Saturday, September 10, 2016

The Untold Legend of the Kenyan Princess Loingalani

This photo is entitled "Princess Loingalani" ( El Molo Bay, Lake Rudolf, Kenya, 1967, by Peter Beard). It has been popular in the Internet for quite a while, posted and reposted numerous times. Prints were sold for hefty amounts at the auctions, and people were debating at forums whether the actual Kenyan princess existed. "No, there has been no monarchy for quite a while, but the princess was there! Cannot you see that she is a real royalty?" - someone said.

I agree. The girl does look regal, with her cheetah-like slenderness, proud posture and, of course, her Goddess-worthy bust. She is standing half naked, and it looks very natural - no self-conscious stiffness that I can see; as natural as a beautiful wild animal. She looks reserved, somewhat distant from the outside world; I think I night even see some sadness in her eyes. What is she thinking about? I am inclined to think that she is reflecting on something related to her country and people - she is a princess, after all.

...A slightly more thorough Google search revealed to me that this was an aspiring young model named Fayell Tall, and the photo was taken in 1987 rather than in 1967, and she definitely was not a princess. Years later, she sued the photographer, claiming that she had never been compensated and never gave a model release allowing to use the photo. From what I know, there was a court case, she received some money and that was it. I do not want to go deeper in the details, you can find them yourself. But I really loved the untold legend of the Kenyan Princess Loingalani. I wish it were true, and the princess still lived somewhere in the remote area of Kenya or Tanzania, at a lakeside, in a green acacia forest, surrounded by tame cheetahs. She could ride a white Arab horse, hunt deer, and maybe weave rugs in the evenings (she is not a very rich princess, you see). And she would have no Internet access, so we would never learn about her human weaknesses, mistakes, wrinkles, any family scandals... no silly selfies... I think I can just as well keep imagining that she does live there.

Forgive me for my rambling, I am just procrastinating before photographing a huge bunch of Russian shawls for my Mulberry Whisper shop on Etsy. Talking to you and to myself is much more fun, but the shawls are not going to photograph themselves. 


  1. Love this beautiful, how proud she is. I agree, your story is much better. hugs, pat

  2. What an interesting story. Thank you so much for sharing, I enjoyed it and learned something new. Great post.

  3. I think this modell is really cute even if she was not photographied in 1967 andeven if she was not aprincess.
    But thank you for sharing with us this story..
    Have nice week!

  4. This is such a striking photo! She's amazing! I think I will look up this legend eventually, but for now I will just enjoy the vivid story you've imagined for her. Your writing is so enjoyable!

  5. Such an interesting read, she should be compensated for the rights to use such a beautiful photo

    1. I believe he has finally paid; I hope it was a decent amount.


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