Supermodel Katoucha found dead in river Seine
Saturday 01 March 2008
Police in Paris have found the body of one of the world's first black supermodels, a month after she went missing on her way home from a party.
Katoucha Niane, who became a global catwalk star in the 1980s, disappeared on 31 January while returning to her houseboat moored in the centre of Paris. Her body, which a passer-by spotted under a bridge on Thursday, bore no marks that suggested she had been attacked. "She fell into the water and went straight to the bottom," a source close to the investigation said.
Police said a post-mortem examination would be performed to establish whether the 47-year-old had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs when she fell into the water, and whether drowning was the cause of death.
Katoucha, as she was universally known, was one of the first black African models to achieve worldwide stardom. Only after she had stepped down from the catwalk, at the age of 34, did she reveal the traumatic secret from her childhood in Guinea, west Africa, that lay behind the self control and sense of powerful femininity that she displayed in her professional life.
Modelling, she said, was a kind of revenge for the terrible experience of genital mutilation which she was put through, in accordance with custom in parts of Africa, when she was just nine years old. "One day, my mother said we were going to the cinema. And I found myself the victim of a horror movie, an unimaginable trauma that I had never managed to talk about, until I found love and wrote In My Flesh" she wrote in her autobiography, In My Flesh, published in 1994.
After that, she wrote: "I embodied the most arrogant and admired kind of femininity, I who was supposed to be diminished."
Also in 1994 she founded Association Katoucha pour la lutte contre l'excision, to campaign against the practice and provide help for the women who had been subjected to it. Her website urged: "Let's draw attention to the religious, medical, psychological and social realities of this ancestral practice."
She first became famous as a model for Thierry Mugler, Paco Rabanne and Christian Lacroix, but it was being the face of Yves Saint Laurent in the 1980s that made her a star. Dominique Deroche, the head of PR at the fashion house, said: "She was exactly like a Yves Saint Laurent drawing, a proud head on a long neck, very slim but with strong shoulders, made for haute couture."
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Giorgio Armani criticises the way some gay men dress saying 'a man has to be a man'
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£16000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SEO Executive is required to...
£16000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued expansion, an ...
£65000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A long-established, tech...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...