Thursday, Apr. 29, 2010

Liya Kebede

I first met Liya Kebede about 10 years ago in Paris. I was casting models for a show, and Liya came in. She looked me in the eyes, and I was quite literally stunned. Liya, 32, projects an aura of goodness and calm that outshines even her extraordinary physical beauty. Later in the day, when trying to remember what she looked like, I could only remember her eyes.

I have had the good fortune of coming to know Liya well over the past decade, and I am happy to say that my first impression of her was accurate. I was therefore not surprised when I heard that she had been appointed the World Health Organization's Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health in 2005. Or that she had founded the Liya Kebede Foundation with a similar mission. This year, in recognition of her work in this field, the World Economic Forum named her a Young Global Leader.

In today's world, celebrity advocates are not rare. What is rare is to encounter one whose devotion and drive come from a genuine desire to better our world. Liya's work comes from a place of sincerity, and her beauty is much more than skin-deep.

Ford is a fashion designer and film director

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