From the Media Capital, to the Global Ethiopian Community
Saturday October 16th 2021

Ethiopian Liya Kebede: star of Africa

(From: Flicking through Liya Kebede’s pile of fashion magazine covers passes a calm and perfumed afternoon. In 2002, French Vogue declared May was “All About Liya” month, dedicating a whole issue to the African supermodel after the editor saw her in Tom Ford’s Gucci catwalk show. Describing the day they first met, Ford recalls: “She looked me in the eyes, and I was quite literally stunned. Liya projects an aura of goodness and calm that outshines even her extraordinary physical beauty. Later in the day,” Ford continues, “when trying to remember what she looked like, I could only remember her eyes.”

Born 32 years ago in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia‘s capital, Kebede was spotted twice. The first time, as a teenager, took her to Paris, where she failed, homesick. When she returned to Ethiopia, she met her husband, a hedge-fund manager 20 years her senior, and it wasn’t until the second time, aged 23 in Chicago, where the couple had set up home, that it stuck. In no time Kebede signed a £1.65m contract to become the first black face of Estée Lauder; her face and long, generous limbs sold underwear, handbags, evening dresses and Tiffany diamonds. She took a role in a Robert De Niro film, she was named 11th in a Forbes list of the world’s top-earning models, she had a son and a daughter, Suhul and Raee, then in 2005 she took a breath…  Read More

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