Gelila Bekele – Ethiopian Model and Filmmaker

By | July 11, 2024

Gelila Bekele is an Ethiopian model, social worker, humanitarian, and documentary filmmaker. She has posed for major international companies, including L'Oreal, Levi's, Diesel, Tory Burch, Anna Sui, Michael Kors, H&M, Pinko, Nespresso, and Pantene, and featured in several well-known international magazines and journals.

Additionally, she has recently released a documentary, "Mai: Life is not Honey." Apart from being a glamorous actress on screen, she is the author of the book Guzo!

Gelila Bekele is an Ethiopian model

Gelila Bekele is an Ethiopian model

Early Life

Gelila Bekele was born On September 4, 1986, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Her parents are unknown to the media. However, Gelila has shared that she had the good fortune of growing up in a kind and encouraging atmosphere thanks to her grandmother, who raised her. Gelila's mother was only sixteen when she was born.

She grew up in a rural village, where she climbed trees and drank goat milk from the goat itself. Growing up, Gelila and her sibling, Anne Wrossetti, had a unique relationship as they went through several phases of life together.

The family first moved when Bekele was four years old, and when she was eight, her family moved to Europe. Eventually, she decided to come to the US to continue her studies. She decided to pursue college and was accepted to the esteemed University of California, Berkeley.


Gelila Bekele began her career when she was 19, a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley. She was hesitant when a scout for Ford Models approached but eventually started working for Ford Models New York and Ford Models Paris in 2016.

Her extensive modeling career helped her become a celebrity. Her professional focus is primarily on the United States and Europe. In addition to major brands like Michael Kors, H&M, Pinko, Nespresso, Pantene, L'Oreal, Tory Burch, Diesel, Levi's, and H&M, she has been featured in numerous international periodicals and magazines.

Gelila Bekele supports "Charity with Water"

Gelila Bekele supports "Charity with Water"

Her humanitarian efforts in and around Ethiopia have garnered recognition worldwide. She has been involved in various humanitarian projects with "Charity Water," started by photographer and businessman Scott Harrison. She is also connected to Glimmer of Hope.

She unwaveringly supports the rights and means of subsistence of those living in developing nations. She is also battling for the responsible use of natural resources and their rights.

Her enthusiasm for promoting the rights of Ethiopian adolescent girls took her down a different route. She set out on a mission to use the artistic medium of filmmaking to bring attention to underappreciated global concerns.

Gelila Bekele is an author and filmmaker

Gelila Bekele is an author and filmmaker

After moving into narrative and documentary filmmaking in 2013, Gelila used her storytelling to raise awareness and establish her voice.

Her most recent films include "Anbessa" (Executive Producer) at the Berlin Film Festival in 2018, "Mai: Life is Not Honey" at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019, and "Maxine's Baby: the Tyler Perry Story" (2023) on Amazon Prime. Additionally, she oversaw "The Model Activists" (2017).

In addition, Gelila is the writer of the 2018 book "Guzo!" which chronicles the day-to-day activities of native Ethiopians, emphasizing housing, customs, cultural traditions, and religious rituals.

Gelila also became popular for being the longtime girlfriend of well-known actor and director Tyler Perry. Undoubtedly, her success and impact have been largely attributed to her talents and unwavering dedication to many causes.

Gelila has amassed a substantial net worth of $600 million through her successful career as a sought-after model for high-end fashion and beauty brands. Her talent and charm have allowed her to achieve lucrative contracts, which add to her wealth significantly.

Personal Life

After meeting at a Prince performance in 2007, Tyler Perry and Gelila Bekele started dating. They sparked a love relationship because of their immediate connection. They had a connection that flourished for more than ten years, getting stronger every year.

Gelila Bekele with Tyler Perry

Gelila Bekele with Tyler Perry

They even got engaged in 2009. But Tyler Perry announced with sincerity on December 17, 2020, that he and Gelila had decided to end their relationship amicably. They have a son, Aman Tyler Perry, born in 2014. They are still dedicated to co-parenting him.

Tyler and Gelila have decided to raise their son as friends despite their divorce, prioritizing their son's happiness and well-being.

Besides her son with Tyler Perry, Aman Tyler Perry, Gelila has a sister, Anna Wrossetti, with whom she shares a cordial relationship.

She vehemently opposes body shaming and has made it clear in interviews that she has learned to embrace femininity and feel comfortable in her skin anytime she models for a brand. Moreover, she has an inspiring outlook on life and thinks it's great that people are giving up birthdays for social causes.

Compared to other celebrities, Gelila Bekele stands out for her adaptability and multifaceted style. She advocates for a green lifestyle and is a vegan. In addition to her hectic modeling schedule, she spends a lot of time working in social services, primarily for Ethiopian natives.


Gelila Bekele is, undoubtedly, an inspiration for native Ethiopians. In terms of modeling, she is quite laid-back and doesn't always go with the flow. She has developed her sense of style and has been exposed to a variety of materials and patterns because she was born and raised in Ethiopia and Europe.

Official Links

Twitter - @iamGelilabekele
Instagram - @gelila.bekele
TikTok - @gelilabekele
IMDb -
Website -

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