Friday, December 30, 2005

Haimanot Deboch

Haimi Design's website says "...Coming from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Haimanot took junior design and knitting classes as a subject in her elementary and high schools. Inspired by the artistic design part of the subject, she would apply her skills by creating banners and maps for her teachers at school and creating decorations at home. Her parents have been a source of motivation in her career as a creative designer from the start.

After a being told her dress, for a friend's wedding, was "ruined" in her later years, Haimanot decides to take matters into her own hands. She will go on to take design classes by Italian instructors in Addis Ababa at the Mo Mco Design School (1995-1996), and go on to work as a professional. After moving to the Washington D.C. in August 2001, Haimanot has been working on developing her over 8 years experience of creating and designing cultural clothes. She continues to create designs and patterns with a theme of Ethiopian culture. Her collections have been featured at the 2003 and 2004 Ethiopian Bridal Expos..."

Photos courtesy of Haimi Design's

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Doyin Haastrup

Rage says"...At 1.84m tall, Doyin Haastrup is the tallest semi-finalist for the Nokia Face of Africa 205. Born in Lagos, the 20-year-old keeps in shape with regular gym classes and by eating healthy.

A fan of the designers Modela and Mon-Ami, Doyin’s fashion accessories include perfumers, shoes and earrings. She would love to model in Paris and in New York City and would like to visit Zambia, Ghana, Liberia and South Africa. She lists Lagos and Abuja as the places she enjoys the most in Nigeria and says she loves the warm West Africa climate of her home..."

Photo Courtesy of Rage

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Wubet Handbags

The Wubet website says "...Wubet is an exceptional unique accessories line for handbags utilizing Ethiopian hand woven textiles and leather worked into modern design. It consists of a wide range of different shapes, from small carry bags with antique aluminum bead handles to clutches with rubber band...totes with resin closures in accent-colored textiles, and the new I-Pod-bag in Ethiopian cotton, combined with beads and wearable as hipster bag as well.

Ethiopian design may never have been as timely. In an era of increasing globalization in business, communications, marketing and public policy, as we become one world, it is important to understand and preserve what is unique to our various cultures. The beautiful textiles of Ethiopia are unique, I would like to see them cherished and also shared with the world. Design enhances the quality of life. On every level it should celebrate, honor, venerate, praise, cherish and treasure all that we are. The goal is to celebrate the unique genius of every individual, and use it in order to inspire everyone. I want the world to see that every invention, every creation of which humankind is capable carries with it the capacity to enhance us individually and improve us collectively.

Weaving in Ethiopia is an art, which was practiced since ancient times and perfected as far back as the Middle Ages. It has changed very little since then, and is highly skilled, compared to all other crafts in the country. Today the lovely hand woven cloth is no longer confined to clothing, but is used for furniture covering, curtains, tablecloths and napkins, and bed covers, among so many other uses.

The designs of the Tibeb seem infinite in number with colourful geometrical designs. The Wubet collection originated in collaboration with Sara Abera from Sara Garment Designers & Manufacturers..."

Photo Courtesy of

Gerren Taylor

This 14-year-old modeling prodigy Gerren Taylor that started modeling at he age of 12 is now been refered to in some circles already as the "New Naomi". says "...Teased for years about her height by the kids in her elementary school in Moreno Valley and elsewhere, the very young lady they called giraffe is now fulfilling a life long dream by becoming a super model.

However, there wasn't a page on her dream sheet that foretold making international headlines, setting records, interviewing on news channels, appearing on e-entertainment and stirring ..."

Photo courtesy of Patrick McMullan and from

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Manale's website says"...Her unusual name can be translated as 'the one and only' from Amharic, the official language spoken in her native Ethiopia, and its meaning may have unwittingly been a sign of things to come.

Born into a prominent family whose lineage can be traced back 25 generations, she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degre in costume design at the State University of New York and an Associate Degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

She lived in Rome, Italy, for a time and it is here, inspired by the thriving fashion scene, the culture and the arts, that she developed a passion for all aspects of haute couture and design.

Upon her return to the U.S. she initially designed for a number of international fashion companies before devoting herself to bridal fashion, a field where she saw an opportunity for her talent and vision to make a difference.

Her passion and sense of beauty are evident just by looking at her gowns, down to the last detail.

But what comes through even more strongly is a philosophy that bears her signature touch on every single gown making the bride who wears one feel like she is 'the one and only.'

Photo Courtesy of

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ase Hui Min Wang

This Chinese/Swedish Model has featured in neumerous MTV, TV and magazine adverts for top brands in South East Asia.

Ase Wangs's website says"...Self-decleared "ex-hippie chick" Ase Wang has got it all-looks, body and a soaring career. All that's missing is a man who is able to create a storm in the kitchen.

The archetypal Pan-Asian stunner, with genes inherited from a Chinese father and a Swedish mother, is also noted for her equally exotic name, courtesy of her mum. Who hails from the land of Volvo and Abba."It is pronounced "oww-sah", with the two dots above the 'A', that's how to pronounce it in Swedish." she purrs, acknowledging that it's moniker that is baffling to most people here. In 2002, she ventured out on a limb into the Hong Kong scene to take stab at stardom and has since landed spots in several television commercials and print ads. The sacrifices that she made have paid off for this model-actress as shehas been kept busy with a number of projects that include the movie and getting the chance to be part of a Canto pop icon Sam Hui's dance team.

Photo Courtesy of

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Maggie Cheung Man-yuk

This incredibility attractive lady that started as a Model, ended up being one of asia's top actresses. Wikipedia says "...Cheung spent part of her childhood and adolescence in the United Kingdom. Upon her return to Hong Kong, Cheung ran and won second place in the Miss Hong Kong beauty pageant contest in 1983 at the age of 19, and was a semi-finalist in the Miss World pageant the same year.

Cheung married French film maker Olivier Assayas in 1998. The marriage ended with a divorce in 2001. The two have collaborated on films such as Irma Vep and Clean..."

