Who was Reeva Steenkamp?
Reeva Steenkamp was an illustrious South African model who was shot dead by her famous Olympian boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius. She was a dazzling beauty who was murdered by her boyfriend at his home in South Africa on Valentine’s Day 2013. Born in Cape Town, Reeva began modeling in her teens and after earning a Bachelor of Laws degree, she moved to Johannesburg to pursue a career in the fashion industry. Striking blonde with blue-green eyes, she appeared as a cover girl for FHM magazine and later in South African advertisements for various mainstream brands. In November 2012, she began dating Oscar after meeting him through a common friend. But this relationship transformed into a dreadful disaster when on the morning of Valentine’s Day 2013, Oscar shot her to death at his home. Police arrested him almost immediately on charges of murder and although the defense did not deny the bathroom shooting, they constantly argued that it was a tragic accident and not an outrageous murder. Eventually he was found guilty of culpable homicide and was sentenced to five years in prison. Apart from being a successful model, she was also a domestic violence campaigner. She was a vibrant celebrity and a gorgeous model whose successful career was tragically cut short.
Childhood & Early Life
She was born on August 19, 1983 in Cape Town, South Africa to Barry Steenkamp, a horse trainer, and his second wife, June. She had two older siblings, Adam and Simone.
She moved with her family to Port Elizabeth as a child and began modeling when she was in her teens. She received her early education from St Dominic's Priory School, Port Elizabeth.
After finishing school, she was enrolled in a law course at the University of Port Elizabeth which became a part of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. In 2005, she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree.
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She began her modeling career in her teens. At the age of 15, she entered a beauty competition organized by a local newspaper. At the show, she was spotted by the paper's then beauty editor, Barbara Robertson. Later, she moved from Port Elizabeth to Johannesburg to pursue a career in the fashion industry.
In 2004, she was among one of the finalists in the Weekend Post Faces of the Future competition. In 2005, she became a finalist in the Herald Miss Port Elizabeth contest.
Later she became a model and cover girl for the FHM magazine. She was the first face of Avon cosmetics in South Africa and also modeled for ‘Sivana Diamonds’, a jewellery company.
Pursuing a career in the glamour industry throughout her teens and 20s, she became one of South Africa's most sought-after models by the early 2000s. She appeared in advertisements of several international brands including ‘Avon Cosmetics’, ‘Toyota’, ‘KFC’, ‘Cardinal Beer’, and ‘Tiger Beer’.
She also served as an ambassador for ‘EVOX Nutrition’. In 2012, she featured as a celebrity contestant on the BBC Lifestyle show ‘Baking Made Easy’.
In 2012, she was enlisted as a celebrity contestant for season 5 of the adventure reality show ‘Tropika Island’. The series aired on February 16, 2013, two days after her death.
Along with her modeling career she also worked as a paralegal. In 2011, she applied to the bar, hoping to qualify as a legal advocate in the next two years, by the age of 30.
Awards & Achievements
She was twice named as one of the "100 Sexiest Women in the World" by the FHM Magazine. She was ranked #40 in 2011 and #45 in 2012.
Personal Life & Legacy
She was an enthusiast horse rider until she met with an accident in her early twenties. She broke her back and remained bedridden for months. Later she learned to walk again.
Before moving to Johannesburg, she had been involved with an allegedly emotionally abusive boyfriend, with whom she eventually ended her relationship. Then for a brief period of time, she dated Springbok rugby player, Francois Hougaard.
Since November 2012, she was in a relationship with Oscar Pistorius, the famed South African Paralympic and Olympic star. On November 4, 2012, the couple met at a car event through a mutual friend and subsequently started dating.
Unfortunately, on Valentine’s Day 2013, she was found dead in the home of her boyfriend at Pretoria, South Africa. According to police reports, she was shot dead on the morning of February 14, 2013, with bullet wounds to the hip, head and one arm. Soon after her death was reported, Oscar was arrested and charged with murder.
On February 19, 2013, her body was cremated at Victoria Park crematorium, Port Elizabeth.
On February 19, 2013, during a hearing at the Magistrate Court in Pretoria, Oscar presented his testimony in which he admitted to shooting her at his home five days earlier, but not intentionally. According to him, he mistook her for an intruder and shot her multiple times through a bathroom door in his home.
On September 12, 2014, Oscar was convicted of culpable homicide, defined as ‘the unlawful negligent killing of a human being’, in the case. Nine days later, on October 21, 2014, he was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for his act.