Liya Kebede: Beauty Beyond the Runway


Name: Liya Kebede

Born: March 1, 1978

Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Height: 5’10.5″

Measurements: 32″/ 23″/ 34″

Agencies: IMG New York, Viva Model Management Paris, d’management group Milan, IMG London, Viva Model Management Barcelona, Iconic Management Hamburg and IMG Australia.



Liya Kebede moved from her home in Ethiopia to Paris,France at the age of 18. She debuted a year later at the spring Ralph Lauren and BCBG Max Azria shows in New York. Kebede was personally selected by Tom Ford for an exclusive contract for the Gucci Fall/Winter 2000 fashion show. She gained mass amounts of attention when she landed the cover of the May 2002 edition of Vogue Paris. In 2003, she made history becoming the FIRST black model to represent world renowned cosmetic company Estée Lauder.

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Recently, Kebede was asked to star in diamond jeweler De Beers’ “Moments in Light” campaign. Moment in LightThe women that have been selected for this project are talented in many ways. One of the many things that makes Kebede so special is her work with the World Health Organization as a Goodwill Ambassador from 2005-2011. The portraits for this campaign are auctioned off, and the proceeds benefit Women for Women International. This organization provides aid to women in post-war countries. Portraits are taken by renowned photographer and project curator Mary McCartney. Kebede says that her “Moment in Light” is being a mother to her two children. That is a moment that she is most proud of.

This beautiful model has also connected her home country of Ethiopia with the fashion industry that she knows so well. Kebede started a clothing line called Lemlem, which she founded in 2007. After taking a trip back to her native country, she realized how many traditional weavers were out of work. If they were out of work, there was no money coming in, and the beauty of their work was not being appreciated. Lemlem is made of natural cotton, and in Amharic it means, “to bloom” or “to flourish”.


Kebede launched the The Liya Kebede Foundation in 2005. The mission of this foundation is to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality and to improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and children in Africa. This is accomplished through advocacy, education, grant development and partnerships.

Liya Kebede was named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” in 2010.

“If nothing else, I want women to understand that they are powerful. If you look back at history, in almost every big moment, in every leap forward, you find ordinary women at the core. We have more ability to make changes in the world than we can imagine if we have the courage to try.”- Liya Kebede


Arch & Point: The Brow Campaign

Your eyebrows set the balance for your face…they keep things in order so to speak. Before you can achieve this “balance”, there are some steps that you must take!

Ask yourself, “What is my face shape?

Why is this important? There is no such thing as the “perfect brow shape” that suits everyone. Also, if you have spent years waxing and tweezing…you may not know what your natural brow shape is. Don’t go back and try to find childhood photos right now. Just pay attention.

There are 6 categories of face shapes that majority of people fit into: Square, Oval, Round, Heart, Diamond and Oblong. 

If you’re not sure what your face shape is, don’t worry. SNAP A SELFIE!! A front facing picture will help you. Do not smile or make any expressions in this photo. You are doing this to find your natural face shape. Now let’s analyze the picture.


If the sides of your face are straight, your face is almost as wide as it is long, and your jawline is defined with a small curve… You have a Square face shape.

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Celebrity example: Cara Delevingne

If your forehead that is slightly wider than your chin, your jawline is a bit rounded, and your face is longer than it is wide…You have an Oval face shape.

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Celebrity example:  Beyoncé Knowles-Carter

If your cheekbones are the widest part of your face and your jaw is a bit curved then you have a Round face shape. Some associate this face shape with having “chubby cheeks“, but that is not always the case.

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Celebrity example: Mila Kunis

If you have a long, pointed jawline, and your chin is the smallest point of your face…You have a Heart face shape. This face shape is sometimes called an “Inverted Triangle” for obvious reasons, but the chin area does not have to be an exact point!

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Celebrity example: Miranda Kerr

If your chin is narrow and pointed, your cheekbones are high and your hairline is narrow in width, then you have a Diamond face shape. This face shape is the least common.

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Celebrity example: Kourntey Kardashian

If your forehead, cheeks and jawline are pretty much the same width all the way down…You have an Oblong face shape. Think of this face shape as a rectangle.

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Celebrity example: Joan Smalls

Now that you know your face shape…Let’s find your brow shape!

Square face shapes are balanced by eyebrows that are strong, but they must have a slight curve. The goal is to make an “even playing field”. Your jawline is the most distinct feature. A strong brow will complement nicely. Feel free to go a shade darker than your usual brow color, but NEVER use black! It will come off extremely harsh.

Ohhh lucky lucky you! If you have an Oval face, the struggle is not that bad. Your face is balanced already. A brow with a soft angle will do your face justice. Just make sure that your arch is not too defined. Pin thin arches are a no go!

Round face shapes can take this post title and run with it. Arch & Point!! Brows with high and sharp angles add a vertical point in the face. This will make the face appear a bit longer. Let your brow follow a slight upward slant until you get to your arch.

Heart face shapes are a bit tricky. The main focus is already directed toward the eyes and forehead. No major arching is necessary. Try to keep the arch semi-straight, and make sure your brows are neatly trimmed. This will soften up the look around the eye area.

Brows for Diamond shaped faces are similar to those with Oval face shapes. A nice curved brow will balance the face. The goal is to make the widest portion of your face (cheek area) appear more narrow.

For Oblong face shapes, very arched brows will make the face appear longer than it already is. We don’t want that! A straighter brow will serve as a “horizontal” marker, and will make the face appear a bit shorter because they extend outward.