Lily Cole says getting mocked for her red hair is not racism, per se, but asserts it is very damaging to be insulted for the things you are born with.

Cole is many things: an actress, a model, and a tech entrepreneur – she is also a redhead, and this is has been the source of much grief for the 32-year-old.

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Cole recently detailed how much abuse she suffered for her red-locks before signing with Storm modelling agency. Cole compared the bullying she experienced to racism in a new BBC interview, via DailyMail.

“What are the reason that kids are bullied? It’s because they’re different,” she told poet laureate, Simon Armitage, on his BBC podcast. “On a surface level, it was mostly because I had red hair. And at that time in England – and I still think it exists as a problem – being ginger was a common kind of slur.”

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“I think it’s really problematic because it’s the kind of slur that’s largely overlooked by teachers because it’s not really politically incorrect,” Cole expressed. “It’s not a racial slur but it’s also not dissimilar because it’s something a child can’t change about themselves, short of dyeing their hair.”

Cole went on to have a supremely successful modelling career after signing with Storm in 2003. She landed her first Vogue cover at age 16.