African supermodels


Iman, Somalia, was the first African supermodel. She is married to rock star David Bowie

"My empire is that of love, for I am weak for you, woman," wrote the Senegalese statesman and poet Leopold Sedar Senghor. Here, we celebrate the stunning beauty of supermodels from the vast continent of Africa.


Born: July 25, 1955 in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Career facts: Discovered in Nairobi, Kenya by photographer Peter Beard in 1975. Moved to the United States and received her first 'Vogue' gig in 1976.

Did you know? Iman is married to rock star David Bowie. They have been married since 1992. They live in Manhattan and London.

Quotes: Iman is my dream woman, said Yves Saint Laurent.

Book: Iman has written The Beauty of Color: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color

Waris Dirie

Born: 1965 in Somalia. Waris Dirie has disfigured feet, covered with scars from a nine-day escape across the desert after she ran away from her nomadic family in Somalia to escape a forced marriage.

Career facts: She was discovered by photographer Terence Donovan, who put her on the cover of the 1987 Pirelli calendar. She worked for a number of designers such as Chanel.

Did you know? Dirie fled Somalia at the age of thirteen because her father gave her in marriage to a 61-year-old man in exchange for five camels.

Books: Dirie is a best-selling author. Her superb books include Desert Flower: The Extraordinary Journey Of A Desert Nomad and Desert Dawn

From 1997 to 2003 she was a United Nations Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation.

Quotes: In the West, everything is money-money, power, sucking, sucking away. It is never enough.