Katoucha Niane, a former top model for world class designers, was found dead Thursday, February 28 in the Seine River near the Gariglaiano Bridge in Paris, France.
Simply known as Katoucha, the 47-year-old high fashion model and mother of three, had been missing since January and was last seen returning home to her houseboat near the Paris-Alexandre III Bridge. Her handbag was later found on the boat.
An autopsy did not reveal any signs of foul play and there is speculation that she may have accidentally fallen into the river.
After retiring from the runway, she became an activist against female circumcision. Recounting her own experiences at age nine in her book, Katoucha, In My Flesh, published in 2007, she said, I will never get the incomparable pain out of my head.
In 1994, she created her own clothing label, after years of modeling for designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Christian Lacroix and others. She was one of the first Africans to achieve top model status.
Most recently, Katoucha embraced the art of acting as a beautiful and rebellious woman in Remata, which may be released later this year.