hanne gaby odiele spent 2018 challenging the gender binary
The model and activist reflects on the past year.
Photos by Inez and Vinoodh, styling by Alastair McKimm
It’s a bit mad that in 2018 we still adhere to a gender binary, isn’t it? Well, intersex model Hanne Gaby Odiele certainly thinks so, and she wants you, me and everyone else to know about it. After publicly coming out as intersex last year, Hanne has dedicated herself in 2018 to being a powerful voice for non-binary youth. “We need to fix the binary,” Hanne told i-D earlier this year. Or you know, just smash it all up and start again.
How would you describe your 2018?
I had another year of personal growth, leaving my 20s behind me.
What were your standout moments and why were they important to you?
There were so many stand out moments for me, but I think speaking at the Teen Vogue summit and Human Rights film festival in Geneva organised by the United Nations were really up there. And organising a protest against intersex genital mutilation in New York with Voices4 and Intersex Justice Project was the highlight. In terms of modelling, being part of the Margiela Mutiny fragrance campaign and walking McQueen again, after many years, were highlights. Oh and of course backpacking through Colombia with my husband and trying Ayahuasca for the first time, which was incredible.
What were your New Year's resolutions for 2018, why did you make them and did you stick to them?
I have been making the same one for years, getting my driving license, but I still can’t find the time for it.
How did you feel back in January 2018?
Focused and centred personality, but anxious when I looked at the political landscape.
This year, you've really used your platform to speak out and create change. What motivated you?
Because I don’t want any young intersex kids go through what I went through as a child. Intersex genital mutilation needs to end now! The binary standard of male/female also needs to be broken. There is still so much work to be done on this.
What changes have you seen in the industry this year?
More diversity in castings here and there, which is good. And some new promising designers and brands, with others just kinda fading away...
What changes would you like the fashion industry to make going forward?
Sustainability. Only make collections when there is inspiration, not because there’s another season. And diversity is beauty so keep showing us more!
What has made you feel most proud this year, and why?
Seeing that so many more young intersex folks are coming out and talking about it, and hearing they were inspired to talk about it because of me. I couldn’t be more proud about that!
How do you feel now, at the end of 2018?
Still focused and centred, quite impressed and emotional now looking back at my year.
What are your hopes for fashion for 2019?
More diversity, more sustainability and creativity, and less fast fashion for the sake of filling a rack.