Somalia's Desert Flower

PAUL STUART

Her story is the stuff of fiction: the daughter of Somali desert nomads, Waris ("desert flower" in Somali) Dirie fled her family when she was about 13 to escape marriage to a man old enough to be her grandfather. She landed in London as a servant to wealthy relatives and worked as a cleaner at McDonald's before becoming a supermodel, a James Bond girl, a U.N. special ambassador and a best-selling writer. Her second book, Desert Dawn, was published in Britain last week.

Hard to believe? Only until you meet Dirie. A warm but somehow elusive woman in her mid-30s...

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