The African Star: Flaviana Lavvy Matata
Born and raised in Tanzania, Flaviana Matata’s stellar rise in the modeling industry sounds like a fairy tale and an inspiration to many African women. Having lost her mother in her childhood to a tragic boat accident of the ferry boat MV Bukoba that capsized on Lake Victoria, Flaviana grew up with her siblings raised by a single parent. She studied Electric Engineering at Arusha Technical College. Her star started shining when she rose to international fame in 2007 after she won the Miss Universe Tanzania title and became the first woman to represent her country in Miss Universe.
Flaviana was the first bald woman to compete in a beauty pageant, defying the notion of beauty. Her natural African look and her charming personality propelled her to 6th place in the finals of Miss Universe 2007 in Mexico City.
Flaviana has the passion for social services and has used her fame in the global beauty industry to support worthy charity activities in her native country by being a Goodwill Ambassador of SOS Children’s Village Tanzania and working with youth on drug addiction. Flaviana has also travelled the world as Tanzania’s representative in various events including the glamorous esteemed BudapestOpera Ball in 2008. After finishing her reign as Miss Universe Tanzania, Flaviana continued with her modeling career in South Africa with Ice Models. She is currently signed with Boss Models SA.
In a visit to a charity event in New York, Flaviana was discovered by Russell Simmons who helped her secure interviews with modeling agencies in the US. She went on to sign with an international agency – NEXT Network. Flaviana is based in New York City and currently works in New York, London, Paris, and Milan. She has been listed as the top 10 Black Models in Essence Magazine and online magazine Models and Moguls.
Flaviana has worked with some of the most respected professionals in the fashion industry. She has strutted the catwalk for Tommy Hilfiger, Jason Wu, Rachel Roy, Charlotte Ronson, Tony Burch and Vivienne Westwood among others. Her photos have been taken by some of the prominent photographers in the industry like Russell James, her mentor Fadil Berisha, Josh Ollin, Mario Torres, Patrick Demarchelier, to mention a few. Flaviana has graced the catwalks of New York, London, and Paris.
Flaviana won the Model of the Year 2011 award at the Arise Magazine Fashion week in Lagos, Nigeria. Flaviana was also part of Top Shop campaign in Europe & USA and the TiGi hair campaign. Flavaina was featured in various prestigious magazines including Essence, Nylon magazine, Glass magazine, Arise Magazine, FA Japan, and the high fashion L’Officiel Paris magazine. She has also modeled for the catalogues of Macy and Sheri Hill, among others.
Apart from her modeling career, Flaviana is also turning her attention to charity. She is Angel Ambassador of Diamond Empowerment Fund (DEF) along with Kim Kardashian, Nicola Breytenbach-Steiner, and Selita Banks. Kim, Nicola, and Selita are working closely with Russell Simmons on various charities in Africa. Through her foundation – Flaviana Matata Foundation – she is reaching out and helping women and children of her home country Tanzania through various charity activities. Flaviana is also the Goodwill Ambassador of Mitindo House – a Tanzanian charity.
In addition, Flaviana is working with Life project for Africa, and has worked with various philanthropists in different projects including Carlton Masters, and Hope Sullivan. Flaviana Matata is available for various engagements through her agency.
Picture/Content Credit: Facebook page “Flaviana Lavvy Matata”
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