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Sudden Death of Aqua-Blue-Eyed Model Shocks Maldives

Screenshot from YouTube Video by Vogue India

Raudha Athif, a 20-year-old aqua-blue-eyed Maldivian model, was found hanging inside her dormitory room in Rajshahi, in north Bangladesh on Wednesday, March 29. She was a second-year medical student at the Rajshahi Islami Bank Medical College Hospital, and the death is being treated as a suicide. On social media, surprised Maldivians are mourning the loss of this beautiful woman.

Raudha was last seen at dinner on Tuesday night, before she retired to her room. On Wednesday morning, Raudha’s friends went to look for her when she missed breakfast. Receiving no response outside her room, they broke down the door and found her hanging from the ceiling fan by a long scarf. Police are considering her death to be the result of suicide.

Maldivians reacted to this tragic incident on social media:

Raudha Athif started modelling at the age of 14, posing for an environmental campaign. In 2015, she became a viral sensation online, thanks to a picture by photographer Shifaz (Sotti), titled “Maldivian Girl With Aqua Blue Eyes.” Later, she appeared on the October 2016 ninth anniversary cover of Vogue India magazine — a photo shoot that drew criticism from conservatives for her supposedly risque attire.

In an interview last year, Raudha made it clear that she wasn't choosing modeling as a profession, and wanted instead to become a doctor, in order to help people, she said.

Her Instagram account currently has more than 31,000 followers.

Last day of desert with @tales_of_gaia 🌞 📷: @olgavetrova

A post shared by Rau. Maldivian. 🌊 (@raudhaathif) on

Athif's friend, Aashiq Iqbal, remembered her in a Facebook post:

তুমি যে এত বড় একজন মডেল ছিলে কিন্ত সেটাতে তোমার কোন অহংকারই ছিল না আর বরাবরই সেটা আমাদের বেশ অবাকই করে দিত। তোমার ধূসর সেই চক্ষু দুটি প্রচন্ড মিস করব।

We were surprised by the fact that you never boasted that you are such a famous model. I will miss your striking emerald eyes.

Another classmate, Abeda Hossain, wrote:

জানিনা কেন সুইসাইড করলো, কি এমন কারণ ছিলো যা বয়ে বেড়ানোই বোঝা ছিলো খুব? এতো হাসিখুশির আড়ালে কি লুকিয়ে ছিলো কে জানে….!

I don't know why she committed suicide. What was such a big burden to keep carrying? What sorrow was buried under that smiling face… God knows.

According to some of her classmates, Raudha suffered from depression. The police reportedly found strangulation marks around her neck, which led to some people online to suspect foul play.

When a photograph allegedly showing her dead body started circulating online, many of Raudha's supporters asked Internet users to stop sharing the image, out of respect.

Later, the postmortem report officially ruled her death to be a suicide:

Last Thursday, Raudha Athif's family flew to Bangladesh to handle necessary arrangements.

Rahath Junaid, a fan of Raudha's work, wrote in Facebook:

Raudha, you were truly a Maldivian icon. The first Maldivian to grace the cover of Vogue. Very few people have the courage to do that. You faced immense backlash after you did and took it in your stride. However none of us realized that even with the picture perfect Instagram stories you suffered in your daily life. Quietly and in silence. To the point where you couldn't bare it anymore.

The number one cause for suicide is untreated depression. Depression is treatable and suicide is preventable. You can get help from confidential support lines for the suicidal and those in emotional crisis. Visit Befrienders.org to find a suicide prevention helpline in your country.

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