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Lily Cole Is the Newest Model-Slash-Tech Vixen

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Lily Cole. Photo: Getty Images

She’s posed for Karl Lagerfeld, acted with Johnny Depp, starred in a Yeah Yeah Yeahs video, and somehow found time to graduate from Cambridge University with honors. Now, British overachiever Lily Cole is poised to join the ranks of tech vixens like Whitney Wolfe with her new project, Impossible.com.

A social web platform that encourages users to share their time and talents with others, Impossible’s motto is simple: “Give a wish, take a wish.” Members can post what they need—anything from positive energy to Prada pumps—and hashtag their requests. Those following a specific topic—#GoodKarma, perhaps, or #DesignerShoes—will see the link, and if they can help, they will. Likewise, if you’ve got something to give—anything from language lessons to yoga tips—you can offer it up on the site.

Idealistic? Sure. Naive? Maybe. But Cole’s been on quite a tear this month, leading a sold-out panel at SXSW, scoring an Apple store chat with Chelsea Clinton, and—just yesterday—taping a roundtable discussion on Charlie Rose. Oh, and she’s also landed Impossible a featured spot in the iTunes App Store, where her creation claims this week’s “Best New App” spot.

So when Milk Studios invited us to speak with Cole at their Impossible party last night, we zipped right over to meet the model-slash-actress-slash-future-Mark-Zuckerberg.

So, what’s happening today on Impossible.com? Anybody wish for something cool?

This morning, I saw somebody wished for someone to draw them a koala bear. I’m not kidding. What people want is so eclectic and random—like, a koala bear?! That’s wicked! But there’s a lot of practical knowledge being traded, too. There’s a whole thread where people want to learn languages, a whole thread where people ask for all kinds of advice.

There’s a cool thread where people are trading cake recipes.

I think recipe shares are going to become a big thing for Impossible, especially since it doesn’t have to be local—you don’t have to be at someone’s house to share a recipe, you can just do it in an e-mail.

Impossible started as a word-of-mouth thing in London. How will it be different now that it’s open to Americans?

I don’t think it’s necessarily going to be different, just bigger. I think there’s a fundamental humanness about Impossible.com that transcends national boundaries.

This might sound crazy, but are you worried the site’s wish fulfillment premise will attract a lot of people looking for sex?

It doesn’t sound crazy at all. It’s something we thought about in development, definitely. So we do have moderation and we do keep a big eye on it. And we’ve built tools so the community can flag what’s inappropriate. But sex hasn’t really been the issue, at least not yet.

What about Vivienne Westwood?

Is Vivienne Westwood using our site to solicit sex? No! I don’t think she even has an e-mail, to be honest!

No! Is Vivienne Westwood using your site, since you work together so often! I thought maybe she’d have a profile.

[Laughing] Well, you’re right, she should! It would be really cool if Vivienne Westwood started using it. I bet she’d put out her green manifestos and her petitions. That’s what she’d use it for. She’d say, “I’m Vivienne Westwood and I wish for a million people to sign this petition.” And it could be a really good vehicle for that kind of thing!

You said sex isn’t the issue you’re worried about. So what is?

Money! People talk about money more than we’d like. We’re trying to discourage it being about money. The whole point is that instead of buying things for yourself, you’re sharing things with each other. It just speaks to the fact that money is such an omnipresent issue for so many people.

But speaking of money, you told

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