Model Monday: Katoucha Niane
Katoucha Niane, a Guinean beauty born during intense political unrest, used her experiences as motivation to make her dreams a reality. Born to be an activist, Katoucha’s family’s political opposition to then Guinean President, Sekou Toure, forced the family into exile. Katoucha was separated from her family and lived with an uncle in Mali, until age twelve, when she was reunited with her family in Dakar. By age seventeen she was married and had given birth to her first child,soon after she and her husband emigrated to France.
Her modeling potential was discovered upon her arrival in France in the 1980s. Thierry Mugler, Paco Rabanne, Christian Lacroix, and Yves Saint Laurent escorted her into the industry. She eventually became known as Yves Sant Laurent’s “muse.” Also known as “the Peul Princess,” referring to her Fula heritage, she worked and wrote under the name “Katoucha.”Her father is Djibril Tamsir Niane, a historian, playwright and storyteller, most noted for translating Sundiata for the Western world.
In 1994 Niane refocused her energy to fight against female circumcision, a prevalent issue in some African countries and one that she herself was forced to endure at age 9. She went on to found her own organization against female circumcision, KPLCE.
Katoucha passed away in 2008 following a mysteries series of unknown events.