Social Issues

Extraordinary Story Of Somalian Supermodel Who Starred In James Bond film

Waris Dirie really caught the world’s attention in 1997 when she opened up about her horrific female genital mutilation (FGM) ordeal.

She has since campaigned tirelessly against the practice and now her efforts have been recognised in the form of a Woman of the Year Campaigning award.

Waris, now 48 and living in Poland with her four children, was just five years old when she was subjected to FGM in her home country of Somalia.

She was then forced into marrying a 60-year-old man when she was just thirteen, a threat which left her no choice but to flee to Mogadish, where she had family.

She later moved to London to live with relatives and worked in a local McDonald’s before getting her big break when she was scouted by a fashion photographer in the 1990s.

Her career as a supermodel went from strength to strength and she starred in Chanel campaigns and even made a cameo appearance in James Bond movie, The Living Daylights.


In a candid interview with Marie Claire at the height of her fame in 1997, Waris revealed her dark past whereby she was subjected to FGM and left to recover in a makeshift shelter under a tree for several days. She has since set about saving other young girls from enduring what she suffered.

She has since been appointed a UN special ambassador and set up her own charity, Desert Flower Foundation, to help protect girls against the practice, which involves partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons.

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