„Desert Flower“, an autobiography written by Waris Dirie, tells the story of a Somali nomad girl who turns into a famous international model. At the age of twelve, she runs away from home because of her father wants to marry her to a rich old man. She has grown up in a nomad family who lives on the daily earnings they can make of the nature around them and their animals, camels and goats. As the Somali tradition instructs them, she got circumcised at the age of four. This is a painful ritual where the clitoris, labia minora and most of labia majora are cut off. Then the wound is stitched up, leaving only a scar where the genitals had been.
After her escape, she gets to Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia on foot. She finds her sister, who also ran away some years ago. With her help and the help of some family members she spends some time there till her uncle takes her as a servant-girl to London, where he is working as an ambassador. Four years later, her family return to Somalia, but she can stay under the pretext of not finding her passport. She is now seventeen and lives on different jobs.
In London she can go to a doctor to have an operation done so that she has no more problems when she has to go to the toilet or when she has her period. That is a big relief for her.
One day, a man of an agency discovers her as a model. But there is a problem: She has no English passport. Without a passport she cannot travel in the whole world as a model should, so she calls someone who can marry her to an unknown person to provide her with a passport. This man is an old alcoholic, who dies before she can get a new passport. In her desperation the brother of a friend of hers, Nigel, wants to marry her, so she agrees. But now she is dependent on him. He wants a real married relationship but she just sees the marriage as an arrangement. He follows her everywhere, also when she works in New York.
One day, a film agency...