Instagram star and beauty queen shot and killed

Tanya Edwards

Social media star and model Tara Fares has been shot dead in Baghdad, CNN is reporting. 

The death of Fares and other recent killings prompted Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to order an investigation on Friday.

According to a statement by Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which is investigating the incident, the former Miss Baghdad, and first runner-up for Miss Iraq, was shot three times and killed at the wheel of her Porsche convertible while driving in central Baghdad on Thursday. 

Tara Fares Photo: Instagram/its.tarafares

The 22-year-old, a Christian whose father was Iraqi and mother Lebanese, was living in Erbil, but visited the capital occasionally. She was beloved by her nearly 3 million followers for her bright, and sometimes bold, style.

Her death seems to be part of a disturbing trend.

Last month, two well-known women in Baghdad’s beauty-and-style industry died, leading some Iraqis to believe women of note are being targeted.

The “Barbie of Iraq,” Rafeef al-Yaseri, was killed in her home in Baghdad on Aug. 16. She was a plastic surgeon who owned the Barbie Beauty Center and organized national programs specializing in medical affairs for women.

A week later, Rasha al-Hassan, owner and manager of Viola Beauty Center in Baghdad, was found dead inside her home.

Fares seemed to be aware that she was a potential target of extremists.

She wrote on Instagram in July, “It does not frighten me that there are those who reject the existence of God. What really frightens me is there are those who kill and slaughter to prove the existence of God.”

Following her death, a black-and-white photo of the beauty queen was shared with her nearly 3 million Instagram followers shortly after her death.

The caption read, “In a treacherous and cowardly incident, Tara Fares Chamoun, is with God. We asked God to accept her with His great mercy.”