Ugandan Born Top Nineties Model Kiara Kabukuru Makes Triumphant Comeback 12 Years After Near Fatal Crash Almost Ended Her Career

Posted April 10, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Fashion ~ 7,842 views


Nineties model Kiara Kabukuru thought her career was over after a horrific car accident nearly killed her, after reconstructive surgeries and more than a decade of recovery, she is plotting her return. The 37-year-old former Victoria’s Secret model was riding her bicycle around New York City on Memorial Day weekend in 2000 when she was hit by an 18-wheel truck, which left her face mutilated.

But thanks to some encouragement from her close friend, Gisele Bundchen, the Uganda-born beauty is ready to make her comeback; featuring in the first issue of Carine Roitfeld’s new magazine, CR Fashion Book, and now the March 2013 issue of W magazine.  After escaping Uganda as a political refugee with her parents at age six, Ms Kabukuru grew up in Los Angeles where she was discovered by fashion photographer, Bill Bodwell, in a shopping center at 16.

She signed with Ford modeling agency, who change her name from Alice to the more ‘exotic’ Kiara. ‘It’s confusing because I stopped modeling for so long, and since I never gave up my own name, everybody started calling me Alice again,’ Ms Kabukuru told W magazine. ‘It took Gisele [Bundchen] years to call me Alice, because she met me as Kiara.’

Her first job was a Coca-Cola commercial, which led to a Levi’s ad, meetings with Calvin Klein, Gucci exclusives for the shows in Milan, a L’Oreal contract, and a Vogue cover.
She lived in New York where fellow supermodels Stephanie Seymour, Naomi Campbell, Bridget Hall and Elaine Irwin were friends. ‘And then at the height of it all, I’m about to sign a contract with Covergirl, and I get into the accident,’ she explained.

After being dragged along the pavement, the truck finally stopped, and the model began picking up her teeth off of the ground, she recalled. ‘[At the hospital] everyone was looking at me like, “Oh, my God.” And nobody would bring me a mirror,’ she said. The skin on her arms and back had been ripped off, while her jaw, teeth and gums had to be reconstructed. Her ribs, pelvis, sacrum, pubic bone, and right ankle were all broken.

‘Any movement was excruciating,’ Ms Kabukuru, who was in a wheelchair for two months, explained. ‘And not being able to bathe or go to the bathroom on my own was devastating.’ In 2003 she moved back to Los Angeles where she started rigorous physical training as well as undergoing seven reconstructive surgeries to rebuild her jaw, where she was left with no visible scarring.

In 2008, she took a few small steps back into the modeling world, featuring in the all-black issue of Vogue Italia. Still feeling ‘a bit shell-shocked,’ though, and it took another two years before she made her return to New York in 2010. ‘I was so freaked out about the city. So it was quite a feat to move back. I did yoga every day and became a fraw-foodist – I had to do a daily thing just to be ok here,’ she said.

It was late in 2011 that Ms Bunchden suggested she throw herself back into modeling. ‘I just knew there was something unfinished there,’ Ms Bundchen explained. ‘I said, “Well, do you ever think about modeling again?” Now, Ms Kabukuru is back, and apparently up for a major cosmetics contract. ‘In my life, there have been all these reversals of fortune,’ she said. ‘I think I was proving to myself my strength and my ability to survive. And now I am ready.’

Source — Daily Mail

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

One Comment

    Richard Bwogi

    I pray that you continue to get better. God bless and happy new year.

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