Reeva Steenkamp, Oscar Pistorius’ slain girlfriend, was a model, law school graduate, entrepreneur and advocate for the empowerment of women.
The 30-year-old was set to give an inspirational talk today at a Johannesburg school before being shot dead. Pistorius has been charged with murder.
She was overshadowed last year by Pistorius, a double amputee who became an Olympic track standout, holding his own against all odds – and the world.
But Reeva Steenkamp was a celebrity in her own right, having been among FHM magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World for two years running.
She appeared in international and South African advertisements and was a celebrity contestant on Tropika Island of Treasure filmed in Jamaica.
She was also the South African face of Avon cosmetics.
Yet through it all, she was more than a pretty face and gorgeous body, “continuously breaking the model stereotype,” said publicist Sarit Tomlinson.
Steenkamp was “the sweetest, kindest, just angelic soul” and “a very inspiring individual, very passionate about speaking about women and empowerment.”
Thursday morning, the blonde beauty had been scheduled to give a motivational speech to school students in the nation’s biggest city, Johannesburg.
“It was about empowerment and inspiration and what inspires you and how to follow your dreams,” said Tomlinson, who had Steenkamp’s notes for the speech.
Steenkamp urged followers to stand up against violence against women, outraged by the recent and particularly brutal rape and murder of a 17-year-old:
“I woke up in a happy safe home this morning. Not everyone did. Speak out against rape in SA (South Africa). RIP Anene Booysen #rape #crime #sayNO.”
On Twitter, Reeva Steenkamp tweeted messages urging women to stand up against rape as well as her excitement about today, Valentine’s Day.
“What do you have up your sleeve for love tomorrow? It should be a day of love for everyone,” she Tweeted, followed by a re-Tweet of this message:
“WEAR BLACK THIS FRIDAY IN SUPPORT AGAINST #RAPE”
Her final tweet was apparently an enthusiastic acceptance of a friend’s invite to celebrate the day with chocolate cupcakes topped with red hearts.
Police said she was shot by four bullets in the early hours of Valentine Day. Only Steenkamp and Pistorius were at his house in Pretoria, the capital.
Officials have arrested Oscar Pistorius on a charge of murder and said he will appear in court Friday. The two had been dating for a few months.