Sudanese-born Norwegian to take on Naomi Campbell

A year ago few people knew who Sonja Wanda was. Today it's a different story. From the small town of Fredrikstad, the 19 year-old Norwegian has become an internationally sought-after model, Dagbladet writes.

01/03/2004 :: She was just photographed in Milan to be featured in Dolce & Gabbana’s new catalogue, after which she was needed to do a show in New York. Just before Christmas she was the cover girl of British Elle magazine. Her pictures have been published in numerous renowned fashion magazines.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet spoke with Sonja. "I remember when Elle hit the stores. I ran to the news-stand and found the pages where my pictures were. They were featured on ten pages. It was incredibly weird. I was happy, but at the same time you feel a bit egocentric when buying a magazine just to see pictures of yourself," Sonja says.

At home in the small town of Fredrikstad, Sonja dreamed early on of becoming the new Naomi Campbell. As her modelling career began to gain momentum she at first hesitated in letting others know what she was doing. Then the Norwegian State Television (NRK) wanted her to guest on a popular Saturday television show. She had to make a choice.

On the television show she told the Norwegian viewers about her upbringing in Sudan, about her family, and how she, her mother and two siblings moved to Norway while her father chose to stay in Sudan.

"I think a lot about my family in Sudan and the things I could do for them," Sonja says.

In London Sonja shares a flat with five other models. She has contracts with four different agencies in Paris, New York, Milan and London. She is still with Heartbreak, the Norwegian modelling agency that started it all.

"We started by searching through the yellow pages after modelling agencies. After my career got going in Norway we went to England and used the same method. All along my mother was with me. We walked the streets with an A to Z in one hand and a mobile phone in the other."

Sonja reveals that she has close ties with her mother. "My mother has always been there for me. Throughout my upbringing she took on the role of both father and mother for my two siblings and me. I am very proud of her."

When asked where home is she replies, "Fredrikstad, of course! That's where I can relax. I’m currently saving up to buy my first flat. Maybe a penthouse in the middle of Fredrikstad would be something. Then my younger siblings could live there when I am travelling abroad."

Sonja’s life is full of contrasts. In one moment she’s on her way to do a show in New York and in the next her thoughts are with her father in Sudan. "It’s strange to know that I have family there whom I don’t know."

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Sonja WandaPhoto: Heartbreak

Photo: Heartbreak

Mommy's girl: Sonja WandaPhoto: Heartbreak

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