Abdi Bile (former middle distance runner)
Abdi was born in Las Anod, Somalia in 1962. His early upbringing was reflective of the nomadic lifestyle of his people. Throughout his life, he has successfully accomplished plenty. First off, he holds many national records for athletic regulations. He was the 1987 world champion in the 1500 metres. Amazingly, Bile was the first to do so. The final 800 m of the 1500, he ran in 1:46:00. This made him the fastest in history to ever accomplish this. Within his lifetime, he was a two time Olympian. Unfortunately, he couldn’t acquire anymore Olympic titles due to his health injuries. He ultimately ended up passing up the next few Olympics due to injuries sustained. Bile was also successful in his academic career. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in marketing management from George Mason University. Clearly, his accomplishments are nothing but a success for the people of Somalia and their heritage.
Ayub Daud (International footballer}
Presently 26 years old, this international football player hailed from Somalia. He was born in the country capital, Mogadishu, in 1990. It would seem that his entrance into sports makes him a legacy player. His father Daud Hussein was also a football player on the Somalia national football team. At the age of five, Ayub moved to Italy with his family. An interesting trivia fact is Ayub was deemed the best scorer at Torneo di Viareggio during the 2009 tournament. He continues to play for the Somali National football team and Budafest Honved FC.
WarisDirie model, author, actress, human rights activist
WarisDirie’s life began in 1965 in a place called Galkayo, Somalia. The state of her early upbringing was nomadic like most Somali cities during this time. At the age of 13, she had to unfortunately run away from home to escape an arranged marriage. She ended up in the country’s capital Mogadishu. For the next couple of years, she bunked with relatives including her sister and then uncle. Her uncle at the time was an ambassador. In 1987, Waris was discovered by a reputable photographer. He ultimately to her first modeling gig for the 1987 Pirelli calendar. Her career skyrocketed following this gig landing her modeling roles with brands like Chanel and Levi’s. It isn’t always that case that people are ready to open up about personal struggles faced within their culture. Waris did just that. She was able to open up to media about female genital mutilation and her own personal experience. Her path then included activism as she fought for human rights. Her book, Desert Flower, was released detailing her autobiography.
Iman Mohamed Abdulmajid model, actress, entrepreneur
This internationally known supermodel was born in 1955 in the country’s capital, Mogadishu. She was born to a father that is a diplomat and former Somalia ambassador and a gynecologist as a mother. Her early childhood was spent at boarding school in Egypt and traveling back and forth between Somalia and Kenya. She caught a big break when American photographer Peter Beard discovered her. From there, her career took up into instant success. She became an immediate favorite amongst high end brands. In 1994, she launched her cosmetics line, Iman Cosmetics, which would ultimately become a multimillion dollar empire. It is said that she was a “pioneer in the field of ethnic cosmetics”. David Bowie became her second and final husband in 1992 with the marriage lasting until his death in 2016. Between two of her marriages, she had two children. This Muslim model has created a brand for herself putting Somalia on the international map.