Noëlla Coursaris was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to a Cypriot father and a Congolese mother. She lost her father at a young age and had to go live with a relative in Switzerland. After a 13-year absence, Noëlla decided to return to her homeland of the DRC and to meet her mother.
She went to school and obtained a degree in business management after which she was discovered and chosen to appear in a campaign for Agent Provocateur.
Noëlla began modeling when she won an Agent Provocateur competition and subsequently became the “face” of the famous lingerie brand. Over the course of her career, Noëlla has worked in New York and London and gained an international following. She has appeared in many fashion magazines, including Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair and Marie Claire.
Noëlla founded Malaika in 2007, a nonprofit grassroots organization that empowers Congolese girls and their communities through education and health programs. She does trainings and educates young girls free of charge.
Noëlla’s efforts have made her one of the most sought-after speakers on the subject of girls’ education. She has also been considered as an advocate for peace and has spoken to countless audiences as far-ranging as UNICEF and the UK Parliament and has appeared several times alongside President Clinton on Clinton Global Initiative panels.
Noëlla has been interviewed about her philanthropic work on global news outlets such as CNN and the BBC, has given a TED talk and presented in front of top executives from multinationals like SAP and T-Systems. She has also featured as a TV host in the 2012 Miss Vodacom competition where she mentored the contestants.
This beautiful charming mother of two has won several awards and recognitions which includes:
- The Incredibles: 50 Women Shaping Africa (2016), ELLE magazine
- 100 Innovators Shaping the Continent (2015), TRUE Africa
- International Advocate of Youth (2014), African Society of Cambridge University
- International Humanitarian of the Year (2013), the Women4africa Award
- Women Helping Women Award (2010), Voss Foundation