Few people in the world have been as famous as I, and were not at all aware of it. I was the “star” of Life magazine, the Sunday Times … Photos of me in a dress with a purple-blue flowers and sandals with high heels circled the world, visited the UK, France, Italy … some people that I didn’t even had in my dreams talked about me, and in that time I was just thinking how to survive another day in besieged Sarajevo.
This is how begins the story of this world-famous Meliha Varešanović, Sarajka with photos of English photojournalist Tom Stoddart, created in the spring of 1994 in Dobrinja, while dressed as on the catwalk and with head held high, past the shelter with sandbags. This image has become known around the world, and Meliha, had not even known that she was photographed. Later this picture was finished and the study of actress Angelina Jolie, and the other day the magazine Cracked included on the list of five photo-story of “courageous women, rebels in history”. “The woman who brought glamour in a war zone,” it said under the photo in the magazine Cracked, the elegance and beauty of a girl it is described as one that is adorned Sophia Loren in the sixties.
Message with a smile
In the Chanel suit, with lipstick and nail polish in the same color, walk with dignity and head held high, just like in the Stoddarts photography. At the time she passed the shelter with sandbags, shooting started. But she continued to walk. She would later learn that the English photographer Tom Stoddart was only a few yards away, in the shade, and he took it. Stoddart later, when the photography of Meliha Varešanović became popular, tells how he was scared of the shooting and he lay down in the shelter with sandbags. “She walked proudly, head held high and had lipstick, high heels and colorful dress. I managed to make three or four recording with his Leica as it passed by me, ” Stoddart explained after.
Meliha said: ,,My message was simple – you will not obey us. And I persisted in it. ”
Meliha Varešanović today is 58, she is married and lives in Dobrinja – village where her photos went into the world.