Begin typing your search...

Glam model’s new app does the ‘impossible’ to inspire women

As a British supermodel and actress, Lily Cole has lived a life of glamour, but it is her new role as a social entrepreneur using technology to do good that she hopes will inspire women.

Glam model’s new app does the ‘impossible’ to inspire women
British supermodel and actress Lily Cole

Scouted on a London street in 2002 at age 14 and featured on the cover of British Vogue at age 16, Cole became a fixture on catwalks and in fashion magazines with her trademark red hair and then in films such as “Snow White and the Huntsman.” But Cole, 28, with a double first degree from Cambridge University, wanted more, so she started tracking the supply chains of fashion companies she was working for, hoping to drive some good.  In 2013, amid a wave of publicity, she founded, a “social giving” website and app where people post money-free requests and offers of assistance.    

The tech startup, part of a growing global trend to build a shared economy, faced some controversy as it emerged that Cole received 200,000 pounds ($248,000 U.S.) of taxpayer funds from the British government for her project that lost money in 2014 and 2015.    

But Cole said Impossible has since evolved and become sustainable, adding a shop selling ethically sourced goods, a magazine and a lab to find innovative ways to create new products and deliver services.    

With a new-look app launched in September and on Android this week called Impossible People, Cole said Impossible is now accessible in more than 120 countries, using the power of technology to create social good.    

“I threw myself into a totally different world, with so many awesome people, and I was so amazed by the impact that technology can have,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation on Tuesday in an interview in Impossible’s central Lisbon office.    

Cole, who was attending Europe’s largest tech event, the Web Summit, in Lisbon, said the use of technology was critical to help build a shared economy. The whole point of Impossible is taking people back to a time when communities thrived and trust played a major part in everyday exchanges, she said.

Visit to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Next Story