends when scout-turned actor Benjamin Hart approached her. Cole ran, fearing she was being chased by 'some dodgy guy' but after being asked to consider modelling, she accepted and was signed on with Storm Models, the mother agency of supermodels such as Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford.
Cole's big break came in 2003 when she caught photographer Steven Meisel's eye. It was on that photoshoot, her first 'only girl' story for Italian Vogue, that Cole was catapulted into the spotlight as one of the leading new faces of the year. Since then, Cole has worked with many other prominent photographers, including Craig McDean, Nick Knight, Juergen Teller, Arthur Elgort, and Irving Penn.
Cole is featured in top fashion magazines such as Vogue (American, Italian, British, Japanese and Korean), Citizen K, and V. She has also appeared on the cover of Numéro and three for British Vogue. In November 2004, the British Fashion Awards named her 'Model of the Year'. Additionally, Cole has appeared in advertising campaigns for designers such as Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Hermès, Longchamp, Cacharel, Topshop, and Anna Sui Cosmetics, as well as being the face for Moschino's perfume 'I Love Love.'
She is a common sight on the catwalks of the international runway circuit and has walked many top shows—Chanel, DKNY, Jean Paul Gaultier, Versace, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, and Louis Vuitton, to name a few. In addition to modeling for top fashion designers, her friend-list includes Philip Colbert and fellow models Gemma Ward and Erin O'Connor.
Cole was announced as the follow-up model for Accessorize, taking the place of model Claudia Schiffer. Cole also designed a line of handbags for the collection. Cole will be an additional face for cosmetics Rimmel London, along with Kate Moss, Cheryl Cole, as well as Tiffany & Co. She is now one of the models in the Marks and Spencer clothes advertising campaign, becoming the youngest model to ever do a campaign for the line. As part of the deal Cole will be the exclusive face of the M&S Limited Collection.
Cole was nominated for the British Fashion Awards for 'Model of the Year' in 2007 for the second time, but the award was given to Agyness Deyn.
Cole was listed on the Sunday Times Rich List in 2008 with an estimated net worth of £6 million. She was ranked 77th richest young person in Britain.
In October 2008 Cole appeared nude in and on the front cover of the French edition of Playboy. Lily's Playboy shoot was inspired by the cover of French musician Serge Gainsbourg's 1971 album "Histoire de Melody Nelson". Cole is photographed holding a teddy bear, wearing nothing but a pair of white socks. The shoot was controversial, with calls for Cole to be dropped from her Marks and Spencer contract. Marks and Spencer stated though that it will still use Lily, arguing she "is a popular, high profile, model who is very much in demand, and this is one of the key reasons why we have chosen to work with her." A spokesperson for the label insisted, "It's entirely her own choice as to what other work she accepts and we would not wish to interfere with her career."Cole was also photographed fully naked for Paradis magazine.
In February 2006, Indiewire.com broke the news that Marilyn Manson planned to star Cole in his upcoming movie Phantasmagoria: The Visions of Lewis Carroll as Alice.Shorts from the movie have been featured on his website and a feature length film is also planned.
In April 2007, it was announced that she would play the role of Polly, the geek, in the new St. Trinian's film, alongside Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Jodie Whittaker and Stephen Fry.
Cole has also played the role of Valentina in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, directed by Terry Gilliam and scripted by Gilliam and his regular writing partner Charles McKeown. Co-stars included Heath Ledger, Colin Farrell, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Depp, Tom Waits, and Verne Troyer. The film is due to release in 2009. She also was featured in the New York Times online film series T Takes.
Cole also appeared as a celebrity supermodel in the new film Rage.
She appeared in the video for Girls Aloud and Sugababes' cover of "Walk This Way" in aid of comic relief. Cole also starred in Primal Scream's video Can’t Go Back.
Despite her successful modelling career, Cole retains a commitment to her education, achieving As in her A-level examinations in English, Politics, Drama, History, and Philosophy and Ethics at Latymer Upper School. Before that she attended the primary school, Hallfield School. (Bayswater,London) and The St Marylebone Secondary School. She gained a place to read Social and Political Sciences at King's College, Cambridge, but deferred entry until 2007 and then 2008. Cole now reads History of Art (rather than Social and Political Sciences, as previously expected), having commenced in the Michaelmas term, 2008. At the end of her first year Cole got a first class in her exams.
Cole is an Ambassador for Global Angels Children's Charity that helps unfortunate children around the world. The organisation uses celebrity concerts, powerful documentaries, and partnerships within the business world, that will increase a vast resource of professionals, volunteers, and financial support. Cole also supports the organisation WaterAid which use practical solutions to provide safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to the world's poorest people. Cole also supports the Environmental Justice Foundation a UK based NGO working internationally whose objective is to ‘Protect People and Planet’ by resolving environmental destruction and associated abuses of basic human rights . Most recently Cole has put a plaster cast bust of her torso on the auction site eBay to raise money for Comic Relief, an organisation that uses comedy to raise money for charities. Cole has modelled a T-shirt with the slogan "Save the Future" to fight child labour in the fashion industry for the Environmental Justice Foundation.
Cole is an ally for Western Shoshone an environmental organization. They specialize in working to halt gold and diamond mining, which is alleged to displace indigenous peoples worldwide and alleged to create excessive amounts of mining waste and toxins. After some public exposure, with the pressure of organizations like Survival International, Cole declined to be in any further De Beers jewellery campaigns,along with models Iman and Erin O'Connor, activist Gloria Steinem, and actress Julie Christie. Recently, however, she has been on the cover of and featured in a spread of a magazine whose issue was entitled 'Lily'. In it, she is only wearing diamonds.
She has been seen wearing the £5 eco-friendly Anya Hindmarch handbag with the slogan "I'm Not A Plastic Bag".
She wrote the foreword for Tamsin Blanchard's book Green Is The New Black.