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Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.

Noémie Lenoir

Noémie LenoirNoémie Lenoir, born September 19th, 1979 in Versailles, Yvelines, France is a fashion model and actress.

She is known for Rush Hour 3 alongside actors Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker which was released in 2007, After the Sunset from 2004 and The Transporter Refueled released in 2015.

She is known for her work with Gucci, L'Oréal, Next, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger, Victoria's Secret, Balmain Paris Hair Couture, and Marks and Spencer. She has been featured in a line-up of the world's most successful black models by renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz.

The 5' 9½" (1.77 meter) model and actress is of Malagasy descent. Both of her parents are French - her father being from metropolitan France and her mother from La Réunion.

Her mother comes from the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, and her father is a French retired electrician who later divorced her mother.

Her family moved first to Gif-sur-Yvette and then to Palaiseau where she was discovered and started her career in modeling.

Growing up in a banlieue district near Paris, which she describes as a ghetto, Lenoir was first spotted at the age of 17 in 1997 when she was approached by a Ford Modeling Agency booker in the post office.

Noémie LenoirShe was in the post office on an errand for her mother when she was approached by the Ford booker who asked if she'd considered modelling.

"I ran home to tell my mum. We were both so excited. Where I lived – well, in America they'd call it a ghetto. Modelling wasn't something I had thought about at all."

"We called the number she'd given me, and we met them, and they wanted to sign me up, but my mum said, 'Let her finish school first,' so I went back a year later."

She signed with L'Oréal in 1997, and has since appeared in their advertisements alongside Laetitia Casta and long-term model and actress Andie MacDowell. She has also worked for Victoria's Secret, Gap, Next, and many others.

She had begun to book jobs in Paris, but nothing life-changing in terms of fame or money. But soon, she moved to New York, landed a high-profile advertising campaign for Gap, and her career took off. For most of her 20's she moved between New York, Paris and London, securing lucrative work with Victoria's Secret, Tommy Hilfiger, Tiffany & Co, Next and Marks & Spencer.

"I was working really hard. I knew I was lucky to have this work. I come from a really poor family, and when I started doing campaigns it changed everything for my family.

Lenoir was the face of UK high-street retailer Marks & Spencer, for four years until Christmas 2009 and was seen in various British magazines and billboards alongside fellow models Twiggy and Laura Bailey.

Noémie LenoirLenoir returned to Marks & Spencer advertising in 2012 where she is seen "enjoying a selection of quintessentially British pastimes". She is represented by Models 1.

In 2007, Lenoir featured in the hit film Rush Hour 3 alongside actors Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. In 2009, Lenoir featured in the music video for Usher's single "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)". {{}} she is represented by Models 1.[9]

A few quick facts about Noemie are that she appeared in a video clip for Usher's song "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home) in 2009, was ranked #42 in the FHM France "100 Sexiest Women" list in 2004, also ranked #79 in the 2008 FHM Australia list of "100 Sexiest Women in the World".

She was in a relationship with Claude Makélélé from the spring of 2004 to early 2009 and gave birth to her 1stchild at age 25 - a son Kelyan Makélélé on February 2nd, 2005 with the child's father - her former boyfriend, Claude Makélélé.

After a relationship with rapper Stomy Bugsy, it was then she lived with international football player Claude Makélélé of Paris Saint-Germain.

The couple split in early 2009 and despite widespread reports Lenoir was married to Makélélé, she wrote a blog in 2009 clarifying their former relationship, saying:

"I'm not and have never been married. I do have a son."

"I have a wonderful baby's father and have a great relationship with him, however, I've been single for some time now."

Noémie LenoirOn May 9th, 2010) Noemie attempted suicide with an alcohol and drug overdose.

Having taken an overdose at the home of her ex-partner, Claude Makélélé, she called a friend. Realising that the friend would likely call an ambulance, she ran into a nearby forest to escape being found. But, she was discovered, unconscious, by a man walking his dog, who raised the alarm

When she reached the hospital she was unconscious and they had to pump out her stomach. She was in a coma for a week. The story was one that makes for a tabloid dream: a lingerie model who was also a young mother with a complicated love life, drugs, alcohol and nearly a tragedy.

