“It’s often thought that models have little career longevity. Belgian beauty Hanne Gaby Odiele has dispelled this myth: she has been one of the industry’s most visible faces for almost a decade, racking up high-profile clients including Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs and Versace in the process.
Last week, however, she made headlines for a different reason when she revealed in an interview with Vogue magazine that she was born intersex. Broadly speaking, the term ‘intersex’ refers to a series of conditions which lead to a child being born with a variation in sex anatomy. It’s not particularly rare – it’s estimated that around 2 percent of children are born intersex – yet knowledge and awareness of intersex identities is still disappointingly limited.
Odiele disclosed that she was born with androgen insensitivity syndrome, a condition which meant that, even though she was genetically male in chromosomal terms, her body was resistant to male hormones. She was born with internal testes, no ovaries and no uterus. ‘I will never know how it is to have a period or have a baby,’ she revealed. ‘But I also don’t stand up peeing! I don’t have a penis! I am intersex, but I am much more female. I am not facing a biological clock – I have no clock!’”