The Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Beauty born and raised beauty is a model,
maternal health advocate, clothing designer and actress. While in school at the French Lycee, a film director spotted the young beauty and introduced her to a French modeling agent. After completing her studies, she moved to France to pursue work through a local Parisian agency.
Kebede's big break came when Tom Ford asked her for an exclusive contract for his Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. Kebede's popularity in the fashion industry sky-rocketed when she appeared on the cover the May 2002 edition of Paris Vogue which dedicated the entire issue to her.

In March 2005, Kebede was appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.She was given the task of advocating on behalf of WHO programmes and initiatives focused on maternal, newborn and child health. She then founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, whose mission is to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in Ethiopia and around the world. The Foundation funds advocacy and awareness raising projects as well as providing direct support for low-cost technologies, community-based education, and training and medical programs.

Liya was seen for a second time on the May 2005 cover of American Vogue, with the heading “Cover model with a cause”, profiling her work with the World Health Organization as their Goodwill Ambassador for her tireless efforts in raising awareness for the difficulties that women and children face in the developing world. In the letter from the editor, Anna Wintour states “It’s very gratifying that Kebede, who has long been a model of the highest rank, should come into her own this way. This is her moment, and it has not arrived by virtue of outsize fabulousness. She is beautiful, professional, and substantial, which makes her not just a model but a role model"

Kebede is one of a very few African models featured in major fashion photo shoots and runway shows. In July 2007, earning at an estimated total of $2.5 million in the past 12 months, Forbes named her eleventh in the list of the World's 15 Top-Earning Supermodels. In 2008, Kebede was featured on one of the four covers of Vogue Italia's all Black Issue.

Kebede launched Lemlem, a clothing line, in 2008. Lemlem, which means “to bloom” in Amharic, features
hand-spun, woven and embroidered women and children’s clothing. Kebede founded the line to help preserve the art of traditional weaving and bring sustainable economic development to Ethiopia . Lemlem is sold at Barney’s, J.Crew, and numerous boutique shops. Kebede says she hopes this will part a sea of change for her home country. "It's wonderful to be able to donate and help people," she says.

Kebede has traveled to Ethiopia to support maternal health projects on multiple occasions. In 2009, she worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Living Proof Project. Kebede served as a High-Level adviser for the Center for Global Development’s 2009 report "Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health."

Kebede writes for the Huffington Post about maternal and child health and has been featured in Vogue and on the Daily Beast. She is also part of the Champions for an HIV Free Generation, an organization of African leaders led by former Botswana President Festus Mogae. The Champions advocate for increased HIV prevention and treatment efforts in Africa.

Liya Kebede

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  1. Wow. She's African and Multitalented. Me likey.

  2. Wow... God forgive me for being so judgemental sha... I tend to look at these models with condescending eyes... It's really nice to see that she is more than just a pretty face.

  3. I like this site.

    I think Liya Kebede is gorgeous, and it's nice to see this side of her as well.

  4. This is a great initiative. I will like to be featured. Myne @ Cheers.