Part of the sensationalist reporting of the incident focused, in the British press, on the fact that her Marks and Spencer contract had ended two months earlier, as well as on her relationship with the Swiss nightclub-owning millionaire Carl Hirschmann, who had recently been hit by a series of scandals.

She says Hirschmann is not relevant to the story. Yes, she dated him briefly the year before and before getting back together with Makélélé.

"But it was ages ago. And it wasn't a big deal with him. And what they say about him is all bullshit anyway – he is a nice guy."

Reading the reports, there is an unsavoury taste of judgementalism - these models, footballers and playboys with all this youth, beauty, glamour and money, and just look how it seems to screw them up.

Noémie LenoirAbout her attempted suicide she had the following to say in an interview:

"Last May, I did something really, really stupid. I had been living in New York and I moved back to Paris, to try again with the father of my son. It was a big change. I wasn't so healthy in Paris and I couldn't find a gym as exercise is important to me because I am very hyper."

"I came straight from New York to living in Claude's house, and I really wanted it to work, but it didn't work out. He hurt me, so I decided... I don't know just how to say this. It was like a bad, bad depression, a very deep depression. I felt really alone. It wasn't just like, 'I'm here, don't ignore me'. Nothing like that. I really thought I wanted it - I decided to do it."

"After I tried to kill myself, when I woke up, I finally realized: Claude is not the man for me. And I am not the woman for him. I am too independent and he is too independent also."

"I was working really hard. I knew I was lucky to have this work. I come from a really poor family, and when I started doing campaigns it changed everything for my family."

"I am not complaining, I had a beautiful childhood - we didn't have a lot of money, but there was always food on the table, and my parents saved money so that during the holidays we would all get in the car and drive to the mountains."

"I have amazing parents. They had worked hard all their lives for me, and when I started to make money I wanted to be able to take care of them."

"People say, 'How could she do it, how could she try and kill herself, didn't she think about her son?' But they don't understand. I love my son so much. But I didn't think I was good enough, I thought I was poison. Poison for me and poison for him."

Noémie Lenoir"When I was depressed I felt like I was poisoning his life by being in it. I thought he would be better with his dad and my mum to look after him. I didn't realize I was hurting anyone, until I woke up in the hospital and saw my mum crying."

"My son is living with me and he sees his dad a lot and he is happy, and he is doing really well at school. He is bilingual, and he is learning horse riding and Spanish. Everything is normal."

I eat normally now. I used to be a bit crazy about what I ate, but now I eat what I want to eat. A croissant for breakfast, pasta for lunch, in the evening fish and salad."

Her new boyfriend is a doctor that she met through a friend.

"The normal way! Not in a club. He is a Jewish doctor and he doesn't care about money. I have exchanged a Ferrari-driving footballer for a Jewish doctor who doesn't care about money. It is really different for me, because I love money since I grew up with none, and because I have been supporting myself and my family since I was 17. But my boyfriend, he doesn't even have a big watch."

These days it is immediately obvious why Noémie Lenoir is one of the most commercially successful underwear models ever. Even now after many years in the business she is still extraordinary. She still has the kind of tall, angular physique with long legs, large breasts and body tone that looks spectacular on camera still. She has a face that the camera absolutely loves with her dark skin and pale green eyes.

Noémie LenoirThis is exactly what she did for Marks & Spencer - whom she spent four years as the poster girl for. A working-class mixed-race girl from the Paris banlieues, she became the idealised girl for modern, multicultural Britain, and one of a small band of models, including Twiggy, who became closely identified with the regeneration of Marks & Spencer.

Stuart Rose, who was at the company's helm during Lenoir's time as a model with the store, describes her as "great fun and very normal and down to earth."

