Tippi Hedren is the daughter of Sylvie Robert and Alain Degre, two French wildlife photographers who found themselves out in the wilds of Africa when she was born. Documenting the amazing wild animals of the continent, her parents would often capture these stunning creatures as they interacted with their child who, growing up around the beasts, was completely fearless.
Here are some jaw-dropping photographs of a young Tippi, unlike anything you've seen before.
1. Froggy Friend
Born into a world of animals and nature, Tippi soon became acquainted with all of the creatures her parents photographed, both great and small. Here she is cuddling a, thankfully not poisonous, fat froggy friend who perhaps seems less enamored by the embrace. Working on ranches and reserves, Tippi's parents brought her to work with them.
And so she got incredibly close to the animals.
2. Lion Cub
This lion cub was brought into a reserve because it was orphaned from its mother but Tippi wastes no time in making friends. Don't be fooled, though, just because it is in the confines of the reserve this animal isn't even remotely tame. At a young age, these big cats will just be playful more than anything.
But they do grow into dangerous hunters.
3. Daily Commute
How do you get to work each day? Trawling the car at a snail's pace through congested roads? On a packed commuter train full of sweaty bodies? Walking outside in the harsh elements. Not Tippi, she got there with the help of her ostrich friend here and although Tippi may look glamorous here we don't recommend it.
Ostrich kicks can kill a lion and they can be quite aggressive.
4. Cool Cats
Cheetahs aren't the biggest, strongest or most aggressive of big cats since they are mostly built for speed rather than strength but they do still have enough power to bring down an antelope and snap its neck so we're not so sure we'd be too cool with one giving us a taste, just in case.
Tippi, however, does not care for our fear and is an absolute boss with her cat friend.
5. Mammoth Friendship
Elephants are known for being intelligent, empathetic and gentle creatures with those they know although their sheer size, strength and huge tusks make them a danger should they feel uncomfortable or threatened. Obviously knowing Tippi well, this fine specimen gives Tippi a lift as she hugs him for his kindness.
Such healthy ears and tusks are rarely seen in elephants due to poaching and fighting.
6. Friends For Life
Rolling in the dirt with a big cat cub may sound fun but...well, that's just it. Tippi is living out many people's dreams here by playing with Lion cubs and elephants and all sorts of exotic animals and the fact she is making friends with the likes of this furry fella' makes it all the more awesome.
That being said, when these guys grow up, they may be less inclined to friendliness.
7. New Hairstyle
Tippi's family worked closely with the native people of Namibia who were indigenous to the region. With Tippi only being young she was far more accepting and open to their culture than many grown people would be and here she is receiving hair braids traditional to the local communities.
This sort of inclusive nature made it so much easier to live amongst the natives.
8. A Decade In The Sun
Tippi lived in Africa until she was 10-years-old before her parents moved back to Paris, France. Learning to play with and care for the animals, Tippi certainly had an extraordinary and extremely lucky childhood as this pic with two lion cubs proves. Imagine being able to say you grew up amongst, played with and learned from these animals.
Returning to the hustle and bustle of a major European city must have been very strange.
9. Queen of The World
In what must have been one of the most stunning experiences you can imagine, Tippi here rides on top of an elephant as she is one with nature and the wildlife of the African continent. This elephant was actually a retired circus performer and so was used to being around people and this sort of activity.
It was lucky that this beast got to live out the rest of its days in a somewhat natural state.
10. Going For A Swim
Elephants often like to cool off in shallow water or a mud puddle and Tippi seems to have a certain affinity with these animals. Helping her buddy cool off by splashing and frolicking with them Tippi is not put off by their imposing size and they don't seem to mind having her around, especially when she is helping them out like this.
Can you imagine going for bath time with a pachyderm?
11. Playing With Giants
It seems like Tippi is mimicking this elephant's ears as she spreads her arms wide in this airy top but she is probably just thanking him for the ride earlier as the beast carried her on its trunk. Going in for a hug with an elephant is not really recommended but Tippi and this one certainly have a bond that makes this okay.
Still, we'd rather not do it ourselves.
12. Monkeying Around
Although all of these shots look like they were idyllic, Tippi was actually working and posing for her parent's photography which they would sell around the world. Moments, where she could sit and rest, were probably warmly welcomed and this touching moment as she reaches out to a monkey seems very sweet and sincere.
The animal also seems intrigued by the young girl.
13. Traditional Costume
Another shot of Tippi interacting with the native people of Namibia who are here dressing her up in a traditional hunting outfit in braids and animal hides. Giving her unique eye makeup as well, Tippi got to play dress-up as part of her work and time in Africa for her parent's photographs and was helped out by locals.
The young girl was immersed in a culture and society she was not from and managed to learn and grow within it.
14. A Moment In The Shade
Not only did Tippi have some good monkey friends to rest in the shade of the trees with but she was also a style icon. Look at the jacket, just look at it! It's awesome! The cheeky chappy she's sharing a moment with also seems very interested in the camera which seems a little unprofessional for a model.
But since he's probably not used to being in the spotlight, we'll let it slide this time.
15. Have A Nap
Napping with big cats looks wonderful but apparently, Tippi's parents would often try and schedule similar photo shoots with the same animals over time and would often struggle as what were once cute, kitten like animals had been transformed into full grown hunters over a matter of months which would make a repeat performance impossible.
However, Tippi was often unfazed by this having grown up around the animals.
16. Meerkat Meetings
Some of the animals Tippi would meet were smaller and less threatening than others including this cuddly Meerkat who, admittedly, seems a little confused as to what is going on right now as he is levitated off the ground, far from where they are used to being. Perhaps he was just trying to sell her some insurance when this photo shoot happened.
Still, it must have been a relief to her parents when she was playing with these less dangerous animals.
17. The Tables Are Turned
The Meerkat seems far less perplexed here as he now gets the top seat and begins investigating Tippi's hair. The two seem to enjoy each other's company and playing around whilst the parents snap away. How good would it be to have a meerkat buddy to help comb your hair and go for strolls in the garden with?
It would certainly make hair care a little more...simples.
18. Snappy Dresser
This does not look safe. Posing, one-legged on top of a massive crocodile is not something we would suggest you do since...well, y'know, they're pretty darned dangerous. Also, if she slips that's one heck of a fall but it just goes to show how fearless Tippi was around animals and the rugged environment of Africa.
The croc also seems perfectly lackadaisical and relaxed but then, they usually do.
19. Further Afield
Of course, being wildlife photographers, Tippi's parents didn't just work in Africa and so she would go with them on other projects which were also in far-flung places. A departure from the intense heat and dirt of Namibia, Tippi seems to be enjoying being amongst this flock of birds as she gets a taste of a fresh sea breeze.
We bet that rock absolutely stank, though!
20. Going Back
Despite leaving Africa at the age of 10-years-old, Tippi returned when she was older in order to catch up with old friends and see how much the place had changed in her absence. It must have jogged and rekindled some fantastic memories of that time when she used to play and work with the majestic animals of this continent.
Still, as fearless as ever, Tippi learned photography herself and came out with a book called My Book of Africa.