Who Is Louise Linton? The Africa Gap Year Writer Is Beset By Controversy
When The Daily Telegraph published an excerpt from the memoir In Congo's Shadow on July 1, the internet went wild. The memoir offers an account of a woman's gap year in Zambia, the details of which have been called into question by some Zambian readers, and the flavor of which is just a touch too white savior-y for many others. Who is Louise Linton, the author of this memoir?
Linton is originally from Edinburgh, Scotland. She is in her mid 30s, since she writes that she was 18 during her gap year in Africa, which took place in 1999. Linton's biography page outlines her educational history: She began her education at St. George's School for Girls, then attended Fettes College, "a boarding school in the heart of the Capital." She also attended two drama academies, where she began training for her future career as an actor.
Before attending college in the United States — Linton has a B.A. in journalism and a J.D. in law — she took her trip to Zambia to do volunteer work. The memoir about that trip, which has stoked the ire of readers from America to the continent of Africa, was published in May 2016.
Linton, who is reportedly dating Donald Trump's national finance chair Steven Mnunchin, has played roles in a smattering of movies and TV show episodes over the years, which are listed on her bio page. Perhaps most notably, she scored a small role in Warren Beatty's Rules Don't Apply, a biopic about Howard Hughes due to be released later this year.
And, of course, she is the main character in her book In Congo's Shadow — a "skinny white muzungu with long angel hair" trying to stay alive amid the Hutu-Tutsi conflict happening in Rwanda, but also affecting the Democratic Republic of Congo and, according to Linton, impacting her in Zambia.
Aside from acting, Linton's bio page also states she is a film producer and started her own production company, Stormchaser Films, after completing law school. The company's first films will hit the screen in 2016 and 2017. According to her bio page, Linton is also pursuing her pilot's license on the side.
Linton characterizes herself as a "passionate advocate for people and animals." She's on the board of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA, ambassador for the Scottish Butterfly Trust for Cystic Fibrosis, a global ambassador for Protecting African Lions, and an advocate for Ol Jogi, which works to save endangered species in Africa, to name a few of her advocacy efforts. Somewhat ironically, after listing several animal protection organizations with which she is involved, Linton notes that she has a line of leather hand bags named after her — "The Linton Collection."
Louise Linton has done a lot with her life aside from spending a few months in Africa and writing a controversial memoir about it. But even if her acting career soars, many will probably still know her primarily as the author of In Congo's Shadow.