Liya Kebede

Liya Kebede, a prominent Ethiopian supermodel, actress, designer, and maternal health advocate, has carved out a stellar career in the international fashion industry. Her story, from a young girl in Ethiopia to a global fashion icon, is one of determination, talent, and grace.

Early Life and Discovery

Born on March 1, 1978, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Liya's life took a dramatic turn when she was scouted by a French film director while attending Lycée Guebre-Mariam in her hometown. At the age of 18, she moved to Paris to pursue a career in modeling, where her unique beauty and elegance quickly caught the attention of industry professionals.

Rise to Fame

Liya's breakthrough came when she was signed by Tom Ford for the Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. Her appearance on the runway catapulted her into the limelight, and she soon graced the covers of leading fashion magazines, including Vogue. In May 2002, she made history by becoming the first black model to represent Estée Lauder in a global contract.

Supermodel Success

Her career soared to new heights, and she became one of the world's top models. Working with renowned photographers and designers, Liya walked the runway for brands like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, and Yves Saint Laurent. Her timeless beauty and professionalism made her a sought-after face in the fashion industry.

Throughout her career, Liya has been represented by several prestigious modeling agencies, including IMG Models and Elite Model Management.

Business Ventures

Beyond modeling, Liya ventured into business, launching her fashion brand, Lemlem, in 2007. The brand emphasizes traditional Ethiopian craftsmanship and creates opportunities for local artisans. Its success is a testament to her entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to her roots.

Philanthropy and Advocacy

Liya's influence extends to philanthropy, particularly in the field of maternal health. She established the Liya Kebede Foundation, focusing on reducing maternal, newborn, and child mortality in Ethiopia. Her work with the World Health Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador further underscores her commitment to global health issues.

Private Life

Away from the spotlight, Liya is a devoted mother and wife. She married Ethiopian hedge fund manager Kassy Kebede in 2000, and they have two children. Her family life remains relatively private, reflecting a balance between her high-profile career and personal fulfillment.

Acting Career

In addition to modeling, Liya has pursued an acting career, appearing in films like "Lord of War" and "Desert Flower." Her performances have been praised for their depth and authenticity, adding another dimension to her multifaceted career.

Legacy and Influence

Liya Kebede's influence reaches far beyond the runway. As a model, entrepreneur, and advocate, she has become a symbol of grace, success, and compassion. Her efforts to uplift her community and promote Ethiopian culture have had a profound impact both in her home country and globally.

Liya Kebede's journey from being scouted as a teenager in Ethiopia to becoming a global supermodel is a story of talent meeting opportunity. Her success in fashion, business, philanthropy, and film paints a picture of a woman who is not only a beautiful face but a powerful force for change. Her dedication to her craft, her entrepreneurial spirit, her advocacy for maternal health, and her commitment to her family reflect the depth of her character and the breadth of her influence. Her story continues to inspire aspiring models and humanitarians around the world.

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