Model Spotlight: Georgie Badiel and the Georgie Badiel Foundation

Images courtesy of venturesafrica.com, fashionbombdaily.com, and georgiewater.com, respectively

When it comes to top fashion models, no one shines brighter than Georgie Badiel. Having modeling since the age of 15, almost two decades later Georgie Badiel is just as effervescent, sunny, and joyous as when she became a top model and muse for Jean-Paul Gaultier.Georgie Badiel’s infectious personality now extends to giving back to her native country, Burkina Faso. With the Georgie Badiel Foundation, Georgie hopes to help solve the issue of clean drinking water scarcity in her country. And helping she is. In just under three years, the Georgie Badiel Foundation has helped provide clean drinking water to over 100,000 people.

During Fashion Reverie’s “The Nina Sisterhood” editorial shoot, Georgie sat down with Editor-in-chief William S. Gooch and talked about her modeling career, her foundation, and the new love in her life.

                             Image courtesy of the vossfoundation.com

Fashion Reverie: Could you talk about the Georgie Badiel Foundation?

Georgie Badiel: My foundation was founded about three years ago. We fund for clean drinking water, sanitation, and planting trees in Burkina Faso, Africa. As you know, I am a native of Burkina Faso.

FR: Why did you start this organization and could you detail the scarcity of clean drinking water in Burkina Faso?

Georgie Badiel: I started the organization because people in Burkina Faso need clean drinking water that is not readily available. When I was a child I used to walk three hours everyday with my grandmother to fetch clean drinking water.

My grandmother passed away in 2009 and when I went back to my country because of my grandmother’s death I saw that my sister was getting up very early every morning—even earlier in fact than I did—to fetch water just as I had as a child with my grandmother. My sister was very pregnant at time and having to do the same thing I was doing when I was a child, very little had changed.

In Burkina Faso, less than 80% of the population has access to clean drinking water. So, I decided to start a foundation to change this situation.

  Images courtesy of uptownmagazine.com, esssence.com, and pinterest.com, respectively

FR: Why is there not more investment by companies to assist and change the scarcity of clean drinking water in Burkina Faso?

Georgie Badiel: There are a few companies that have and still are trying to change the clean drinking water scarcity. Unfortunately, many of these companies are not investing in ways that help the people of Burkina Faso. For example, there are over 5,000 broken wells in my country. A lot of organizations helped people dig and build these wells. Once the wells were working, the organizations left, thinking they had done enough. However, many of the people did not know how to maintain the wells. So, many of the wells went into disrepair.

With the Georgie Badiel Foundation, we not only train people to build wells for clean drinking water, we teach them how to maintain the wells, also. The women of the villages are doing most of this work.

In less than three years, we have provided access to clean drinking water to over 100,000 people. This year our main goal is to reach over 1 million people with clean drinking water. I know that the people of my country are hard-working people and having access to clean drinking water will give them a much better life.

FR: Talk about Georgie Water.

Georgie Badiel: Voss Water who also has a foundation that inspired me to launch Georgie Water. I started Georgie Water so that when consumers by one bottle of Georgie Water they are also giving to the Georgie Badiel Foundation.

          Image courtesy of Amazon.com

FR: You have a book out, The Water Princess. Could you talk about that?

Georgie Badiel: The Water Princess is a children’s book related to my childhood story. This book is about me walking with my grandmother from my village to get water from the only well that had clean drinking water. My grandmother would wake me up at 6am to get water. I really didn’t want to get up so early to get water before I had to go to school, but in Africa, and particularly in Burkina Faso, it is the duty of the women to get clean drinking water. Sometimes, I went to school with a dusty throat because of the lack of clean drinking water.

FR: Was there clean drinking water to drink at your school?

Georgie Badiel: I was lucky that I went to a private school where we had a well. However, doing the dry season the school cut off the water. Still, there was a woman who sold water to the people during the dry season outside of the school. Sometimes, I didn’t have money to buy water, so I would go back inside the school dusty with a dry throat.

How can consumers purchase your book?

Georgie Badiel: They can go on Amazon.com and purchase it. Penguin Books is the publisher and Scholastic has made an animated cartoon about The Water Princess.

FR: We know that you are a top model and that you are still modeling; however, you have found ways to diversify your talent. Looking back on your modeling career, who was your favorite designers to work for?

Georgie Badiel: There have been so many great designers that were a joy to work with. I loved working with Ralph Rucci, Zang Toi, Rick Owens, and of course, Jean-Paul Gaultier.

FR: You are currently working a lot with Diane von Furstenberg. Could you talk about that?

Georgie Badiel: I do most of Diane von Furstenberg’s (DVF) showroom, which I love doing. Nathan Jenden is the fashion director of DVF, and last fashion week I walked in DVF’s presentation.

        Images courtesy of popsugar.com, thestylehg.com, and twitter.com, respectively

FR: What other designers/brands are you currently working with?

Georgie Badiel: My model management company, Major Models, only sends me to designers/brands that I really want to work with because as you can see I am super busy with my foundation, my future children’s books and I am getting married later this year. So, I am extremely busy.

FR: Talk about your fiancé.

Georgie Badiel: My fiancé is from Liberia and a friend of mine introduced us. And we very quickly fell in love. I come from a big family, 10 siblings, so I want to have lots of kids.

—William S. Gooch

 

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