After coming out as intersex in January 2017, Hanne Gaby Odiele became the most high-profile person to disclose her diagnosis and tell her story publicly. She has used her model status as a platform for raising awareness about intersex human rights and speaking out against traumatic surgeries often performed on young intersex children, partnering with non-profit organisation interACT.
Odiele has long been a favourite both on and off the runway, bringing a cool-girl sensibility to modelling since the mid-aughts. Her career began when she was scouted by an agent during a rock festival in her hometown of Kortrijk, Finland. She signed with Supreme Management, and went on to make her catwalk debut at the Spring /Summer 2006 Marc by Marc Jacobs , Rodarte, Ruffian, and Thakoon shows during New York Fashion Week.
Her career quickly took off, and very soon she was walking for the likes of Chanel, Louis Vuitton , Givenchy and Dries Van Noten , and starring in campaigns for Topshop, Vera Wang , Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti , Balenciaga and Mulberry. In 2009, she was cast in Alexander Wang ’s Autumn/Winter show; the collaboration was the start of a close personal friendship and professional relationship between the two.
In July 2016 Odiele married model John Swiatek. She wore Balenciaga by Alexander Wang — which she unconventionally teamed with white trousers and a white cape — and had models Anna Ewers , Martha Hunt, Kasia Struss and Jacquelyn Jablonski as bridesmaids.