Inela Nogic was just 17 when she participated in the Miss Besieged Sarajevo pageant. She became an iconic figure due in part to the song “Miss Saraajevo,” which also used her picture on the single sleeve. In a recent interview in The Washington Post, Nogic talks about how she became an “accidental icon.”
Nogic’s magical smile and the famous banner inspired the Irish rock group U2 to create a song devoted to her and her city — “Miss Sarajevo” — which they often performed with opera star Luciano Pavarotti.
At a U2 concert in Sarajevo in 1997, two years after the war ended, frontman Bono led Nogic by the hand to the stage as he sang “Here she comes, heads turn around, here she comes, to take her crown.”
To this day, the image of an endearing 17-year-old unfolding the historic banner is part of almost every video made about besieged Sarajevo.