a model life

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She has a ca­reer as var­ied

as it is ac­com­plished, but what re­ally pow­ers Lily Cole through her

world? The model-turned-ac­tress and en­tre­pre­neur re­veals all, courtesy


mid­way into con­ver­sa­tion with Lily Cole – for­mer model, ac­tress, so­cial en­tre­pre­neur, writer, di­rec­tor (the list goes on) – she men­tions a fa­mous quote by play­wright Sa­muel Beck­ett: ‘Ever failed. No mat­ter. Try again. Fail again. Fail bet­ter.’ It’s an apt ref­er­ence for some­one who, on pa­per at least, seems to have no fear – of fail­ure or any­thing else.

She laughs. ‘I gen­er­ally try not to be lim­ited by fear. I mean, there are some types of fear you def­i­nitely have to avoid – don’t jump in a fire, right? – but emo­tional fear; fear of do­ing some­thing that’s chal­leng­ing? If I’m scared of it, it al­most makes me think I should do it, be­cause I know I’m only go­ing to over­come that fear by try­ing.’

Which brings us neatly to that quote: Cole’s point be­ing that ‘if you don’t see [fail­ure] as an end but as part of the process it should help you grow’.

As you’ve likely gath­ered, Cole has a wise head for one of her rel­a­tively ten­der years. At just 29, she has al­ready tried, achieved (Tried again. Achieved bet­ter), more than many do in a life­time. What drives her to fol­low new paths?

‘It’s a mix of things,’ she says af­ter a pause, not­ing that she’s been ‘for­tu­nate enough to have lots of op­por­tu­ni­ties in my life’. That said, ‘Some de­ci­sions have been easy, some harder. To go back to univer­sity was a hard one.’ (Af­ter de­fer­ring for two years Cole fa­mously turned her back on an as­cen­dant film ca­reer to at­tend King’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge in 2008). ‘But again, it felt like a re­ally pow­er­ful op­por­tu­nity that I would learn a lot from, even if I didn’t quite know what at the time. One thing just leads to an­other.’

There is no pri­mary pas­sion, Cole notes when asked about the breadth and va­ri­ety of her CV. For her it’s more about be­ing able to ex­plore her cre­ativ­ity, wher­ever that might take her. Among the many projects she con­tin­ues to jug­gle, from Im­pos­si­ble.com — the so­cial im­pact tech com­pany she es­tab­lished in 2014 to en­cour­age a gift-econ­omy cul­ture — to her most re­cent film role in in­die flick Orion, Cole is now also try­ing her hand at screen­writ­ing.

‘I might not do any­thing with them,’ she caveats quickly of her scripts-in-wait­ing. ‘I’ve never writ­ten a screen­play be­fore and I might de­cide I’m bet­ter off to leave that job to other peo­ple.’ She laughs, but based on pre­vi­ous form, it’s prob­a­bly only a mat­ter of time. On­wards and up­wards!

‘I try not to be lim­ited by fear. If I’m scared of it, it makes me think I should do it be­cause I’m only go­ing

to over­come that by try­ing’

ELLE and Dyson Supersonic™ spent a day with Lily in her na­tive Lon­don. Watch the video at elleuk.com/ lily­cole The DYSON SUPERSONIC™ hairdryer (£299.99) was fêted as a gamechanger upon re­lease last year. Find out more and shop it at dyson.co.uk

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