Photo Courtesy of Xinhuanet

Monday, November 28, 2005

Natalia Vodianova

Annabel Rivkin writes "...By the time was Natalia 11 she was selling fruit and vegetables on the street, often until eleven at night.'My mother was one of the first people - it was a very clever idea - to say,"Why should I sell at the market when I can get to people on the road before they reach the market?" And so we did it, but my mother is no businesswoman. Sometimes we felt very rich and sometimes we had absolutely nothing to eat.' It's an enduring image, isn't it? A small, beautiful girl standing in the snow trying to sell something, knocking down the price, realising that her wares are waterlogged and trudging wearily home.

At 14 she was borrowing a friend,s car to pick up her stock and at 16 she set up a fruit and vegetable stand with a girlfriend and worked fairly happily, even though she admits that her hometown is 'miserable, grey and dangerous'. Mafia-run, with a corrupt police force and its own street code, Natalia nevertheless insists that it was 'dangerous only if you made it dangerous, if you walked at night, for example'. She doesn't talk about the grimmer scenes, but this is a young woman who clearly learned to defend herself early. 'My agency has a Polaroid of me from the day I arrived n Paris and it's frightening,' she says. 'It's a face that say, "if you come anywhere near me, you're dead."'

A Parisian model scout had come to Nizhni Novgorod and Natalia's boyfriend at the time - a male model - forced her to go along. Although the relationship didn't last, she later bought him a Mercedes to say thank you. She maintains that, despite the scary Polaroid, she was at that time more cheerful than she looked.'I was very self-protective, very moody, but I was happy inside. I was fascinated by Paris and by my first plane trip.

Natalia, 23 is one of today's most successful models. In possession of the lucrative Calvin Klein contract (now shot by Steven Meisel) that made icons of Brook Shields in the Eighties and Kate Moss in the Nineties, and the international face L'Oreal, she is nonetheless still and edgy editorial favourite. With the face of a child and the eyes of a lioness, her focus - both professional and personal - is immediately apparent..."

Natalia is Married to Justin Portman and has a three year old son called Lucas.

Orginal article published in the Evening Standard Magazine(25th November 2005).

Photo Courtesy of

Friday, November 25, 2005

IMAN Cosmetics

Iman's website says"...Iman is Founder and CEO of IMAN Cosmetics, Fragrances & Skincare, a beauty company that created the first cosmetics and skincare collection designed for all women with skin of color.

Launched in 1994, the IMAN brand philosophy holds that women with skin of color represent many races, cultures and ethnicities. IMAN Cosmetics is designed for African American, Asian, Latina and multi-cultural women with skin tones in a myriad of shades. The brand offers skincare and cosmetics, including 16 foundation shades. IMAN Cosmetics is sold throughout the world including the United States, Canada, UK, France, Brazil, Africa, and the Caribbean.

In 2004, IMAN Cosmetics announced its strategic alliance with Proctor & Gamble. Under the licensing and and distribution agreement, the prestige brand once again broke convention and is now available at mass retailers including Target, Wal-Mart, Walgreens and Duane Reade.

In addition to running a global beauty company, Iman is actively invloved in several charities, including, The Children's Defense Fund, For All Kids Foundation, and Action Against Hunger. Iman's first book, entitiled I AM IMAN (Universe, 2001), was an autobiographical sketchbook of her career that questions the unserious business of fashion and beauty and its serious affect on identity. Her upcoming book, THE BEAUTY OF COLOR: The Ultimate Beauty Guide for Skin of Color (Putnam penguin) will be published in Fall 2005.

Iman began her career in the 1975 as a model and has challenged the prevailing notions of beauty ever since. The daughter of an African diplomat, Iman was born in Somalia and grew up speaking five languages. She studied political science at Nairobi University where she was discovered by lengendary photographer Peter Beard.

Her first modeling assignment was for Vogue in 1976. Iman was an instant success in the fashion world, and a muse fir fashion designers including Yves. St. Laurent, Versace, Calvin Klein and top photographers Helmut Newton, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Annie Liebovitz.

A mother of two, Iman is married to David Bowie with whom she has a daughter Alexandria Zahra. Iman's eldest daughter is Zulehka Haywood..."

Photos Courtesy of IMAN and Careers In Beauty

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hilda Nwevoh

Akada Campus says"...19 year old Udi, Enugu State born Hilda Nevoh beat 14 other contestants Sunday 21st August to win the 2005 edition of the Nigeria Model Awards inside the banquet hall of the Sheraton Hotel & Towers.

With the victory, she represents Nigeria at the Ford Supermodel of the World contest slated for January 2006 in New York where she stands a chance of picking a $250,000 worth of modelling contract. Hilda, the fourth of of five siblings said she least expected to be picked as the winner as the competition was very stiff, even though she prayed to win.

The undergraduate of Economics from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology who dreams of becoming a renowned fashion designer after retiring from international modelling gave all the glory to God for her victory as in her words, "Any of the girls could have won. we all had our different unique attributes but i guess God has chosen this time for me and I am really excited about it. I am looking forward to the world finals and perhaps God will also help me win that one" .

Hilda was picked by head scout for Ford Super Model, New York, Robert Knapp who was the sole judge for the event..."

Photos courtesy of Acada Campus

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Oumou Sy

Although this Lady grew up without a formal education, she could now be regarded as Senegal's most internationally known haute couture designer.

Afritopic says "... As a child, she liked the feel of fabrics and she was always playing with the material in any form her fantasy allowed. She later developed interest in joining, stitching and sewing pieces of fabrics together to create works of art. Her interest grew stronger. She developed her capabilities further and started making dresses, which today, has developed into a successful fashion business. Her collections have been showcased at international fashion shows in Europe, Asia, Africa and USA.

Apart from creating high-class fashion designs, is very active in development programs in her home country. She founded a school of design, which provides training for Senegalese in diverse areas of product and fashion designs. According to Oumou Sy in a discussion podium during the Masala Welt-Beat Festival 2004, the graduates of the school are highly rated by employers in Senegal. Some of the graduates also find employment in the design industries outside of Senegal..."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Imane Ayissi

Endowed with the talent of being both a fashion designer and a model, Imane Ayissi seems to prove you can be succesful in these two related fields.Imane Ayissi's website says "... Born in Cameroon, Imane Ayissi arrived in France in 1990. This lover of fabrics has tailored for himself a strong reputation in the Afro-Caribbean community. In September 2002, he presented his eight collection Vogue Africa in the Daniel Buren Circus in Paris.

