(CP-Africa) – Ethiopian Super Model, Liya Kebede, who was recently named one of the best dressed of the year by Vogue Magazine is set to play a lead role in the movie “DESERT FLOWER.”
Originally a book about Waris Dirie (“Waris Dirie” means desert flower), a super model, who fought against female genital mutilation in Somalia, Desert Flower was adapted into a movie and produced by Peter and Benjamin Herrmann. It is scheduled to premiere in Theatres in New York, March 18, 2011. Will this movie be able to capture the story well enough?
Watch Liya Kebede talk about DESERT FLOWER!
Waris Dirie lives a double life – by day she is a famous model and UN spokeswoman on women’s rights in Africa, at night she dreams of her native Somalia. Waris, one of 12 children, was born into a traditional family of desert nomads in East Africa. She remembers her early childhood as carefree- racing camels and moving on with her family to the next grazing spot – until it came her turn to meet the old woman who administered the ancient custom imposed on most Somalian girls: circumcision. Waris suffered this torture when she was just five years old. Then, aged 12, when her father attempted to arrange a marriage with a 60 year old stranger in exchange for five camels – she took flight. After an extraordinary escape through the dangerous desert she made her way to London and worked as a maid for the Somalian ambassador until that family returned home. Penniless and speaking little English, she became a janitor in Mc Donalds where she was famously discovered by a fashion photographer. Her story is a truly inspirational and extraordinary self-portrait of a remarkable woman whose spirit is as breathtaking as her beauty.
‘Waris’s story is one of remarkable courage. From the deserts of Somalia to the world of high fashion … she emerges a real champion. She is the most beautiful inspiration to anyone’ ELTON JOHN ‘A story that traverses continents, spans worlds of human experience and human pain … Waris Dirie was a victim once, but she never will be again’ EXPRESS ‘She was circumcised at five, fled an arranged marriage at 12, then became a Pirelli girl in her teens. Now, at twenty-eight, Waris Dirie is an ambassador for the UN. Her mission? To rid Africa of its most barbaric ritual’ OBSERVER ‘Dirie’s story is an extraordinary one.’ SUNDAY TIMES ‘A mettlesome, contemporary Cindereall, her voice is as entertaining as it is inspiring.’ THE TIMES ‘This story will make you weep for what people are capable of doing to their children and fill you with admiration for one woman’s strength.’ IRISH NEWS ‘Waris Dirie’s story puts “rags to riches” to shame. The “Desert Flower” started life as one of 12 children of a Somali nomad family, a people with no written culture, where the basic unit of currency is the camel. Faced at 12 with the prospect of marriage to a 60-year-old man she didn’t know, she broke all the rules and ran away, surviving a traumatic trek across the desert to end up in London, as a maid to the Somalian Ambassador. It was in McDonalds that her striking beauty was “discovered”, leading to a career in modelling and another as an ardent campaigner against female genital mutilation (circumcision). As a novel it would be unbelievable, as Waris survives circumcision, rape, arranged marriage, a lion attack–you name it, she’s lived through it. But the book is remarkable less for its deliberately dramatic set pieces, and more for its haunting evocation of the little-told life of Somalian nomads, seen from a child’s telling perspective, where life centres on the beloved camels, the horrors of womanhood are still an exciting mystery, and the nights are filled with the smell of frankincense. Desert Flower is a recollection of such gentle beauty that “rags to riches” seems hardly appropriate.’ – Alan Stewart, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW