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Gloria Reuben

gloriareubenGloria Reuben (1964- ) is a Canadian actress. She played Jeanie Boulet on the television show  “E.R.” from 1995 to 1999. In 2000 she went on tour with Tina Turner as a backing singer. She has been in films like “Timecop” (1994), “Nick of Time”  (1995) and “Feast of All Saints” (2001). Currently in 2009 she plays Roz on “Raising the Bar” on TNT on Monday nights.

On “E.R.” she played the first regular character on television who was HIV-positive. The producers had promised her character would not die. But in 1999, when she got burnt out and told them she was leaving the show, they wanted her character to die. She said no: how would that affect all those viewers who are HIV-positive? She got her way.

She went from playing an HIV-positive character on television to someone who speaks out against AIDS. It is, even now, the number one killer in America of black women ages 25 to 34.

Before she became an actress she was a beauty queen and a model. In 1986 she became Miss Black Ontario. Her mother and father are both from Jamaica, but because her father is white some said she did not represent the black experience. When asked about that in 2008, she noted that some say that Obama is “not black enough”.

One time when an interviewer kept calling her “African American” she got upset and said she is not African American but Jamaican Canadian.

Modelling led to acting. In 1988 she left Toronto, where she grew up, and went to Los Angeles. She made enough from appearing in television ads, like for Luvs Diapers and Nestle’s Sweet Success, that she could work full-time at becoming an actress.

In 1996 People magazine named her one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. According to this blog she is the eighth most beautiful black woman in the world.

Even in her 40s she is still beautiful. A man in line at Fedex told her that she looks like a young Gloria Reuben – not knowing that he was talking to Gloria Reuben herself!

It is her eyes mainly that make her beautiful, but her lips, her thick, black hair and cheekbones help too.

Although she is famous as an actress, music is her first love. She started learning to play the piano at age five, joined rock bands when she got older and in time studied music and ballet at the Royal Canadian Conservatory.

She had always wanted to be a singer. So when she met Tina Turner backstage one time and Turner asked her if she wanted to go on tour with her as a dancer and backing singer, she jumped at it. It was one of the greatest experiences of her life. Later she came out with some songs of her own. One of them is a strangely laid-back cover of Chaka Khan’s “Sweet Thing”.

In 1999 she moved back to the East Coast, to New York – she missed the winters! – and got married to television producer Wayne Isaak. She lives there still with her husband. No children as far as I know.

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yasmin12

Yasmin Warsame (1976- ), also known as ياسمين ابشير ارسام, is one of the most successful Canadian fashion models of all time. She was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, the same place that Iman is from, but later she fled to Canada. She has grace, class and one of those beautiful, perfect faces. She now lives in New York where she works for IMG, modelling for top designers in both New York and Paris.

Michael Kors calls her the new Iman. Fashion magazine in 2004 named her “The Most Alluring Canadian”.

About black beauty she says:

I believe that “Black beauty” is underrated and isn’t appreciated, so that’s what I want to represent in this modelling industry. I want to inspire young girls and women all around the world to follow their dreams, especially women of colour.

I just love her.

yasmin_warsame1She is tall and thin: she stands 1.78 metres tall (5 foot 10) and her measurements are 81-61-89 cm (32-24-35 inches). She has a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.69, giving her more of an hourglass figure than most fashion models.

She has one of those faces that can look either unmistakably African or like a brown-coloured white woman, depending on how she is made up – which probably matters in something as white as the fashion industry. She is known for her high cheekbones.

Her family left Somalia for Toronto, Canada. There she studied psychology at university and got into modelling. Unlike most models she did not start modelling till her 20s and did not become well-known till after she had already had a child.

yasmin06When she was four months away from giving birth to her son, she was booked to model for the Sears catalogue. Sears said she was too “couture”. So in the summer of 2002 she moved to Paris, the centre of all things couture. There she had only one thing on her mind: “Walking down the runway… and not falling.”

Paris proved to be her big break: there Steven Meisel took pictures of her for a feature in Italian Vogue. From that she went on to model for top designers.

She has also appeared in ads for Revlon, Chanel, Banana Republic (as a token), Neiman Marcus and others.

She has appeared on the magazine covers of Surface, Trace, Canadian Flare, French Revue de Modes, Italian Amica, British, American and Spanish Elle and Italian and American Vogue. Among others. She was in the all-black issue of Italian Vogue in July 2008.

In 2007 she was a judge on “Canada’s Next Top Model”.

One her best moments modelling:

It was when I sent my mum (in Somalia) a large amount of money. I spoke to her and she was almost in tears. That was the moment that made modelling so worth it.

Among her friends are the models Iman, Belinda Baidoo, Oluchi Onweagba and Ubah Hassan.

She says:

I hope my face is not my only fortune…I believe I had a life before modelling and will always have a life after modelling.

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