Yasmin Warsame (b. May 5, 1976) is a world famous fashion model originally from Mogadishu, Somalia. She was discovered in 1997 while working as a medical office administrator in Toronto after moving to Canada with her family at age 15. Warsame was initially reluctant to display her body as a fashion model, but came to enjoy the work after giving it a try. She is known for her high cheekbones, couture look, and beautiful hair, and was called “the next Iman” when she rose to stardom as a haute couture model. She has been featured in numerous fashion shows, walking the runway in 2013 for Dior Haute Couture, Giorgio Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Givenchy. She started out as a runway model after moving to Paris in 2002 when she had trouble finding modeling work in Canada, and has walked for Christian Dior, Diane von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Ellen Tracy, Etro, Balenciaga, Elie Saab, Viktor & Rolf, Peter Som, Bouddica, Heatherette, Ralph Lauren, Alice Roi, Alexander McQueen, Chanel, Lanvin, Fendi, Pucci, Gianfranco Ferre, Moschino, Akris, John Galliano, Kenzo, Naeem Khan, St. John, and many others. She notably closed the 2009 Steven Burrows spring/summer ready-to-wear show in a mermaid-tailed column with suspended sleeves, a showcase of the designer’s evolving style. Warsame has been photographed by Gilles Bensimon, Steven Meisel, and Max Abadian. She also appeared in the Lavazza calendar in 2003.
Her recent magazine editorials include: Grey Magazine Italy (2013), Interview Russia (2013), Vogue Italia (2011, 2008), and Vogue Paris (2008). Warsame has appeared on the cover of Elle France (November 2013), French Revue de Modes (September 2004), Flare Canada (March 2003), Amica (October 2003), and Elle Spain (October 2003). Recently, in December 2011, she appeared on the cover of YYZ Living. She has been featured in advertisements for Dolce & Gabbana, Banana Republic, Chanel, Revlon, Shiseido, Ann Taylor, Hermes, Gap, Escada, Neiman Marcus, Jones New York, H&M, L’Oreal, MAC, and Nordstrom. Warsame was also the face of Chanel’s popular Allure fragrance in 2003.
Warsame was named “The Most Alluring Canadian” in a Fashion Magazine poll in 2004. She graduated from Seneca College, where she studied psychology and social sciences. Warsame married at age 19 and got a divorce 4 years later. She has a son named Hamzah, and was 5 months pregnant during her first fashion show. She is a Muslim and a social activist who volunteers for Canada’s Somali Youth Coalition. She also works for a charity called The African Future which supplies Somali hospitals and schools with essential equipment. She is very passionate about promoting Canadian designers, saying, “By wearing the work of Canadian designers I am showcasing them, and in my way giving thanks for a journey in fashion that continues to be incredible.” She feels that giving back is an important part of having a career in fashion, and she says, “Me and this organization may not be able to take care of all of Somalia's problems, but we can feed some people and give them the experience of what it feels like to have a good, full meal.” In 2007, she was a judge on the reality television series Canada’s Next Top Model, which lasted until 2009.
Noting that she has faced some racial discrimination in the industry throughout her career, Warsame hopes to see more diversity in fashion in the future. She remarked on this in a recent interview, saying, “Let's not eliminate the beauty of the world and the very many different ways that we look from the runway.” Her friends include Tiiu Kiuk, Iman, Michelle Alves, Lily Cole, and Carmen Kass. She currently lives and works in New York.
Warsame works with IMG in New York, Paris, and London, View Management in Barcelona, and Hamburg’s Mega Model Agency.