Top Ten African Models Making Waves Globally

9 years ago by: Daniel Bosai
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-- (m) at 23-06-2011 07:09PM

(18888 | Hero)

The Super Woman: Liya Kebede

People toss the word “supermodel” around flippantly, but true “supers” boast an enviable resume that includes covers, contracts, and campaigns—coupled with the honor of opening and closing key runway shows. Ethiopian supermodel Liya Kebede has done it all from covering Vogue, Essence, Harper’s Bazaar, and i-D to starring in campaigns for Gap, Lord & Taylor, and Ann Taylor, plus nabbing a lucrative Estee Lauder contract. She is now the face of L’Oreal, and in ’08 earned a Forbes shout-out as the 15th highest-paid model. The former face of Yves Saint Laurent, she has also represented the World Health Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador. Kebede continues to model even as she runs her eponymous foundation and pursues a career in acting. Her onscreen credits include cameos in The Good Shepherd and Lord of War. Most recently she starred in Desert Flower, a biopic based on the memoir of fellow African model, Waris Dirie.




The Standout Star: Ajak

Angelique Deng, 21, who goes by Ajak, survived the emotional upheaval of leaving her home in Tonj, Southern Sudan at just 12 for a refugee camp in Kakuma, Kenya. Ultimately, she moved to Australia where she was discovered. Catwalking toward “super” status, Ajak has signed a contract to become a face of Benetton, has scored editorials in Vogue and fashion insider mag i-D, and has enjoyed the prestigious honor of closing the Spring 2011 Lanvin show. Fashion editor Zandile Blay credits Ajak’s standout status to the model’s decision to die her hair blonde. “She’s since dyed her hair back,” Blay points out, [but], I think for a fraction of a second, it shone a light—literally—on her"


The Unsung One: Georgie Badiel

Christened “Gorgeous Georgie” by Models.com, Badiel, 23, was discovered in her native Burkina Faso. She has since smoldered in editorials inVogue Russia, Interview, Arise and Elle.  She’s stomped the prestigious runways of Oscar de la Renta, Diane von Furstenberg, and Tracy Reese, even closing shows for Halston, Phillip Lim and Chado Ralph Rucci. So why hasn’t this girl graced a cover yet? Badiel takes an admirably humble stance on the subject, telling former model turned activist Bethann Hardison, “If the job is mine, it’s mine—nobody will take it from my hand.” She adds of her job: “How lucky I am to show how a woman can be like—elegant and chic.” A great attitude for a gorgeous girl.



The Moneymaker: Nina Keita

In modeling, repping a brand is where the money and longevity is. So when Nina Keita landed the plum gig of starring in Old Navy’s spring 2007 campaign—her face being beamed across America and Europe in the brand’s infectious commercials—she was instantly catapulted into an elite club of models.  She is so valuable to bookers, the Ivorian was allegedly poached from her old agency, Wilhelmina Models, by her new agency Next—eliciting a lawsuit between the two firms. While the agencies duke it out, Nina continues to “smile” all the way to the bank.



The Professional: Gelila Bekele

Discovered two months into her freshman year at UC Berkley, the Ethiopian model fell into modeling with some trepidation. “I come from an environment where my parents are educated so the idea of using my physical to make a living messed with my head a bit,” admits Bekele. The Ford Model, who has appeared in a Pantene Pro-V campaign, and leveraged her status as an international ambassador for aid organization Charity: Water, has since come around. “Models are not dumb. It’s self-management and brand-building.”




The Boss: Oluchi Onweagba

Since winning the premiere 1998 “Face of Africa” competition sponsored by African cable giant M-NET, the Nigerian has gone on to hit pretty much every high a model aspires to.  Cosmetics contract/ad campaign? Check.  Onweagba was a CoverGirl — and has appeared in campaigns for L’Oreal, Gap, and Macy’s.  Vogue cover? Check — she’s fronted Vogue Italia.  Appearance in SI Swimsuit Issue/Victoria’s Secret Show? Check. Check. Now married to designer Luca Orlandi and mother to their son, Onweagba still works the runways, but her focus is on the next generation.  Having launched O Model Management in South Africa, Onweagba told Modelinia.com: “I wanted to do more than the usual charity. I wanted to empower young adult women to make a living at an early age, so they can have a voice of their own even if they do not make it to the Western countries like I did.” Zandile Bay admires her for “being an advocate for the rise of the modeling and fashion industry in her native Nigeria.”



The Sophisticate: Ubah Hassan

The 24-year-old Somali gained international attention four years ago when Ralph Lauren chose her to be the face of his brand.  Since then, she’s covered Arise Magazine, appeared in Vogue Italia’s groundbreaking black issue, and walked for Oscar de la Renta, Rachel Roy, and Ralph Rucci. Explaining her passion to Bethann Hardison, Hassan said, “Everything I do in my life, I do 100% no matter if I’m babysitting, or I’m walking in someone’s fashions.”




The Heir Apparent: Ataui Deng

In the space of three years, Ataui Deng, seems poised to catwalk in the footsteps of her supermodel auntie, Alek Wek. At just 19, the rising star has walked for Zac Posen, Sophie Theallet, and Malandrino. Her model book contains editorial tearsheets from Teen Vogue, V, and Harper’s Bazaar — including a cover of insider magazine Lurve.



