Aiglemont, France, 26 April 2013 — His Highness the Aga Khan today announced the engagement of his eldest son, Prince Rahim Aga Khan , to Ms. Kendra Spears of Seattle, Washington, the United States.
The Aga Khan, who is the Spiritual Leader or Imam of the global community of the Shia Ismaili Muslims, said he was delighted to announce the engagement.
Prince Rahim Aga Khan holds a BA from Brown University and an executive management degree from the Navarra Business School in Barcelona, Spain. He is involved in the poverty reduction efforts, notably micro-credit activities, of the Aga Khan Development Network – one of the largest private systems of agencies fostering social, cultural and economic development in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Ms. Spears holds a BA in sociology from the University of Washington in her native Seattle. She has a strong interest in arts and architecture. Ms. Spears has had a highly successful career as a model, working with many of the most prestigious fashion houses.
The couple will be married in a Muslim ceremony. The date of the marriage has not been set yet.
Forbes describes the Aga Khan as one of the world's ten richest royals with an estimated net worth of $800 million USD (2010). Additionally he is unique among the richest royals as he does not preside over a geographic territory. He owns hundreds of racehorses, valuable stud farms, an exclusive yacht club on Sardinia, a private island in the Bahamas, two Bombardier jets, a 12-seat helicopter, a £100 million high speed yacht named after his prize racehorse, and several estates around the world, including an estate called Aiglemont in the town of Gouvieux, France – just north of Paris. His philanthropic institutions, funded by his followers, spend more than $600 million per year – primarily in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. In 2007, after an interview with the Aga Khan, G. Pascal Zachary, of the The New York Times, wrote, "Part of the Aga Khan's personal wealth [used by him and his family], which his advisers say exceeds $1 billion [USD], comes from a dizzyingly complex system of tithes that some of the world's 15 million Ismaili Muslims pay him each year [one of which is called dasond, which is at least 12.5% of each Nizari Ismaili's gross annual income] – an amount that he will not disclose but which may reach hundreds of millions of dollars annually."
Among the goals the Aga Khan has asserted he works toward are the elimination of global poverty; the promotion and implementation of secular pluralism; the advancement of the status of women; and the honoring of Islamic art and architecture.
This is truly the lowest of low: model scouts in Stockholm have reportedly taken to lurking outside the country’s largest eating disorder clinic in search of fresh talent to bring back to their agencies. The Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders brought the practice to light in the city’s local Metro newspaper, where they lobbed complaints about scouts handing off business cards to patients as young as 14.
The center recalled one incident where a patient in a wheelchair was approached by a top agent, and another involving a 14-year-old girl whose mother and care coordinator had to explain to the defensive recruiter that she was too ill to model.
When a young model is discovered during teenage years, the decisions and steps to take are decided with the parents. You would be surprised how many parents want to push their high school age daughters faster than is appropriate. Some agencies with strong development boards start them part time at this age. It is a long-term investment and a commitment from both sides to ride the ups and downs of the demands of a double life of a teenager, but it can be done.
In the U.S., in local markets, there is an old pattern to push an aspiring model before the age of 16 so you don’t “miss” your chance. I could not disagree more. You can take it one step at a time.
At the ripe young age of 16, Maddison Brown has already been shot by Ryan Kenny and Rene Vaile for Oyster Beauty Daily, appeared in campaigns for Wrangler and walked the David Jones runway alongside Miranda Kerr. For Fashion Week this year Maddie is going to be keeping a visual diary for Oyster online. Expect it to include a lot of ridiculously good-looking humans.