"She is very beautiful and very sexy, and she had a strong following from the men. Older people didn't seem to find her off-puttingly young and yet the younger customers liked her, too. Everyone loved her."

When Stuart Rose was asked to describe Lenoir, he said, "She's a fantastic girl, but maybe she's a little bit vulnerable."

"For all her charm and energy, there is something rather fragile about Lenoir."

These days, she goes to church with her mother and grandmother every Sunday. Having lapsed as a Catholic for two years, she began to pray again while in hospital last year, and went to Lourdes last August. It helps, she says, to have refound her faith.

"I think if you don't trust in yourself, it helps to trust in something else."

Noémie LenoirWork is very important to Lenoir. It could be because English is not her first language, but she uses the vocabulary of emotion and relationships a great deal when talking about modelling.

"It is important to me that people believe in me as a model, trust in me as a model – which they do in London and New York – which is why sometimes I think I'm an Anglo-Saxon woman at heart."

She says that working with Marks & Spencer was "like a big family" and "a very special and close and happy time", but that Next has "been very, very faithful to me."

It's probably no wonder she feels deeply about a career that dramatically changed the course of her life.

Her parents divorced when Lenoir was in her early 20s while living in London. She bought a house on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion for her mother, who had wanted to return to the place where she had grown up.

It was a happy time for Lenoir: she had met Makélélé, and had Kelyan. But before long the relationship had hit the rocks, and Lenoir was living in New York with Kelyan and her mother, who had moved back from Réunion to help look after her grandson. The three of them moved from New York to Paris in January 2010, after which the events of last year began to unfold.

She has embraced normality. "I finally got my driving licence. My son is living with me and he sees his dad a lot and he is happy, and he is doing really well at school. He is bilingual, and he is learning horse riding and Spanish. Everything is normal."

Noémie Lenoir"I eat normally now. I used to be a bit crazy about what I ate, but now I eat what I want to eat. A croissant for breakfast, pasta for lunch, in the evening fish and salad."

"I take care of my skin like it's my job. Every day, every night, I wash my face. Even if you don't wear makeup, the pollution...! I use Bioderma Crealine every time I wash my face. Moisturizers, I change every six months. When I finish one, I buy a different one. So it can go from La Roche-Posay to La Mer to Clinique.

Now it's more like wrinkle creams, anti-aging. Right now I'm using Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream from Sephora. I don't know if my skin would be worse or better if I didn't use it.

I like the natural remedies, too, like how if you drink pineapple juice, apparently you regenerate your skin. I always like to drink green tea for my skin, too. Otherwise, I just always wear sunscreen. Bioderma makes one, but I also like Lierac.

I care for my skin, I care for my body, but I still don't know how to put makeup on after all these years. So you see, modeling didn't teach me everything."

"I wear mascara every day because I love mascara. What I love about it is that even if you're tired and you pull your hair up, it looks like you have bigger eyes and you look more... voila!"

"If I take it off, I look tired. I used to use Armani, but L'Oreal is the best, and it gives more volume. I use that mascara and Bobbi Brown Blush. In a picture, pink is nice. But in real life, pink will look like I've come from the snow. During the day, I like it to look brown. More like I get sun. My foundation, if I wear it, is Chanel Les Beiges. It's the only one I use."

Noémie Lenoir"My hair, though, is a big deal. I never do color because I'm scared of drying it out. So yesterday I had a Kérastase mask on my hair all night long!"

"My conditioner is Kérastase, and I try to shampoo once a week. But every morning I wet my hair and apply some conditioner. And I don’t brush with a brush, I put my fingers through it.

When I dry, I put on a towel and leave it for like two minutes while I'm getting ready and that's it."

"I love to make hair masks at home too - I'll do one over the weekend, once a month, from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon.

It's argan oil, one egg, and olive oil, and you mix it and pull it through your hair. My mom used to make it, and she'd apply it and then put foil over my hair. So for two days a month, I had aluminum on my head. It works. Natural things work!"