Imane Ayissi draws his inspiration from the pre-colonial Black continent to create a global fashion which goes beyond the ethnic label. He works his fabrics in a soft and pure way in order to reveal harmony and magnify the elegance of women, elegance being the key-word of this creator. Chic, distinction and a touch of aristocracy are features of his dresses. Innate respect of women that reveals without undressing and suggests the body rather than shows it, is characteristic of this designer who resorts to some daring to help those he dresses with their seductive power.

Imane Ayissi has had regular work as a model for several years, primarily free lance, fashion shows, fashion photography, and advertisements for Gap, Motorola, Gitanes… but also photographic studies with photographers Alain Herman, Gérard Valmer, Marc-Antoine Harmeau, Ernest Collins, Pascal Barin, Laurent Durant, Wade H. Grimbly, Charles Ossola, and Marc Robin.

In 1999, he posed for a series of paintings by Sasmayoux. In the same year, photographer Elias created a series of photos displaying the jewelry of creators from the Place Vendôme in Paris around Imane: Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Dior, Cartier, Chanel, Boucheron, Harry Winston, Bulgari, Mauboussin and Fred. These photos were published in French fashion magazines and presented in an exhibit in Paris..."

Photos Courtesy of Stephane Tourne and Edward Collins

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Adriana Lima

In an article featured in Ask Men Adriana says"...Modeling is a tough job, your co-workers are your rivals, it really puts a damper on your perspective of other girls."

Superior Pics says"...First spotted while shopping at a local mall, 13-year-old Adriana Lima joined a Ford Supermodel of Brazil model search and finished 1st in the competition. In 1996, she competed in the Ford Supermodel of the World contest and placed 2nd. In the next year, she landed a contract with Elite Model Agency and subsequently packed for New York.

Under her new agent, Adriana scored a campaign for the fashion label Anna Molinari. She also managed to work with the world's top photographers like Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh and Ellen von Unwerth and appeared in several fashion and women magazines including Vogue (Italy) and Harper's Bazaar in 1997, Vogue (UK), I-D (UK), Marie Claire (Brazil), and Vogue (Italy) in 1998. She followed it up with the next year's appearances in Vogue (U.S., Germany, UK) and Marie Claire (Italy). She also stepped on runways for many prestigious designers like Cynthia Rowley, Vera Wang, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Betsey Johnson, Girls Rule, Richard Tyler, Giorgio Armani, Fendi, Randolph Duke, Ralph Lauren, and Valentino.

Adriana's first big break was being the model for a Vassarette printed advertisement in New York's Times Square. She later was hurled towards the spotlight after being chosen as the spokesmodel for Guess?. Adriana starred in the company's Fall 2000 ad campaign, which was shot by Pablo Alfaro in Northern California, along with several other young fresh faces. Soon afterward, a string of campaign offers followed, notably Anna Sui Jeans, Bebe, Gasoline, Mossimo, BCBG, Keds and XOXO.

Another modeling job arrived when Adriana became the spokesmodel for Victoria's Secret. She modeled in the company's catalogues and ads with supermodels Heidi Klum and Laetitia Casta. She also appeared in the popular TV transmitted lingerie shows, The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which she debuted with in 2000 and later became the show opener in 2003. Currently, she starred in the Italian TIM mobile Commercials.

On screen, Adriana has been profiled on E! Entertainment Television, The Travel Channel, Viva, Extra and Whipple's World. She also shared the screen with Mickey Rourke, playing a wife in the BMW short film, The Hire: The Follow in 2001. In November of 2004, she guest starred in "The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn..."

Photos from

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Mariacarla Boscono

Recently annouced by H&M as a replacement to Kate Moss, Mariaclara Boscono started modeling at the tender age on seventeen. says "... "My parents traveled a lot, all over the world. They lived for seven years in Thailand before I was born. Then my Mom got pregnant and my family moved to Rome. My mom is from Tuscany and my Dad is from a little city where most of the fabric is made in Italy.After Rome we all went to Providence, then to Key West when I was two years old. I went to school in America.

They had this shop where they were selling Saucony. The shoes. They invented that. They were featured in Time magazine which did a big interview on them and things started to go well.After that period they decided they wanted to go back to Italy for me to study. I was Italian, they wanted me to grow up in Italy.

Then when I was 9 my Dad went to work in Kenya. He had this cave with this beautiful
material... huge... molto... unbelievable when you walk in. Because when you walk in, you're in this huge hole in a mountain. The material was... I don't know what the name is in English... but

it's very very white. So you have this beautiful light pouring in. We did five years there in this little village which is between Malindi and Mombassa. The village we were living in was really small, Kilindi. It wasn't even on the map then. It is now but not then. But it was the most fantastic five years of my life. Have you ever read this book... I can't translate the title but it talks about the unique feel and smell and taste of Africa. The heat, the slow life. Hakuna matata. Everything was like that.

But at one point you had to go back to reality, because that's a more fantastic world which was a beautiful thing to experience, but as a kid, it was strange for me too. I had no friends. I was alone in this huge house, in this huge park, with this huge balboab tree. You had to watch out everywhere because there would be snakes everywhere, falling down from trees, in the toilets,in the rooms.

I had this little puppy which we found in the streets called Pippo. We had this iguana, who just walked into the house one day so we adopted him. We'd feed him. We'd call him and he'd come for his food, like a pet. But I never touched him. He was huge. I was a kid and he scared me."

I find that the fashion business is not geared to keeping the model forever, anymore.
I think that's a really good thing. It's a business of the new. It's a young thing. It doesn't last forever. You have to move on! It's very unreal. I'm lucky that I can keep my feet on the ground.

I'm from the countryside. My mom, she calls me every day. All that helps me to see it for what it is.

For my future, what I would like is to have a magazine. It has to be a homemade, high quality travel magazine. Not as professional and cold as National Geographic. In that vein, but more homemade, more poetic! You go somewhere, you're a very good photographer, you're a very good writer and you go for a holiday and then you come back with an amazing story about this guy you met... who teaches you how to cook fish on the beach. Very personal. Like a letter from a friend..."

