Introducing Carmen Kass
Supermodel, actress, business woman, politician.
Carmen Kass was born on 14 September 1978 in Tallinn, Estonia. She was discovered by an Italian modeling scout in a supermarket in Tallinn when 14 years old, and moved to Paris, France, when she was 18. She is part owner of her mother agency, Baltic Models.
She was elected president of the Estonian National Chess League in 2004. In the same year she ran for the European Parliament but was not elected.
Year of EU entry: 2004
Political system: Republic
Capital city: Tallinn
Total area: 45 000 km˛
Population: 1.4 million
Currency: Estonian kroon
Listen to the official EU language: Estonian
Estonia, the most northerly of the Baltic states, regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a mainly flat country on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, with many lakes and islands. Much of the land is farmed or forested.
The Estonian language is closely related to Finnish, but bears no resemblance to the languages of the other Baltic republics, Latvia and Lithuania, or to Russian. About one quarter of the population is of Russian-speaking origin.
The capital, Tallinn, is one of the best-preserved mediaeval cities in Europe, and tourism accounts for 15% of Estonian GDP. The economy is driven by engineering, food products, metals, chemicals and wood products.
Throughout history, many other nations that ruled the region – Danes, Germans, Swedes, Poles and Russians – have influenced Estonian cuisine. Among the traditional dishes are marinated eel, blood sausage and sauerkraut stew with pork.
Famous Estonians include the writer Jaan Kross whose work has been translated into at least 20 languages, the author of the national epic (Kalevipoeg) Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, and the writer, film-maker, diplomat and politician Lennart Meri.