Model Lily Cole says ‘she hadn’t read the news’ after wearing burka on instagram

Lily Cole atrracted strong criticism for posing in a burka as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban  (Instagram)
Lily Cole atrracted strong criticism for posing in a burka as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban (Instagram)

Model Lily Cole has apologised for wearing a burka in a post to promote her new book on Instagram.

Cole, 33, said she “had not read the news” when she posted pictures of herself wearing a blue burka and then unveiling her face.

The caption read: “Let’s embrace diversity on every level - biodiversity; cultural diversity; diversity of thinking; diversity of voices; diversity of ideas.”

She has since apologised after Instagram followers chastised her for the “ill-timed” post which case as the Taliban, who force women to wear the religious garment, seized control of Afghanistan.

The now-deleted post was also used to promote her new book Who Cares Wins, about tackling the environmental crisis.

Anjum Peerbacos, co-founder of the Hijabi Half-Hour podcast, told BBC News that the pictures were “disrespectful”.

“It’s not a fashion accessory to be able to be deployed as a publicity stunt.

“I think is abhorrent and really displays to us her level of ignorance with regards to it.”

Others criticised her for “playing dress up” and she would give a platform to actual Muslim women if she truly wanted to embrace diversity.

After deleting the post three days later, Cole wrote: “This week, I posted an old photo of me wearing a burka loaned to me by a friend, as she pointed out I was undermining its original purpose by wearing it with my face exposed, but I understand why the image has upset people and want to sincerely apologise for any offence caused.

“I hadn’t read the news at the time I posted so it was incredibly ill-timed (thank you for pointing that out to me).”

She added that her “heart breaks reading about what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment” and said she was “looking for organisations helping women on the ground I can support”.

The model and actor-turned-activist began her career as a teenager modelling for brands such as Alexander McQueen, Moschino and Chanel, gracing the covers of British and French Vogue.

She has also starred in movies such as 2009’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and The Moth Diaries in 2011, but in recent years has become increasingly involved in environmental and charity initiatives.

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