Sarit Tomlinson, the publicist of model Reeva Steenkamp, who was shot to death in her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius' home last night, talks about her reaction to the incident, calling it "devastating" and describing Pistorius as "charming" and "a great guy."
Calling it "devastating and shocking," the publicist for model Reeva Steenkamp, girlfriend of Olympic “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius, confirmed she had died Thursday. Police in South Africa said that a 30-year-old woman had died of gunshot wounds at Pistorius’ home.
According to her Facebook page, Steenkamp was born in Capetown, South Africa, and raised in Port Elizabeth. The thirty-year-old earned a law degree at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University before moving to Johannesburg and earning a job as the South African face of cosmetics maker Avon.
In an interview with South Africa’s The Times newspaper, the principal of Steenkamp’s high school said he was shocked by her sudden and seemingly violent death in Pistorius’ home in the South African city of Pretoria.
The couple had been dating for several months, and “seemed happy,” Steenkamp’s publicist Sarit Tomlinson told TODAY on Thursday. There was no sign of discord between the two, she said.
Mike Holmes/The Herald/Gallo Images/Getty Images file
Reeva Steenkamp was named one of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World for two years in a row.
“We were her agent and her publicist and to date we’ve seen nothing,” Tomlinson said. “It’s devastating and shocking for us, too. For everyone.”
Tomlinson said that Pistorius was a “charming, great guy.”
“She was a vibrant, friendly, diligent, and motivated student who was popular with and respected by staff and peers alike,” Greg Stokell, headmaster of St. Dominic’s Priory school in Port Elizabeth, told The Times.
From an early age, "Reeva had the full support of her parents who encouraged her to maximize her strengths and abilities to achieve her dreams,” Stokell told the paper. “She set high goals for herself in everything she did and she consistently converted opportunities into success.”
Steenkamp was featured in men’s magazine FHM in December 2011, and named one of the publication’s 100 Sexiest Women in the World for two years in a row.
She was due to appear on the fifth season of South African reality show Tropika Island of Treasure, slated to premiere this Saturday. The show pits seven celebrities and seven other contestants against one another in exotic locales for a cash prize.
“We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends,” the show said in a message on its website.
The athlete who rose to fame in London last summer as the first amputee runner in the Olympics has reportedly been arrested by South African police after his girlfriend was shot and killed in his home. NBC's Rohit Kachroo reports and NBC sports analyst Ato Boldon talks about the case, calling it an "absolute shock."
Steenkamp had done promotional work for Toyota, Clover, and the Italian brand Zui, among other clients, according to promotional materials for Tropika Island of Treasure. She also worked as a live presenter for the country’s FashionTV.
“Reeva has a passion for cars and cooking and prefers to read a book on her days off and spend quality time with friends and family,” according to the show’s website.
Steenkamp posted a tweet mere hours before her Valentine’s Day death: “What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay”
A tweet from earlier on Wednesday read, “It’s a beautiful day! Make things happen. Starting my day off with a yummy healthy shake from my boo :) #healthyliving.”
“She was the kindest, sweetest human being; an angel on earth who will be sorely missed,” her publicist said in a statement.
This story was originally published on Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:11 AM EST