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Last Updated: Friday, 29 February 2008, 14:23 GMT
Top model's body found in river
The model, Katoucha, presenting a creation for French designer Yves Saint Laurent in Paris (22/01/02)
Katoucha became a global catwalk star in the 1980s
French police have confirmed that a body found in the River Seine in Paris was that of the Guinean former top model, Katoucha Niane.

Her body was spotted under a bridge by a passer-by a month after she vanished.

Officials said her death seemed to be accidental, but that a post-mortem examination was needed to determine the exact cause of death.

She was one of the first black African models to become a global catwalk star, in the 1980s.

The mother of three, originally from Guinea, disappeared after being dropped off from a party. Her handbag was later recovered near the houseboat where she lived.

Outspoken campaigner

Aged 47, and known simply as Katoucha, she worked with some of the world's top designers at the height of her career, including Yves Saint-Laurent and Christian Lacroix.

I embodied the most arrogant and admired kind of femininity, I who was supposed to be diminished
Katoucha Niane

She left the catwalk in 1994, but in recent years made headlines as an outspoken campaigner against female circumcision, launching a foundation against the practice.

Having undergone the procedure herself at the age of nine, in Guinea, Ms Niane recounted the ordeal in a recent book, called In My Flesh.

She said she saw her career as a top model as a form of "revenge" for the horror of genital mutilation.

SEE ALSO
Three held in model death probe
20 Feb 08 |  Northern Ireland
Model's death remains a mystery
10 Feb 07 |  Americas



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