(NEW YORK) Ralph Lauren has a long history of tapping models just as they explode on the fashion scene, and he's likely to feature another fascinating beauty in his runway show next Friday at Skylight Studio. Twenty-one-year-old Ubah Hassan was born in Somalia and grew up in the city of Baidoa. In 1991, after a year of political unrest, Ubah's mother fled the country with her sisters, while Ubah and her younger brother stayed behind with her father. The three sought refuge in Kenya in 1994. Eventually, the family relocated to Canada, and in 2001, after 10 years of separation, Ubah tracked down her mother and sisters to learn that they were also living in Vancouver. The family was reunited.
When Ubah was 17, a photographer approached her to do test shots, which he then sent to an agency in Canada. In 2007, her travel restrictions were loosened and she obtained a working visa. Immediately, she was signed with Click Model Management in New York. By 2008, Franca Sozzani cast her in Italian Vogue's first-ever "Black issue," photographed by Steven Meisel. When casting his Spring 2009 collection, Lauren selected her as his new face and chose her to close the runway show. Ubah was immediately selected for her unique look and was chosen to close the runway show, a significant statement from the designer. Following her runway debut, Ubah was selected to appear in Ralph Lauren's Spring 2009 Advertising Campaign, which launched in the February issue of French Vogue. The ads are beginning to appear in March issues stateside.
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