Regularly featured in the major fashion magazines for couture photography, she graced their pages with the exoticism of her Guinean heritage and the strength of her personality. She was the muse of Yves Saint Laurent, who always featured her in his shows with spectacular results.She was nicknamed the Peul Princess after the Peul ethnic group of Guinea and eight other West African states.
Apart from modelling and designing her own eponymous clothing line, she was active in fighting against the female circumcision in the Third World. She published a book about her personal experience and was active in many ways, drawing attention to this horrific practise that makes numerous women suffer around the world.
Her body was found in the river Seine this morning in Paris. She was missing since late January. She will be dearly missed.
An excerpt from her book:
'I grew up surrounded by hibiscus and ylang-ylang flowers. I used to get drunk on the richest perfumes and saw myself as a perfumer or a model,' she wrote in the book. But then her life changed forever after she underwent excision. 'One day, mother said we were going to the cinema. And I found myself the victim of a horror movie. 'An unimaginable trauma that I had never managed to talk about, until I found love and wrote In My flesh,' she said. She said she saw her career as a top model as a form of 'revenge' for the horror of excision. 'I embodied the most arrogant and admired kind of feminity, I who was supposed to be diminished.'