A chance encounter began her modelling career when she was fourteen. She was walking through the streets of Soho after a hamburger with friends when scout-turned actor Benjamin Hart approached her.
Lily ran, fearing she was being chased by 'some dodgey guy' but after being asked if she considered modelling she accepted and was signed on with Storm Models, the mother agency of supermodels such as Kate Moss and Cindy Crawford.
Lily's big break came almost immediately in 2003 when she caught the eye of photographer Steven Meisel who was captivated by Lily's long limbs, porcelain skin and fiery red hair. It was on that photoshoot, her first 'only girl' story for Italian Vogue that Lily was catapulted into the spotlight as one of the leading new faces of the year.
Since then, Lily has worked with many of the industries most noted photographers such as Craig McDean, Vincent Peters, Nick Knight, Paolo Roversi, Solve Sundsbo, Tim Walker, Juergen Teller, David Baily, Miles Aldrige, Arthur Elgort, Inez Van Lamsweerde, Vindooth Matadin and Irving Penn.
She is featured regularly in top fashion magazines such as Vogue (American, Italian, British, Japanese and Korean), Numero, 10, Citizen K, and V. She has also appeared on the cover of Numero and twice for British Vogue.
In November of 2004, the British Fashion Awards named Lily 'Model of the Year'. In addition, Lily has starred in numberous ad campaigns for such renowed designers as Prada, Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Hermes, Moschino, Longchamp, Cacheral, Topshop, Anna Sui Cosmetics, De Beers, as well as being the face for Moschino's perfume 'I Love Love.'
She is a catwalk favourite on the international runway circuit for top fashion houses and has worked for; Chanel, Christian Lacroix, Hermes, Moschino, Anna Sui, Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Louis Vuitton, Giles Deacon and Julien Macdonald.
As one of the top models in the industry Lily is part of the string of 'doll-faced' models such as Gemma Ward, Heather Marks and Lisa Cant.
Despite being in such high demand, Lily's education remains a top priority for her so she takes only a hand-picked selection of jobs so that she can focus on her education. She achieved straight A's in all of her A-level examination in English, History, Drama, Philosophy and Ethics and wishes to study Politics at University.
Recently, Lily Cole has been picked to star in Phantasmagoria, an adaptation of the Alice In Wonderland stories by Lewis Carroll, which will be directed by rock star Marilyn Manson.