Photo by Don Ashby and Courtesy of STYLE.COM

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Atong Arjok

She has modeled for Lacoste, Ghost, Rachel Comey, Heatherette and Catherine Malandrino and has appeared on the Magazine covers of Sass & Bride and Hong Kong Luxe among others. This Elegant Model from California but with roots originating from Sudan is one of the top models to look out for in the next coming months.

Photo Courtesy of The ones to Watch

Friday, November 04, 2005

Manish Arora

Recently commissioned by Reebok Rbk to design is couture sneaker collection, 33-year-old Manish Arora from New Delhi now adds to the increasing number of Indian designers that appeal to the international fashion community.

Bharat Textile says "...A product of NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) Manish graduated from the faculty of fashion Design in 1994. On his graduating year he bagged the 'Most Creative Student' of the year award for his final project.

He also was the first runner up at the Smirnoff Fashion Awards held in Bombay in 1994.

Visualization has always been the designer's signature style and Manish Arora, after emerging from the portals of NIFT also participated in the much respected 'Young Asians Designers Competition' in 1995, held in Jakarta that year. At the show Manish presented 'KAL YUG', yet another highly stylized and humorous presentation. This won him the 2nd Runners up award and also the Most Original Collection award. It was in Jakarta that Manish was offered the job of a stylist for the French Vogue by its editor. But he preferred to stay back and launch his label' Manish Arora'.

Manish has had various shows in different parts of country each reflecting the designer's unmistakable style in a new way. His first solo show in October '98 at The Park hotel was one of the few shows that year that received such rare reviews. He has also been the official designer for the Vimal suiting and shirting campaign for the year 1998-99, and represented India at the Hong Kong fashion Week, held in Hong Kong in January 2000.

He was also a part of exhibition on Kitsch held at India Habitat Center. This exhibition saw the work of various well-known artists of India such as Atul Dodhia, Anjolie Ela Menon, Ram Rehman and many others, among which, his work stood out for its originality. It was at Selfridges (London) in May '02 where he exhibited a similar work of art.

Keeping in view the upcoming market of ready to wear he has launched a new line of women's wear in February 2001 under the label 'FISH FRY', for the same he was also associated with Bacardi for a series of shows in various cities.

It was in the year 2002 that Mr. Martand Singh chose a few leading designers from our country to design clothes made from khadi to revive this age old Indian fabric, it was inaugurated by honorable prime minister of India Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the same was showcased in all the leading cities of our country.

There was a full-page advertisement of Manish Arora for lord And Taylor in the Sunday Times, New York and he was also featured in the Women's Wear Daily for his new collection.

Manish has made costumes for a Bollywood film and for a French Film that is currently being shot; he has dressed the likes of Bianca Jagger. Anoushka Shankar wore a dress that he specially designed for her at the Grammy Awards 2003. He is opening his second Manish Arora/Fish Fry store in Mumbai by September this year and at the same time is also taking part at the trade fair in Paris.

He is retailing at Carma in Delhi, Ensemble in Bombay, Fflio in Bangalore, Zenon & Kali in Kolkatta, Zingara in Cannes (France), Cafe Des Baines in Geneva (Switzerland), Lord & Taylor in New York, Morini in Forte Det Marmi- Italy, Papini in Catania-Italy, Torregrossa in Palerito-Italy, Frank and Fics in Paris and his first flagship store at 1-M.G. Road, New Delhi. He s also retailing through BE: outlets (a division of Raymonds limited) in eight cities in India and Dubai.

It was during this fashion week that Manish has formed an alliance with one of the leading retail stores in the world, Maria Louisa (Paris). It is a store that houses all the leading brands such as Helmut Lang, Alexander Mc Queen, Balenciaga and John Galliano..."

Photos Courtesy of Time Magazine and Mid-Day

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ade Bakare

Cape Fashion Week says "...The Ade Bakare (Couture) London label has now become synonymous with classic yet modern fashion over the years. The label, which was started by Ade Bakare in 1991, has now grown to include other lines such as Shoes, Bags, Scarves and Jewellery.

This enables his ever-loyal clientele to have the Ade Bakare complete look and experience.

The label, which attracts women from all walks of life; celebrities, royalty and the working lady, was set up in 1991 with the assistance of the Princes Youth Business Trust (PYBT). The Ready To Wear Collection sold to stores and boutiques across England , in places such as London , Guildford Esher, Amersham and. Sheffield, plus Scotland and the Channel Islands .

Due to an increasing demand for couture by private clients Ade Bakare decided to open a salon on Grosvenor Street in Mayfair to cater for them. The showroom, which was opened in 1997, was a huge success and immediately put Ade Bakare on the International Haute-Couture map, attracting clients from American, France, Italy, Germany, Nigeria and the Jamaican Islands.

At the Mayfair Salon, Ade Bakare's first floral fragrance for ladies called 'Breeze' was launched in 1998 and which now includes a scented cream and scented candle introduced in 2000 for the Millennium.

Over the years the Ade Bakare Couture label has attracted worldwide press, especially in America , Germany , Monaco and Nigeria , where he has received a lot of press and media coverage, especially during the Royal Ascot season.

Plans for the future include opening branches in Europe, North America and Africa .

Ade Bakare was born in Bromsgrove in England . He studied to University level in Lagos , Nigeria at the University of Lagos . He returned to England to study Fashion Design at the Salford University College , Manchester , where he gained a HND in 1990.

Ade Bakare then went on to work for two internationally known Couture designers in London; Victor Edlestein and Christina Stambolian, before setting up his own label in 1991.

The Ade Bakare Couture label is aimed at the sophisticated woman who likes to appear glamorous at all times. The label uses natural silk fabrics such as French dupion, georgette, chiffons,duchess satins, lace and 'Gazar' which Add Bakare has become well-known for. Add Bakare designs capture the true spirit of the feminine form and are designed in a modern way, always giving his loyal clientele something new to look forward to. Ade Bakare continues to design for the label including the Jewellery line, staging fashion shows in England and abroad, lecturing at fashion colleges and seminars, writing on fashion for newspapers and magazines.

Photo Courtesy of Cape Town Fashion Week

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Isabeli says"...Isabeli Bergossi Fontana (who occasionally simply goes by "Isabeli") was born on July 4, 1983, in Curitiba, in the Paran? region of Brazil. She has two siblings; brothers Harrison and Heric. By the time she was merely 12 years of age, Isabeli told her mother that she wanted to become a model.

