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Nyasha Matonhodze

At just 16, Zimbabwean-born model Nyasha Matonhodze has been named as one of the faces of luxury label Louis Vuitton’s 2011 Autumn/Winter campaign. The news has made headlines around the world, turning the shy teenager into a household name overnight.

"At 14, my mum and my stepdad went into Elite Models to see if I could actually model. Since I was 12, I was tall and thin so I would always get the whole ‘you should be a model’, but I never really developed a serious interest about it until [TV show] ‘America’s Next Top Model’. Seriously, that’s when it all changed for me. Everything I wanted was pretty much based off that show.”

She’s a Leo (born 31 July, 1995) and is five foot eleven (180cm). She was born in Zimbabwe and raised by her grandmother in a very “cultural, traditional household. It’s much different than the British culture where my mom lived. I moved to England when I was eight, so I do still have memories of Zimbabwe – falling asleep in the sand, bathing outside, the warmth of the sun, and just the way of living”.

She last visited Zimbabwe three years ago. “It’s so lovely – they’re happy with who they are and their traditions. I love going back home.” "My discovery wasn't a discovery," says Nyasha, seen here in her Elite Models photo She’s grateful to her dad for teaching her “the Christian way of life” and to her mother for being such an inspiration. “She was a single mother at 18 who moved to London without knowing anyone. She’s always worked hard and seeing her overcome so much in life has been an inspiration for me.”