Fashion Stardom Beckons For Somali Refugee In Hungary

By Helen Womack

Somali-born model Kafia Mahdi poses under a Budapest statue for a fashion shoot in this season’s leopard-skin print. At only 19, she seems to have found a glamorous new life in Hungary.

However, her journey here was difficult and her success began with small, painful steps in a children’s home.

Now a documentary film has been released about Kafia’s transformation from child refugee to fashion star.

“Easy Lessons” (“Könnyű Leckék”) by Hungarian director Dorottya Zurbó shows Kafia at school and starting her modelling career. On the surface, all seems well, but her heart is heavy at leaving her mother behind and being uprooted from her culture in Somalia.

“Working on the film was challenging,” Kafia said ahead of the documentary’s release in Hungarian cinemas last month. “I had to share my full story, my feelings and my deepest thoughts, which I always find hard to express. But after a while, I got to know the crew and that made me comfortable to open up about a lot of things.”


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