The One to Watch: Kinée Diouf

The Senegalese model made her debut stomping the runway for Givenchy and Vivienne Westwood—an auspicious start the model quickly followed with a Benetton campaign, editorials in high fashion pubs V and W, and later a WWD shout-out.  Diouf has since appeared in an ad campaign for Diesel, in the pages of British and German Vogue, and on the cover of supermodel launch pad pub French Revue des Modes. And she is just getting started.


The Super-in-Training: Nyasha Matonhodze

Discovered in 2009, the Zimbabwe-born, Britain-raised model was introduced to the world on London’s catwalks, sashaying for Jonathan Saunders, Emanuel Ungaro, and Louis Vuitton, among others. Just two years later, now 16, Nyasha has racked up editorial tearsheets in Harper’s Bazaar, V, and Teen Vogue. Amazingly, she has just been announced as a face of Louis Vuitton. Look for her in the brand’s fall campaign, which will be shot by star maker Steven Meisel.



The Game Changer: Alek Wek

Sudan’s Alek Wek wasn’t just a model when she hit the scene in ’95. She was a movement. With her obsidian complexion and close-cropped natural hair, she looked nothing like successful contemporary Americans Beverly Peele or Veronica Webb, or Ugandan Kiara Kabukuru. This is what influencers in the industry loved about her. At the very top of her career, MTV named her Model of the Year, i-D named her Model of the Decade, and People christened her one of the world’s 50 Most Beautiful People. The effusive accolades continued in the form of Vogue, Essence and Elle covers. At key fashion shows, Wek opened and closed for Valentino, Christian Lacroix, Diane von Furstenberg, and Yves Saint Laurent, among others.  The 33-year-old has since launched a handbag line and penned a memoir, and shows no sign of slowing down. Wek last shot with photographer Matthew Stone for the Summer 2011 issue of i-D.  Fashion writer Blay points out, “The African models we see gracing the runways now are all variations of Wek and her bold, refreshing, ideal-shattering brand of beauty.” We salute them all for breaking barriers in the field of fashion.



Guys, which one is your fav?

Spotted At: The Atlanta Post.




-- dirtykid (m) at 23-06-2011 07:12PM
(17698 | Hero)

They're all prettyful Ladies.

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-- ILOVEIT (m) at 23-06-2011 07:15PM
(12630 | Hero)

Alek wek surprise d model world with her obsidian complexion...they all look beautiful

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-- 50scent (m) at 23-06-2011 07:20PM
(23929 | Addicted Hero)

 Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool Cool

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-- PreetyInstinct (f) at 23-06-2011 07:48PM
(12003 | Hero)

All beaurifull women Cheesy

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-- kebella (f) at 23-06-2011 08:22PM
(43564 | Addicted Hero)

sexy damsels

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-- slimben (m) at 23-06-2011 08:23PM
(1293 | Gistmaniac)

  the try small sha  Cool Cool
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-- just2sexy (m) at 23-06-2011 09:02PM
(13600 | Hero)

dem try

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-- HOPEA23 (f) at 23-06-2011 09:58PM
(22354 | Addicted Hero)

damn to the last pix,...i am not feeling it..but the rest are nice and sexy.

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-- kebella (f) at 23-06-2011 10:00PM
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na senega woman na so dem dey black Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin senigali

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-- kebella (f) at 23-06-2011 10:01PM
(43564 | Addicted Hero)

na senegal woman na so dem dey black Grin Grin Grin Grin Grin

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-- Youngstoriez (m) at 23-06-2011 10:19PM
(4457 | Gistmaniac)

no1....The face of Africa jaree....
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-- ILOVEIT (m) at 23-06-2011 10:31PM
(12630 | Hero)

Quote from: HOPEA23 on 23-06-2011 09:58PM
damn to the last pix,...i am not feeling it..but the rest are nice and sexy.

dat girl is among d well paid girl in model industry if u don't know!

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-- diplomatik (f) at 23-06-2011 10:48PM
(25079 | Addicted Hero)

beautiful chicas  Cheesy

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-- HOPEA23 (f) at 23-06-2011 10:50PM
(22354 | Addicted Hero)

Quote from: ILOVEIT on 23-06-2011 10:31PM
Quote from: HOPEA23 on 23-06-2011 09:58PM
damn to the last pix,...i am not feeling it..but the rest are nice and sexy.

dat girl is among d well paid girl in model industry if u don't know!
but that doesn't change the feeling i am having toward that pix...

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-- diplomatik (f) at 23-06-2011 10:59PM
(25079 | Addicted Hero)

Hope where the fck is point..i'm missing ur man  Tongue Tongue Cheesy

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-- LOYOLAR (m) at 24-06-2011 01:10AM
(392 | Upcoming)

African queens.
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-- Rosemerry (f) at 24-06-2011 01:15AM
(398 | Upcoming)

Up 2 the guys
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-- maryclaret (f) at 24-06-2011 01:40AM
(2193 | Gistmaniac)

Beautiful ladies. Keep reppin Africa in the most beautiful way.  Cheesy

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-- gibsonpally (m) at 24-06-2011 01:55AM
(676 | Upcoming)

It's their business
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