In 1996, she was a finalist in an Elite Model Look Contest in Sao Paulo, and the following year, at the age of only 14, she traveled from her native Brazil to Milan, to start working as a model. This move helped Isabeli see her home as those from other countries see it; "Everyone wants to know about Brazil," she admits.

In 1999, when she was 16, Isabeli appeared in the Victoria's Secret catalog. This generated a bit of a stir in the fashion world, since Victoria's Secret reportedly violated its policy of only hiring models that were 21 or older. But such controversy helped, rather than harmed, Isabeli's prospects, especially in an industry that worships youth to extremes. A case in point: Isabeli revealed that when she was 16, clients complained that she looked too young; when she was 17, they thought she looked too old. C'est la vie in the world of fashion.

Nevertheless, she landed work with such world-famous labels as Valentino, Versace, bebe, and Ralph Lauren, strutting down fashion runways from New York and Paris to Milan. She appeared in international editions of well-known magazines like Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, and also worked on a campaign for M. Officer, a hot, up-and-coming design house in Brazil, in which Isabeli was photographed in provocative poses that kept everyone guessing. She was also one of the models to appear in the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition in 2002 and 2003.
underage partygoer

Isabeli now lives in New York with her fiancee, fellow model Alvaro Jacomossi. Despite the hustle and bustle of her new home, Isabeli doesn't get caught up in Manhattan's flashy nightlife. She goes to movies with Alvaro (though she's not big on TV) and enjoys music, especially her "three R's": rock, reggae and rap.

With a promising career and a comfortable lifestyle, a model on the verge of superstardom could lose her head. Not so for Isabeli. Knowing that the career of a model is a short one, she's already looking to the future. She recently became a mother and she's even thinking of taking up acting, though she doesn't have the time to take classes yet. Isabeli is also prudent enough to invest some of her modeling earnings so that she can buy a house in Alvaro's hometown. But whatever she may do later on, Isabeli doesn't want to cut herself off from modeling completely.

Isabeli Fontana is one of many successful models -- including Gisele Bundchen, Ana Claudia Michels and Adriana Lima -- to come out of Brazil in recent years. But few can match her meteoric career path. She began with a notorious debut in the Victoria's Secret catalog at age 16, and within three short years, has become a fixture in the Paris and Milan shows, a model for celebrated designers from Versace to Valentino, and cover girl for more than her share of high-profile magazines.

If anything, this stunning ascent has taught Fontana to be realistic. Although she enjoys modeling immensely, she doesn't pretend that the youth-obsessed industry isn't without its flaws. With this in mind, she's already making plans for when she trades in her outlandish runway getups for more subdued business attire.

Of course, at such a young age, Isabeli's still got a lot left in her. Yet even as her appeal peaks, she'd rather spend an evening listening to music or going to the movies with her fianc? than whooping it up on the tow..."

Photo courtesy of Top Fashion Models

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Tamiris Souza Freitas

Production Paradise says"...Beautiful Brazilian Tamiris Souza Freitas became popular through her campaigns for Benetton and Top Shop. She has now had her big break-through: ten pages of main fashion for ID and four pages in Allure - both jobs with star photographer Michael Thompson..."

Photo Courtesy of modelwerk

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Sylvia Owori

Cape Fashion Week says "...After studying at Newham in London Sylvia Owori returned to Uganda, started her own modelling agency under the name 'Ziper Models' (now called ZIPA), to date providing the bulk of models for the Ugandan market and opened a shop selling imported clothes from the UK and the US.

Following the success of the shop and the modelling agency she took on the challenge of revitalising the then defunct organisation of the 'Miss Uganda Beauty Pageant' which within the last four years turned into the largest event on the Ugandan social calendar. In 2000 she designed the outfits for the participants of the MNet Face of Africa regionals in Dar es Salaam and Cape Town to great acclaim from the public and the fashion commentators.

She now owns her own label 'Sylvia Owori' which is exclusively sold in her flagship shop in Kampala and in an outlet in Nairobi. These clothes, mostly of easy wear fabrics, are an affordable mix of classic office and formal clothes designed for sophisticated career-oriented women who follow fashion.

She successfully participated in the Kenyan Fashion Week last year having her designs published on the front page of Kenyan and Ugandan daily newspapers. The work she has done so far has attracted the interest of the makers of the Hollywood movie 'The Last King of Scotland" who have asked her to design and manufacture the costumes for the main characters and part of the cast of this prestigious movie, filming of which will start mid-June in Uganda.

Apart from her work as a designer and organiser of 'Miss Uganda', Sylvia also owns a trendy bar called Little Maama and will shortly start editing a new Ugandan women's magazine called 'African Woman' focussing on the interests of the modern African woman of today.

The next step in her career will be her participation in the 'Nokia Cape Town Fashion Week' in August this year..."

Photos Courtesy of Miss Uganda and Sylvia Owori

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Nabli Dahani

Nabil Dahani website says "...Born in Rabat, Morocco, Nabil DAHANI attended the renowned Canadian Fashion Institution, "College Lasalle", before perfecting his skills in the Paris based "l'ecole de la Chambre Syndicate de la couture Parisienne..."

Photo courtesy of Nabil Dahani

Monday, October 17, 2005

Amsale Aberra

Bride Power says "...Amsale Aberra left her home of Ethiopia in 1973 to further her studies abroad. She began her college career in Vermont and eventually moved to Boston. It was after graduating from Boston State College that Amsale decided to pursue her love of fashion in the place that fashion thrives; New York City.

She attended the school at the New York Fashion Institute of Technology and finished in 1982. Armed with her degree in Fashion, Amsale Aberra served as a design assistant for some well known and established designers. As she learned more and more about the fashion industry she became intrigued with the bridal industry. Not able to find a satisfactory dress for her own wedding, she simply designed her own. From there, Amsale introduced a classic and sophisticated bridal gown design that caught the attention of many in the bridal industry.

Amsale’s use of luxurious fabrics along with accents such as satin ribbons, soft bows and light beadwork make her a sought after designer for brides all over the world. Her silhouettes curve and accent any body shape. Amsale Aberra has been a pioneer in the bridal industry and will continue to dress brides and influence the bridal community with her modern and elegant appeal.

