High profile fashion model Hanne Gaby Odiele has just told the world that she is intersex.
Biologically speaking, this means she was born with reproductive or sexual anatomy and/or a chromosome pattern that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. It’s thought that up to 1.7% of the world’s population has intersex traits – about the same percentage of people born with red hair.
“It’s very important to me in my life right now to break the taboo,” Odiele told USA Today. “At this point, in this day and age, it should be perfectly all right to talk about this.”
The model, who has starred in campaigns for Dior, Alexander Wang, Mulberry, Balenciaga and walked the runway for huge fashion houses including Chanel, Givenchy and Prada, is one of the first high-profile people to disclose her intersex status.
Odiele’s husband, John Swiatek, also a model, told USA Today he was “incredibly proud of his wife” for speaking out. He added: “I am very impressed with her decision to advocate for intersex children in order to give them an opportunity to make up their own minds about their bodies.”
We hope that Odiele’s bravery will inspire others to share their stories and lead to an increase in understanding of intersex conditions in the fashion industry and beyond!
Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar