Fashion and Models






Birth country: Somalia
One of 12 children born to desert nomads, Waris escaped being sold into marriage for five camels at the age of 13 by running away to London, where she worked as her uncle's maid. There she taught herself to read and write, and five years later got her big break when a photographer spotted her working in a fast food restaurant. Soon she was gracing catwalks and magazine covers, and even appeared in the 1987 Bond film The Living Daylights.

A decade on, Waris, whose name means "desert flower" in her native tongue, left modelling to campaign for the UN against female circumcision, having been a victim of the process herself aged five. She recorded her extraordinary journey in a best-selling autobiography, Desert Flower, along with its sequel Desert Dawn, and hasn't looked back since leaving the profession. "I can enjoy anywhere, and I can leave it," she says. "Life is about moving on."