Waris Dirie

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Biographical Information

"In September 1997, Waris Dirie, Somalian-born supermodel and social activist, was appointed to the United Nations Population Fund as its Special Ambassador in its effort to eliminate the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). Waris, herself, suffered female genital mutilation at the age of five.

"Waris is one of twelve children in an East African family that lived as nomads, without calendars, without clocks, moving every day to find fresh food and clean water. At the age of 14, Waris fled Somalia to avoid marrying a 60-year-old stranger. Waris made her way to London and worked four years for an uncle who was the Somalian Ambassador to England. She suffered intense culture shock. Befriended by a photographer, Waris eventually was recognized as model material and hired by a modeling agency. She went on to do extensive modeling for Revlon, Inc."[1]


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch


  1. Club of Budapest Waris Dirie, organizational web page, accessed May 10, 2012.