Photos Courtesy of Amsale

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Ali Adam

Cape Fashion Weeks Says"...Ali Adam is a man of many faces, of many worlds, of many cultures. But essentially he is a man of Africa. Although a relative newcomer to haute couture, having recently launched his own label in the latter part of 2004, he is rapidly making his mark amongst discerning socialites.

Born in Kumasi in 1971, Ali’s mother, a skilled seamstress, instilled a sense of fashion in him from an early age. He spent the first 17 years in his native Ghana and was greatly influenced by the rich colours of the traditional Kente fabrics and diverse textures of this vibrant nation, which are evident in his exquisitely made garments today.

After completing his high-school education, Ali moved to Nigeria to study at Eleyele School of Fashion, honing his skill of traditional Ghanaian hand & machine embroidery techniques, which has since become his signature.

In 1993 he relocated to Johannesburg in South Africa to take up a job offer with Remote Clothing for 18 months. During this apprenticeship, interest from a Danish client prompted his next move.

In 1996 Ali moved to Copenhagen, where he spent two years working for an exclusive fashion house – Øhrolos. Exposure to the sophisticated European fashion scene left its mark indelibly on Ali’s work, yet the spirit of his creations continued to stem from a truly African soul. The result is an extraordinary fusion of Euro-African styles.

“ My creations combine those elements of life, of change and of surprise with a sense of luxurious comfort and exclusive well-being ”

His latest evening wear collection, named in honour of his home town – Kumasi, overlap textures that would otherwise never meet. Shot Taffata’s, combined with contemporary structured tailoring, embellished with silk thread and beading are sculpted into exquisite bodices defining the beauty of the female contours, complimented by heavy satin panelled skirts which skim the ground. His daywear is equally arresting, a shocking pink natural fray knee-length jacket with un-selvaged edges, over pagan orange crushed silk culottes would not look out of place worn in London’s, Kings Road.

Not surprisingly, his designs have attracted an exclusive list of clients from as far away as Washington DC, New York, Switzerland and the Netherlands. A highlight in this young man’s career was in 2004, when Ali was commissioned by Miss Sierra Leone, Miatta Dabo to dress her for the prestigious Miss Africa International 2004 Beauty Pageant held at the Lincoln Centre.

After these two consecutively successful shows, Ali was contacted by SABC 3 Free Spirit to dress their popular presenter Thame Ngubani

And perhaps the most important recognition of this young designers incredible talent comes from his peers. Notable among others are Sisterbucks and Zikomo who have both embellished their own ranges with the exquisite embroidery created by Ali and showcased at last years Cape Town Fashion week and the Civic Centre respectively.

Today, Ali lives and works in the heart of Cape Town, where he recently opened his first design studio in Shortmarket street..."

Photos Courtesy of Cape Town Fashion Week

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Umzingeli, meaning hunter and gatherer in Xhosa and Zulu, defines the vision and mission of the company, having made its hunting ground the continent of Africa . The company's logo symbolizes its readiness for the challenges of the 21 st Century and believes passionately in promoting and showcasing the talent of Africa .

Umzingeli Productions specializes in the production and direction of special events for stage and television in the fields of fashion, lifestyle and music.

Jan Malan, director of Umzingeli Productions, a Namibian by birth, is one of the leading show producers in Africa . He conceptualised and spearheaded the Face of Africa Model Search in 1997, which was broadcast to more than 44 African countries and the United States . He pioneered 'Africa Designs', for the first time giving African designers the opportunity to showcase their talents at New York Fashion Week. Subsequently Malan has staged productions in more than twelve countries, including the finals of the Ford Supermodel of the World in the Dominican Republic and in Miami , USA .

He was also responsible for the direction of high profile events such as Afridesia for AngloGold (At New York Fashion Week) and the launch of the African Renaissance Blue Train..."

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Noemie Lenoir says"...Five-foot ten-inch stunner Noemie Lenoir (pronounced "Linwah") hails from the equally breathtaking town of Versailles, just outside of Paris, France..."

Sara Templeton of Webwombat says "...Noemie Lenoir appears to be the next big thing in modeling circles: Like Laetitia Casta, she's not only French, but has all the hallmarks of becoming the mid-naughties' most wanted model.

Noemie has conquered the modeling scene in Europe and America in less than four years, with much of her success down to her image.

She has what industry types would call a "fresh" look: Her mother is from an island off the coast of Madagascar, while her father of French blood. With her emerald eyes, striking hair and 'best walk' according to many, Noemie isn't likely to disappear from the modeling A-list anytime soon.

Talking about her meteoric rise to fame, Noemie said: "I never really enjoy being recognised. I'm not from a show business background, and it is strange to realize that everyone is waiting for me."

Well, in actual fact she said: "Je ne me réjouis pas réellement d'être reconnue. Je ne suis pas issue du milieu du show business, et c'est curieux de réaliser que tout le monde vous cherche," but we just translated.

Born in 1980, Versailles, Noemie was 'discovered' in a post office purchasing stamps when she was 16, by a Ford Models representative.

Soon after being signed up with a Ford agent, she got her first gig doing a shoot for French Marie Claire. After this she landed a GAP clothing campaign, then Ralph Lauren. But before things got too hectic, Noemie decided to finish her schooling and to increase her knowledge of English.

These agenda items completed, she set off for the Big Apple - New York, New York - in 1999 to persue a career in the fashion in industry.

And what a career it's been! Having worked with some of the industry's most recognised photographers - and not by chance, either - such as Mario Testino, Ellen von Unwerth, Peter Lindbergh and others, Noemie Lenoir is as far from the stereotypical model as one could be.

For instance, when a conversation turns to top models, most think of binge drinking, huge A-list parties with more celebs than you can shake a stick at and lots of nudity and raunchy sex. Noemie, however, is the exact opposite, a model preferring to sleep a lot, and who has fresh attitude towards her job.

Some of her work includes the world-famous Pirelli Calendar, campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren Jeans and L'Oreal, has done shoots for magazines Allure, Glamour, Mademoiselle, and multiple internationals for Elle, Vogue and Marie Claire.

