It’s a word we use loosely; internet speak that makes us laugh. A Visual Love Letter to Fashion and Fantasy. We had no idea how poor we were, because we were so rich in our culture, our education. She was assigned her own special needs teacher and was soon fluent in English. Wek, one of the most successful models of the past two decades, has inherited her father's height and extraordinarily long limbs, her mother's cheekbones and her "little booty and big smile", but she's not exactly glamour-girl material. A former refugee, Ms. Wek has lent her time to advancing for refugee rights and for UNICEF, as well as involving herself in the fight against AIDS. Since their earliest shoots in industrial yards, it’s come down to this: a woman alone, playing in shadows, wearing clothes. Calvin Klein, Isaac Mizrahi, Todd Oldham and Anna Sui followed suit. I have interviewed many models and, without fail, when asked if they always knew they were beautiful, each of them has given me a look of mock horror before going on to list their unsightly features as a child: big feet, too tall, gawky features. All rights reserved. Wek arrived in London two years later, to live with her sisters in Hackney (her mother followed when she was 16). Her parents, the first generation in their family to have gone to school, were able to identify wild foods that were poisonous and the few that were safe to eat. We can eat wherever we want and always know there's drinking water – my mother had to boil water to stop me getting sick. I never fully understood the magnitude of what I was doing, because I hadn't grown up in this culture." The body becomes fragments, brushstrokes. "It was horrible," she remembers. Fashion as an industry exploits glamour for profit, but Dara believes in its ability to transform. Alek Wek was 19 when she was approached by a model scout from a top London agency at a fair in Crystal Palace park. As I see Africa rising, I am very humbled and very excited at the same time especially for the younger next generation, to just help as a continent and country… And if I can help towards that rebuilding, or celebrating the wonderful richness of the continent… I’m more than happy to be a part of such an incredible moment. We have such a strong voice in fashion, such a platform. I focused on that and threw myself into it." It’s a sensation, a fluid motion that provides something to aspire to. Now, she says, there are so many South Sudanese girls working as models it is not a big deal; in the late 1990s, she was one of very few successful African models. I never thought I was ugly – it never crossed my mind. It started with photographing herself, blogging was an easy progression from a life of dress-up. "They tried to protect us, but things escalated to such a degree that the militia began fighting the police. She visited her home country, South Sudan, after its first year of independence to be of service to the citizens there. There is another unseen hat that holds it in place. Wek was discovered in Crystal Palace Park in London at the age of 18. ", There's an argument that this self-belief comes from growing up with what was effectively a media blackout. She’s an actress caught in a state of undress. "It was really, really hard. The police had no resources or ammunition left and, finally, told us to evacuate. This is a culmination of years of obsession, ever since a friend told her to check out Style.com in the tenth grade. She doesn't get nearly as much press as she deserves IMO. Rather than taking on the task of painting the face blue, here Cruz has used light.Top Right - Dara wears a Comme des Garçons jacket Marcus found on depop, Cruz’s vintage pussy bow blouse, and a JW Anderson dress worn as a skirt with two tulle skirts underneath. "You can feel very strongly that someone doesn't like you. The Weks were eventually able to leave for Khartoum because her mother had managed to take a quantity of salt with her, which she sold to people in the bush. Vest, stylist’s own. I will never understand why designers shy away from dark women like Alek- metallics like gold and bright vivid colors are so striking on her! # NaturalGirl # NaturalHair # Unbeweavable # Wig # LowCut # Models # TopModels # AfricanModels--> Like the Fáshion Ghana Magaziné page for all updates on African fashionistas & Models. The opportunity has opened so many doors in my life, and that moment, in particular, will always stay with me.” She goes on to say, “I’ve always loved learning about different cultures; it still strikes me as strange that in a country so advanced, some people are viewed as more appealing than others based on skin color. Even so, she was regularly mistaken for Naomi Campbell, an entirely