Model Reeva Steenkamp: FYI on Slain Girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius

Thursday, 14 Feb 2013 04:50 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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South African Olympic "Blade Runner" Oscar Pistorius has been accused of shooting and killing his 30-year-old model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home Thursday.

Pistorius' amazing struggle against adversity warmed the hearts of the world during the 2012 London Olympics when he became the first double amputee to compete against able-bodied runners at the Olympics.

Pistorius reached the semifinals of the 400-meter race and took home a silver medal for South Africa. His carbon-fiber prosthetic blades earned him the nickname "Blade Runner."

Authorities have released no details about what led to Reeva Steenkamp's death, but some reports say Pistorius shot his girlfriend after mistaking her for a burglar. Others say the two had a history of domestic disputes.

Steenkamp's death has sparked a slew of questions from people wondering, "who was she?"

Here are five things you may not know about Reeva Steenkamp.

She had a law degree


Steenkamp graduated with a degree in law from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa and reportedly worked as a paralegal before becoming a model. Though she made a name for herself sauntering down runways in bikinis, her publicist Sarit Tomlinson told CBS News that Steenkamp was more than just a pretty face and was "continuously breaking the model stereotype.

She was a national celebrity in South Africa


Named one of FHM magazine's 100 Sexiest Women in the World two years in a row, Steenkamp got her start as the first face of Avon cosmetics in South Africa. She has since done international ad campaigns and appeared on several magazine covers.

She was set to appear in a reality show


Steenkamp was a celebrity contestant on the South African reality show "Tropika Island of Treasure 5," which will premiere this weekend. The show, filmed in Jamaica, features celebrities and ordinary people competing in remote, exotic locations in a variety of daily challenges.

"We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends," said a statement on the show's website Thursday.

She dated Pistorius for only a few months


The pair reportedly started dating in November.

"It's been a healthy, fabulous relationship," Tomlinson said.


But some say the pair had a history of domestic disputes. Police spokeswoman Brigadier Denise Beukes said in a statement that police had been dispatched to Pistorius' house before on "allegations of a domestic nature."

"I'm not going to elaborate on it but there have been incidents [at Pistorius' home]," she said.

Nevertheless, Steenkamp had been looking forward to Valentine's Day.


The Tweet got a series of replies, to which Steenkamp replied: "That sounds amazing! Wow that's what it's all about! It should be a day of love for everyone :) may it be blessed."

She was committed to empowering women


On the day of her death, Steenkamp was scheduled to deliver an inspirational speech at a Johannesburg school.

"[She was] a very inspiring individual, very passionate about speaking about women and empowerment," Tomlinson told CBS News.

Tomlinson had the notes for the prepared speech and said, "it was about empowerment and inspiration and what inspires you and how to follow your dreams." 

Related stories:

Pistorius Charged With Murder After Woman Shot at His Home

Amputee Makes Olympic History as Ledecky Faces Drug Claims

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