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Yasmeen Ghauri-Face Of An Angel With a Body Of a Goddess

Naomi Campbell, Holy Trinity, Claudia are models that come to our mind whenever the topic of 90’s supermodel comes. Of course, they are the legend who can still bring a minimal fashion campaign from 0 to 100. But there was a model that broke barriers for ethnic models when the fashion circle was predominated by blue-eyed blonde, white models. Yasmeen Ghauri’s entry opened doors for many who were considered too ethnic for runways. Her impact on the runway can be still observed. Her body postures, runway walk (As Tyra Banks put it “her hips dislocate when she walked”) are copied by many new models in the current scenario. She had the power of making an outdated outfit into a glamorous one while making a supermodel league more diverse.

Born to Pakistani –German parents Moin and Linda Ghauri in Montreal Canada. Her father was an Imam in Canadian Muslim Community. During an interview, she said – “We were not allowed to dance. You are not really supposed to show skin, you are supposed to be covered and be modest and all these things are completely opposite of what I am doing now.” Her modeling career was opposed by both of her parents but later went along with her decision. She was spotted by Edward Zaccharia, the artistic director of Platine Coiffure outside a hair salon. Giovanni Bernardi, her Canadian agent said in an interview- “Whenever we hire a new girl, we have to change them, cut their hair or develop them to make her more in-demand but with Yasmeen, there was absolutely nothing we had to change.” Later she quit her job in McDonald’s and left Montreal for the runways of Paris and Milan.

Within 3 years of modeling, Yasmeen was charging almost 5000$ for a show, making her one of the most successful models. Due to her mixed heritage, Yasmeen became increasingly well known among designers and casting directors. Industry coined the term Canadian Invasion for her as she took the industry by storm. The New York Times described her as “Coffee skinned Yasmeen Ghauri whose hard-to-get gaze was bellied by the ball bearing swivel of her hips” in an article in 1991. Her breakthrough came when she walked for Yves Saint Laurent in a body-hugging black dress. Audiences, photographers were mesmerized by her beauty who was then put up on the map. Soon she became one of the most in-demand model from many brands like Versace, Fendi, Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Lanvin, Thierry Mugler, Dior, and many more. She graced the covers of glossy magazines from Vogue to Elle, shooting campaign with top photographers Steven Mesial, Patrick Demarchelier. Her runway shows include Versace, Chanel, Helmut Lang, and Lanvin. In 1991 she became the face of Christian Dior and Anne Klein. By 1992 she was chosen as the face of Valentino couture and Versace. Strutting her walk in Versace infamous Bondage fashion show is still considered as the most memorable moment in Versace show history. Although it received lot criticism but that didn’t affect her career in any way, she went on to become the face of Hermes and Lanvin in 1993. Due to her hourglass figure with a tiny waist, Yasmeen was best known for sexy, seductive poses. This landed her a contract with Victoria’s secret. By 1996 she became the first model with South Asian heritage to walk in Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Unlike other models, Yasmeen was very reserved and grounded. She was hardly seen out partying or dating famous celebrities. She treated modeling as a job, not as a lifestyle. Behind her success, it was her body and her walk, the most statuesque beauty you will ever see. The super-wide shoulder, swan-like neck, tiny waist with a distinctive swivel of her hips that made her walk so famous. It was very graceful yet sexy at the same time. Her body was the inspiration behind the famous Givenchy Organza perfume bottle. Gianni Versace once quoted –“Yasmeen has the face of an angel and a body like a goddess”.

In 1997, she retired from modelling to focus more on her personal life. There were rumours that she is starting a family, nothing was confirmed. Since then, not much information or interviews were available on Yasmeen. Although she left modelling at the peak of her career her legacy continues to live on. To this day her career is the most talked about and her walk is still copied by many new models. Her retirement looks more like a book with an unfinished ending. Her career spanned for a decade in which her achievements were quite impressive and inspirational. It was remarkable to break barriers during the late ’90s for ethnic models to work in modelling and achieving so much in such a short period of time, surely it was one nothing but a fairytale.

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