She has cat-walked for more than 18 designers, including Gucci and Oscar de la Renta, has been part of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on more than one occasion, has modeled for the US lingerine line Victoria's Secret and has even starred in her first movie - Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre, alongside Gerard Depardieu and Monica Bellucci..."

Photo Courtesy of Noemie Lenoir

Monday, October 10, 2005

Juliana Imai

Part Brazilian, Japanese and Portuguese and recently mentioned in I am Fashion blog as one of the top Asian Supermodels. This lady educated in Buddisim and found at the age of 15 recently modeled for the winter 2005 collection of Gucci.

Juilana Imai a.k.a Mega also has a 1 year old son Ricardo and her family lives in Brazil.

Photo by Don Ashby and Courtesy of STYLE.COM

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Waris Dirie

Waris Dirie says "...Female Genital Mutilation has nothing to do with culture, tradition or religion. It is a torture and a crime, which needs to be fought against..."

Hello Magazine says "...One of 12 children born to desert nomads, Waris escaped being sold into marriage for five camels at the age of 13 by running away to London, where she worked as her uncle's maid. There she taught herself to read and write, and five years later got her big break when a photographer spotted her working in a fast food restaurant. Soon she was gracing catwalks and magazine covers, and even appeared in the 1987 Bond film The Living Daylights.

A decade on, Waris, whose name means "desert flower" in her native tongue, left modelling to campaign for the UN against female circumcision, having been a victim of the process herself aged five. She recorded her extraordinary journey in a best-selling autobiography, Desert Flower, along with its sequel Desert Dawn, and hasn't looked back since leaving the profession. "I can enjoy anywhere, and I can leave it," she says. "Life is about moving on."..."

Photo Courtesy of Uknownpoets

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Vera Wang

Nadia Mustafa of Time Magazine says"... When Vera Wang married businessman Arthur Becker in 1989, she gained more than a husband: she found a calling. Frustrated by her search for a fashion-forward wedding dress, the aspiring designer launched her own collection the following year. Today she is one of the world’s best known bridal-gown designers and the Council of Fashion Designers of America's reigning Womenswear Designer of the Year.

She also presides over a $300 million company, which she's expanding into ready-to-wear,fine jewelry,eyewear and home décor. The daughter of Chinese immmigrants, Wang grew up on Manhattan's Upper East Side. She summered in Paris, attending fashion shows with her mother..."

Photo courtesy of DigitalHit

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Frida Giannini

Frida Giannini is the 33 year old Creative Director of Women's Wear, Gucci. Nadia Mustafa of Time Magazine says ".... The new brain behind the Gucci woman is nothing like Tom Ford. "[Tom's] obsessed with [selling] sex, and I'm not," says Italian Frida Giannini, who calls herself tamer than her brazen former boss. Giannini, who replaced Alessandra Facchinetti as creative director of women's wear at the $2 billion luxury house last spring, is known for her talent as an accessories designer. Now she will have to prove herself in apparel.

Her plan is to bring a timeless quality to Gucci. She cites as an example the success of the Flora line of accessories introduced last year, inspired by the print of an old Gucci scarf made for Grace Kelly. "I want to continue to develop it, not sell it or mark it down," she says.

Giannini landed a job at Fendi in 1997, designing ready-to-wear before switching to leather goods. In 2002 she jumped to Gucci, where she oversaw handbags. In 2004 she was appointed creative director of accessories, which make up more than 80% of the company's sales. "I can't imagine the next fashion show without any jewelry or bags," she says.

Giannini, an avid equestrian, lives with her husband, a Web designer, in Florence. When she isn't finding a muse in objects as mundane as a doorknob—the shape of which she used for the heel of a Gucci shoe—she draws inspiration from the house's archives—for example, prints from scarves of the 1960s and '70s, which she has applied to dresses and shirts in the cruise collection.

Giannini's personality is already finding its way into the label's image. "The Gucci woman enjoys life, is successful in her job and leaves a lasting impression every time she walks into a room," she says, just as easily describing herself...."

Photo courtesy of Klik

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Yasmin Warsame

Yasmin Warsame says " I hope my face is not my only fortune...I believe I had a life before modeling and will always have a life after modeling". This Somali native was discovered in Toronto while in her early 20's by fashion photographer Steven Meisel. She was even told she was " too couturier" in Toronto before she went to Paris to model for some of the top names in Fashion.

Some excerpts quoted from Fashion File Video Collections

Photo Courtesy of Photo by Don Ashby and courtesy of

Saturday, September 24, 2005


Fashionwatch says"...Ai Tominaga has taken the modeling world by storm with her sweet porcelin look and unforgettable walk. Starting out in Kanagawa Japan, Ai was discovered in Tokyo and shortly after appeared on the cove of Vogue Japan.

With her tall lean feminine form, Ai has taken the catwalks by surprise, using her piercing brown eyes to attract the attention on the runway appearing in New York, Paris, Milan and more!...."

Photo by Don Ashby and courtesy of

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Heather Marks

This doll-like elegant model from Canada, born of British parents was apparently spotted on the street at first. says "...When Heather Marks was 12, her mother watched in horror as a panel of judges leaned over their table to gawk at the timid youngster's abnormally large feet.

Mother and daughter had been at the Calgary Women's show when they were cajoled into entering Heather, dressed in jeans and running shoes, into the Mode Models' model search. "If I had known about it I probably would have put her hair in ringlets and put some makeup on her," laughs Pat Marks.

Far from dainty heels, it was Heather's size ten running shoes that carried her down the runway. "And as she walked by, all the judges looked over the table at her feet and were laughing. She was so conscious of her big feet, and I'm like 'Oh my God she's going to just freak.'"

Despite her casual appearance and crimson complexion the super-shy Heather won the model search, and thus a superstar was born.

Voted the current favourite by modelresource readers in our year-end poll, Heather has lit up the modelling world in the past year, posing for the likes of Marc by Marc Jacobs, Moschino and Just Cavalli. She's also become a fixture on the world's runways, doing 77 shows last season alone!..."

Photo courtesy of

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Ujjwala means brilliant or lustrous in Hindi, and a briliant talent she is because she's one of india's most accomplished supermodels.Ujjwala's Official Website says "...Ujjwala Raut was born and raised in Bombay. Being one of five sisters she never had childhood dreams of becoming a model. That was before she was entered into a modeling contest by her older sister, this is the start of Ujjwala's new found career. Ujjwala has become one of India's most sought after models, and an international star with much success on the catwalk and print work...".

