Karima Adebibe: the latest Lara Croft

Dan Poole
Monday 28 August 2006 00:00 BST

Being an adventuring, all-action, super woman is a full-time job, as Karima Adebibe will testify. Taking on the persona of Lara Croft for the latest computer game in the series, Tomb Raider: Legend, has been almost as challenging as if she were slaying enemies and dodging boulders herself!

Adebibe's training for the role has involved flying helicopters, world archaeology, elocution lessons and even firing semi-automatic weapons. "It has been an amazing experience. I'd come to the end of a day of doing SAS combat training and be really exhausted - physically and mentally - but then get all excited again when I was told I'd be learning how to fire a gun the next day. I just had to dose myself up on vitamin C to keep going!"

Even getting the job was a bit of a slog. "I'd just got back from holiday in Morocco and it was a bit of a down time for me, as every model has from time to time, with not many jobs coming in. I was seriously considering quitting to be honest. Then I saw the call for the Lara Croft audition and decided to go along. It was a one-and-a-half month process, which is really long for a casting, but then at the end they told me I had got it and I couldn't believe it. I was exhausted after all that but it was worth it!"

Before Adebibe slipped into her new uniform and began her rather unique education, she studied at an international school in London, having come to live in the UK from Morocco (she is half Moroccan, quarter Irish and quarter Greek). Then, at the age of 17, she went to the London School of Printing to do a foundation course in fashion theory. "I was always more creative than I was academic. I've been offered modelling jobs since the age of about 12 but my mum would never let me do them because obviously I was too young. Then while I was doing the foundation I was offered more and ended up doing a big campaign for Coca-Cola. I expected the modelling to just be something to do at the weekend but then I was doing so many jobs, covers for girls' magazines and that sort of thing, that I decided to stop doing the fashion course and concentrate on modelling instead."

Obviously being able to earn some extra cash was attractive to Adebibe, but there was more to it than that. "Even after doing just a few shoots I felt like I was learning so much more about the fashion industry than I was when the tutors were trying to explain things to us in college - it was then that I decided I would start doing it full-time."

The modelling fired one of Adebibe's other passions too. One of her favourite models is the Danish superstar Helena Christensen, and like her she would one day like to try and forge a successful career from behind the camera, as opposed to in front of it. "Photography first started to interest me when I was doing fashion theory and again felt like I wanted to do something more than just sitting in a classroom. I was just taking pictures with my little cameras but then I started collecting them too and I'd be developing them and thinking, 'how does this work?'

"During shoots I'd also find myself thinking how I would do things differently, and I do like the idea of doing a photography course one day."

However, much like Miss Croft, Miss Adebibe has a lot of strings to her bow. "I definitely like the idea of going to LA and doing an acting course while working as a waitress, doing all that thing. I've also just been asked to take part in a campaign against climate change which I'm really excited about, so I've been reading up on that to learn as much as I can. People ask me what I want to do but there are just so many things!"

In the meantime Adebibe has also been signed up to promote Eidos's special 10th anniversary Tomb Raider game for the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP), so she'll need to concentrate on her shooting skills and rescuing hapless victims for a while yet. Then she can get back to shooting film, or saving the environment, or the fashion industry...

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