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.