Ethiopian model, Liya Kebede mixes brains with beauty with wild abandon – she is a model, maternal health advocate, clothing designer and actress who has appeared on the cover of US Vogue twice. According to Forbes, Kebede was eleventh-highest-paid top model in the world in 2007 and since 2005, Kebede has served as the WHO’s Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health.

Kebede is one of a very few African models featured in major fashion photo shoots and runway shows. Her big break came when Tom Ford asked her for an exclusive contract for his Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show and her popularity in the fashion industry sky-rocketed when she appeared on the cover of the May 2002 edition of Paris Vogue, which dedicated the entire issue to her.

Alongside her prolific modeling career, Kebede was appointed WHO Goodwill Ambassador in 2005 for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. She then founded the Liya Kebede Foundation, whose mission is to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in Ethiopia and around the world. The Foundation funds advocacy and awareness raising projects as well as providing direct support for low-cost technologies, community-based education, and training and medical programs. Kebede has traveled to Ethiopia to support maternal health projects on multiple occasions. In 2009, she worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of their Living Proof Project and then served as a High-Level adviser for the Center for Global Developmentā€™s 2009 report “Start with a Girl: A New Agenda for Global Health.” Kebede writes for the Huffington Post about maternal and child health and has been featured in Vogue and on the Daily Beast. She is also part of the Champions for an HIV Free Generation, an organization of African leaders led by former Botswana President Festus Mogae. The Champions advocate for increased HIV prevention and treatment efforts in Africa. She is, quite frankly, just amazing…

Various images of Liya Kebede via Google