Photo Courtesy of Steve Landis

Sunday, September 18, 2005


Kimbely Stephenson writes "...From age 16, when Jaunel McKenzie burst onto the scene, this Portmore resident has continued her ascent up the ladder of success in the fashion industry. McKenzie was the winner of the inaugural Caribbean Model Search in 2002 and ranks 39 in the world.

Jaunel was raised in Nannyville Gardens, Kingston, and attended Excelsior High School. After leaving high school, she was discovered quite by accident. With two months to spare and no solid plans, Jaunel decided to enter the Pulse Model Search; a search she initially thought had more to do with model training. She was unaware of the fact that she had signed up for one of the biggest competitions Jamaica sees annually.

"It is easy to be overwhelmed by the temptations of the industry and those temptations can easily lead to your downfall," she said.She admits to occasionally sneaking some KFC or Burger King into her diet, with the explanation that she has no strict exercise regimen. She dislikes make-up and frequently reminisces on the days when she was able to wear any pair of jeans she wanted to. In her still young career, however, she has had to stick to designer jeans such as Levi's, Guess and Calvin Klein.

Jaunel disagrees with the notion that promiscuity is a hallmark of the profession, and a requirement for getting ahead. "I haven't seen it and it hasn't been presented to me.yet".

She aims to eventually own her own accounting firm and clothing line. She believes she has not yet been changed by her career and hopes she doesn't. "I am still the same person. I haven't changed at all since my modelling career began..."

Photo by Don Ashby and Courtesy of STYLE.COM

Monday, September 12, 2005

Liya says "’s most coveted girl right this minute, pops through her front door, precisely on time . I’m taken aback not because the model is punctual, but because her skin...the Ethiopian stunner is positively glistening. Her complexion is so pristine, all of Grand Street’s morning light seems to be swimming and coiling just beneath the surface of her cafe au lait skin..."

"...And indeed Liya is seven months pregnant , an eventuality that did not impede her last five bookings: Steven Meisel for American Vogue, Mario Testino for the cover of V, Micheal Thompson again for American Vogue, Ines van Lansweerde and Vinoodh Matadin for the latest Vidal Sasson campaign and now Eric Fischer for this cover session.
Hers has been the model success story of the year..."

She has also recently been appointed World Health Organisation's WHO's new goodwill ambassador for maternal, newborn and child health.

Photo Courtesy of

Sunday, September 11, 2005


In Vietnam the popular folk music of Ca trù was originally associated with beautiful woman singers, the music charmed it’s listeners who watched such performances in geisha type lounges in Vietnam in the 15th century.

We describe Myo Nguyen as a Vietnamese Ca trù that charms the fashion modeling world with her beauty and character.

Photo Courtesy of SuperModels


Little is known about this 5'10 1/2 Jamaican model that has sealed modeling contracts for Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy and Levi's. Introduced to the Fashion world by Elite we are yet to see more of this lady.

Photo Courtesy of STYLE.COM

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Lily Cole

Some refer to her as the new Kate Moss but we describe her as a lady that sticks to her principles while modeling for the top names in the world of fashion.

Following the footsteps of Iman by refusing to model for De Beers over claims that Bushmen were evicted to make way for future diamond mining in Botswana.This Stance has brought her a lot of admiration from people outside the fashion modeling community.

Wikipedia describes her as "... a model, whose trademark is her pale skin and red hair. She has been on the cover of magazines such as Vogue and Numero, and in several campaigns, including Chanel and Prada.

She has been compared to Kate Moss. Cole stopped being the spokes model for De Beers after strong lobbying from Survival International. She is currently the spokes model for Topshop, Hermès, Moschino, and Anna Sui cosmetics.

She is seen as part of a new wave of models, who have "doll-like" or "elvin" features, along with models Heather Marks and Gemma Ward. She appeared on the April 2004 cover of British Vogue with Ward, and again, this time solo, in July 2005...”

Photo courtesy of the Telegraph

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


Surazuri agency says "...Nancy ‘Ajuma’ Nasenyana from Turkana made modeling history on the night of January 20th 2004 when she became the first black model EVER to win a modeling contract in an International modeling competition (that was not specifically for women of colour). Ajuma represented Kenya in the worlds most prestigious model search – The Ford Models Supermodel of the World Search, which culminated in a glittering final event featuring hopefuls from 39 countries at The New York Public Library. She was placed 4th runner up and won a $50,000 contract.

Having already done a couple of shows and editorials in Paris and Ireland, Ajuma had the advantage of some experience outside Kenya and had a decent portfolio to show the many international agents present at the Ford event. Aside from the representation she already had in London, Ireland and Paris, she also secured representation in Spain, Denmark, Portugal, Sweden, Austria, Croatia, Australia, South Africa, Panama and the Philippines and the room was buzzing with talk about her.

Following the exciting finals, Ajuma stayed on in New York for fashion week where she modeled with Naomi Campbell and Alek Wek in shows including Baby Phat’s and Carlos Mienes. From there she flew straight to Milan where she did seven shows including for Ferragamo. Next was Paris where she opened the show for Vivian Westwood as well as starring in several others. The winter season shows are officially over, so her next flight is to London where she will begin go-sees for her agency, Bookings. Her 11 page editorial in top Irish Magazine, Image, comes out in April.

In June, Ajuma will head home to Kenya to star in Kenya Fashion Week. This girl will not forget her roots and will make her country proud.

Ajuma’s first foray into modeling came about when she entered the Miss Tourism competition in 2003. She was crowned Miss Nairobi. Spotted by Lyndsey McIntyre, she was the main feature in a photo story by Gamma Photo Agency which was later sold to Gala magazine, France. Ajuma also featured in The Face Magazine (UK) and The Daily Record (Scotland). She is a 400 m and 800 m runner who is in training in Ireland.
Ajuma is the Kenyan entrant to the Ford Models Supermodel of the World 2003 finals in New York in January. She is articulate and intelligent and has vast potential to make it as a top international model..."

Photo courtesy of Surazuri