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Noemi Lenoir | Sports Illustrated Swimsuit


  • Tout le monde en parle – (3 episodes, 2000–2003)
  • 20h10 pétantes – (1 episode, 2004)
  • French Beauty – (2005)
  • On n'est pas couché – (1 episode, 11 June 2007)

Rush Hour

  • Britain's Next Top Model, Cycle 6 – (1 episode, 19 July 2010)
  • Danse avec les stars - contestant (2013)

She hosted a show on Trace TV for two years. She appears in all three Marks and Spencer Christmas TV adverts for 2009, broadcast in both Ireland and the United Kingdom.


Year Title Role Director Notes
2002 Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra Chamandra Alain Chabat
2003 Gomez & Tavarès Gina Gilles Paquet-Brenner
2004 After the Sunset Mooré's girl Brett Ratner
Jeff et Léo, flics et jumeaux Anna Étienne Dhaene TV series (1 episode)
2006 The Valet Karine Francis Veber
2007 Rush Hour 3 Genevieve Brett Ratner
Gomez vs. Tavarès Gina Gilles Paquet-Brenner & Cyril Sebas
2013 What Ze Teuf Herself Benjamin Euvrard TV series (1 episode)
2014 Scènes de ménages Isabelle Francis Duquet TV series (1 episode)
2015 The Transporter Refueled Maissa Camille Delamarre



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Bonesetters Waiting Room

In the Bonesetter's Waiting Room:
Travels Through Indian Medicine

BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week India defies definition, and the story of medicine in India is similarly rich and complex: shaped by unique challenges and opportunities, uniting cutting-edge technological developments with ancient cultural traditions, fuelled by political changes which transformed the lives of millions and moulded by the energy of forceful individuals. Here, Aarathi Prasad investigates how Indian medicine came to be the way it is. Her travels will take her to bonesetter clinics in Jaipur and Hyderabad and the waiting-rooms of Bollywood's best plastic surgeons, and introduce her to traditional healers as well as the world-beating heart surgeon who is revolutionising treatment of the poor around the globe.

Like a Virgin

Exploring the Frontiers of Conception

Sexual evolution is a slippery business. Like all mammals, we humans seem to have been left no choice in the matter: even though it is costly, inefficient and dangerous, if we want to reproduce we simply have to have sex. Yet most human cultures tell the tale of a maiden who gives birth untouched by a man; and in the wild there are plenty of creatures – such as turkeys, komodo dragons, sharks and the ‘Jesus Christ’ lizard (which walks on water, too) – that take various approaches to reproducing without sex.

In LIKE A VIRGIN, the biology writer Aarathi Prasad discusses how reproduction without sex is achieved in animals and explores why evolution hasn’t made it an option for humans – yet. In doing so, she provides a quirky, entertaining and perceptive overview of the mysteries of evolutionary biology, sex and reproduction – past, present and future.

It’s a remarkable story that ranges across Greek mythology, natural history, agriculture, conservation and medicine; takes in some of the most exciting areas of developmental genetics and molecular biology that other popular science books largely ignore; and is packed full of a cast of amazing characters, be they obscure animals or eccentric scientists such as the respected geneticist Dr Helen Spurway who in the UK in the 1950s unwittingly sparked a nationwide search for a virgin mother.

There is now a plethora of strategies being developed in reproductive medicine that could ultimately keep our species going in a world of embellished sex: the creation of artificial eggs and sperm from bone marrow, labs-on-chips on which eggs are fertilized, silicone wombs and artificial wombs (where fetuses can spend their full nine months), and even research to prepare us for reproduction in space. What’s more, we are finally beginning to understand what genetic modifications are needed to allow for the creation of women who could have babies without having sex. Now that we have the competent hand of science in our lives, will girls still need men?

Publisher: Oneworld (UK/US)
Pub Date: 16 August 2012
Status: Draft manuscript
Length: 288 pages

All rights available excluding:
UK & Commonwealth, US, Arabic (Arab Scientific), Japan (East Press)

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Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look

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