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African models run the runway

African models run the runway in Paris, London, and New York. They are beautiful, elegant and articulate. Above all, these beauty icons have a big heart for their continent. For a start, allow me to introduce you to three exceptional Africa models. Feel free to share with me the names of other established African models you know.

Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid

Supermodel Iman from Somalia may be slowly retiring from the modeling industry, but her name and her face are still strongly associated to the fashion industry. This is because Iman is a pioneer of the field of ethnic cosmetics. Born in 1955, Iman was introduced to the fashion world when models of her skin tone were nowhere to be found.

Daughter of a diplomat, Iman was raised in a privileged home. In 1975, she was discovered by the photographer Peter Beard in the streets of Nairobi, Kenya. Since then, she has appeared on magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Essence

Waris Dirie 

Through her foundation "Desert Flower Foundation," Waris Dirie is now making sure that female genital mutilation (FGM) ends. This former Supermodel and Bondgirl was discovered by the British photographer Terence Donovan at the age of 18. This encounter changed her life forever. Born in 1965 into a nomad family living in the Somali desert near the border to Ethiopia, Dirie is a survivor. At age 5, she endured the FGM process. At age 13, she was forced to marry a man old enough to be her grandfather. She fled her homeland for London where she worked as a housemaid and later at a MacDonald's.

Alex Wek 

Alex Wek first hits the modeling scene in 1995. Her ebony complexion and her short-cropped hair quickly set her apart from other models, states. Born in 1977 in South Sudan, Wek fled her homeland ravaged by the civil war at age 14. She moved to London where she was discovered in an outdoor market. She was first received the world's attention when she was featured in the music video 'Golden Eye' by Tina Turner. The Huffington Post reports her strong involvement in charitable work. One of the most recognizable faces in the fashion industry is an ambassador for the Doctors Without Borders in Sudan, volunteers for UNICEF and is a missionary for World Vision.

.(Photos via, via, via)

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