Born in Somalia in 1965, Waris Dirie left her home country at the age of 14 to become a supermodel, author and campaigner against female genital mutilation.
1965, Gallacalo desert, Somalia
Special Ambassador for United Nations, Author, Model, Campaigner
Campaigner against female genital mutilation. Experienced genital mutilation herself at the age of five.
Fled Somalia at the age of 14 after being forced to marry a man who could have been her grandfather. Subsequently finds work as a cleaner at a McDonald's restaurant in London, where she is discovered as a model by British photographer Terrence Donovan.
Moves from London to New York to become the first black model to get an exclusive contract at cosmetics producer Revlon.
Starred as James Bond girl at the side of Timothy Dalton in 'The Living Daylights'
Publisher biography 'Desert Flower' in 1997 in New York, first of several autobiographical books.
Asked by United National Secretary-General Kofi Annan to become Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund, to fight against female genital mutilation.
Latest book: "Letters to my mother", published in April 2007. Book is currently being filmed with Waris Dirie starring as herself.