Liya Kebede is a model, actress, maternal health advocate, and clothing designer. Born on March 1, 1978 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, she attended Lycée Guebre-Mariam, a French international school in Addis Ababa. While in the school, a film director introduced her to a French modeling agent and immediately she finished her studies she traveled to France.
Kebede’s big break came when Tom Ford asked her for an exclusive contract for his Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. Then in May 2002 she was on the cover of Paris Vogue, which dedicated the entire issue to her.
Kebede has been seen on the covers of Italian, Japanese, American, French and Spanish Vogue, V, Flair, i-D and Time’s Style & Design. She has been featured in ad campaigns including those for Shiatzy Chen, Gap, Yves Saint-Laurent, Victoria’s Secret, Emanuel Ungaro, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon, Dolce & Gabbana, Escada and Louis Vuitton. In July 2007, with Kebede earning $2.5 million over the previous 12 months, Forbes named her eleventh in the list of the World’s 15 Top-Earning Supermodels. She got married in 2000 to her husband Kassy Kebede but they separated in 2015 according to reports. Kebede launched Lemlem, a clothing line, in 2008.