different-looking model from Streatham with a Jamaican-born mother. <3 Alek Wek! We come in and get paid to walk for 10 minutes at the end. She has recently been signed up by Marks & Spencer for a campaign alongside Emma Thompson, Annie Lennox and Rita Ora. "I can no longer face doing 10 fashion shows a day. Iconicity. Dara is most often the girl in the picture. Here, yellow light is used on a white seamless to create Cruz’s version of a desert. Her mother, she remembers, was horrified, thinking her daughter was about to become a Page 3 girl. The hair is a wig fall, which Dara styled herself. She doesn't get nearly as much press as she deserves IMO. But her distinctions seemed to be what brands were drawing. Also, that wig was fugly- so much better with her natural hair! Now, I had a spring in my step because I felt more seen, more appreciated." You don't have to go with the crowd. It was a time that I was just starting in fashion, to work. She was 12. Movies come up constantly. Wek was born April 16, 1977 in South Sudan. Originally from what is now the independent nation of South Sudan, Alek Wek took the modeling world by storm in the 1990s with her unconventional, exotic look - a look that the Daily Mail in Britain called "savage beauty." She has always known that she is beautiful, and if it’s taken this long for others to see her beauty, that’s their problem. Alek Wek casts off the blonde wig ~ but is an isolated act translate as a message of defiance and liberation, or one of acceptance of tokenism in an industry of institutional racism? Wek was booked to star in Tina Turner's GoldenEye video, named Model of the Year by i-D magazine and, in 1997 (less than a year after starting out), became the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle magazine. Wek has admitted that growing up with a look that was distinct from the kids around her, she was subject to ridicule, but having experienced war first hand, the teasing was something she could easily deal with. It was a time that I … This is where we hang out, and where we all met. She has always taken it seriously. It's about telling girls from a young age that it's OK to be quirky, it's fine to be shy. Absolutely not." Pink skin is cooled down by the blue background, at a point much later in the day. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts. “It is a dream to live and work with them.” When they began styling the debut of Vejas—the LVMH prize winning Canadian label—collaboration rose out of online friendship, a way to assist the burgeoning 19-year-old talent. Overhead light carves out the face, like an early morning sun is beating on her skin. A moment that Marcus likens to cinema. "She told us it was about celebrating the beauty of being a woman – that's what made you gorgeous." There were people in high fashion I could better relate to, who were doing something more interesting and not talking this sort of rubbish. Instagram, Twitter, iMessage. She appeared on the cover of Forbes Africa in 2013, and in her behind-the-scenes interview explained her appreciation for being in a position to help change the perception of Africa. She laughs at the ridiculousness: "A black woman is not 'a type'. The mattress is reassigned to the hallway; Dara’s bedroom becomes the dressing room. I was the girl next door. Raised in San Diego, she grew up a short distance from Cruz, in Orange County. “Marcus’ blog was the benchmark for taste,” Cruz tells me. She became a house muse in the seasons that followed. A white turtleneck and blue bandeau that belong to Cruz, and a lace trimmed top model’s own. Whenever I think about that, I realise it's not about me. The same swimsuit as before, this time worn with a Nicolas Ghesquiere era Balenciaga skirt. Shot in the style of a classic studio portrait, Cruz uses light and shadow to draw the eyes to new parts of the body. Alek Wek @OP The modeling world especially in Europe which is the godfather or the head of the modeling world internationally, they look at beauty artistically not the standard view of beauty. Odd jobs, part times, long hours. Speaking of ass, no one is talking about that model who wasn't wearing pants? Wek was (and still is) unable to swim, and was terrified. Alek Wek is represented by Storm Model Management. Her entry into modelling when Marc Jacobs slid into her DMs for the FW17 season. That raw, honest, and yes, gorgeous look - sometimes accentuated in fashion shows with wild makeup and colorful wigs (she's known for throwing off her wigs in the … "Yes, absolutely. Her mother was a housewife, and her father, who died while also trying to escape the war, was an education official.
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