Gelila Bekele was born in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. As a young child, the future top-model moved with her family to Europe. Then one day, after having relocated to the United States, Gelila’s life changed when an advertising art director discovered her on the way to school. Ultimately she signed with Ford Models and her career on the runways of New York and Europe took off.
In a few short years Gelila has posed for the world’s top designers and been featured in major advertising campaigns. The almond-skinned beauty is perhaps best known for her full, curly hair that has graced beauty campaigns for Pantene Pro-V and L’Oreal, as well as fashion magazines.
"Modeling is a wonderful gate through which to see the world," Gelila says. "and it has provided me with so many opportunities." In her post-modeling stage of her life, the Ethiopian dynamo is dedicated to pursuing production and her passion as filmmaker.
Gelila is also a humanitarian and social activist. Taking advantage of her status as a celebrated model, she devotes much of her time to helping people in developing countries attain fundamental natural resources. "I have a duty to people on the other side of the world who often have no access to clean water," she says. Gelila is most passionate about her work with the organization Charity:Water, founded by photographer and entrepreneur Scott Harrison.
"At this time in my life I’m a real sponge. I’m learning simplicity and how to wear my body. I’m enjoying life and trying to be the best me! This is all just the beginning of something big."