Supermodel Adut Akech Bior is conquering the world. The 19-year-old fashion model debuted at the Saint Laurent Fall/Winter 2017 show and things haven’t been quiet ever since. Meanwhile, Akech has become a much demanded model on the runway, a welcome guest at every fashion party and an advocate for people of color. Read everything you need to know about this timeless beauty below.
Cover photo: Unsplash
Adut Akech Bior
The 19 year old Adut Akech Bior was born in a refugee center in South-Sudan, a country torn apart by civil war. Together with her mom, she survived day after day in the center. Their next destination? It didn’t really matter, as long as it would be far, far away from the war they’d been drawn into. When Akech was 6 years old, they moved to a new refugee center in Kenia, where they would stay for 2 more years. They finally moved to Australia.
Once arrived in the new country, Akech met white people for the firs time in her life. While integrating quickly, life wasn’t easy. They neither spoke the language, nor knew anyone, to name something.
At school people soon noticed her modeling potential. “You should become a model with legs like yours” was often the advice she got. When visiting family in Melbourne, she got the courage to drop by Chadwick Models Agency. It marked the start of her success as a fashion model.
Where she used to travel to escape the war, Akech now travels the world to walk shows for Saint Laurent, Chanel and many others. She’s become Valentino’s muse and if that isn’t just enough, Akech was featured on 3 (!) Vogue covers last September and won the title “Model of the Year” by models.com. Some people whisper she’ll be the next Naomi Campbell or Cindy Crawford.
Adut Akech in WHO Magazine
Only a couple of months ago, WHO Magazine (Australia) published a short interview with Adut Akech about people’s general attitude to refugees and people of color. Unfortunately, Who Magazine placed a photo of a different model (beauty Flavia Lazarus) next to the article. Something that would never have happened with a white model. That’s what Akech thought as well. Therefore, she wrote a short essay and shared it on Instagram. You can say her caption didn’t lie:
“I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me. […] This has upset me, has made me angry, it has made me feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances. Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue. Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. This is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrow minded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same.”
Akech exactly points out the problem here. Apparently it’s still hard for some ‘narrow minded’ people to see the difference between two completely different women. Akech continues:
“I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine -they have apologised to me directly – but I feel like I need to express publicly how I feel. This has deeply affected me and we need to start an important conversation that needs to happen. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. I’ve been called by the name of another models who happens to be of the same Ethnicity, I find it very ignorant, rude and disrespectful towards both of us simply because we know that this doesn’t happen with white models.” May it at least have been an eye-opener for many. View the original Instagram post here.
Already a big fan of Adut Akech? Then check out some of her best photos below.
Also read our model of the month on Maeva Giani Marshall, we bet you’ll like it.