Adut Akech an 18-year-old dreamer. Who already earn a business degree and open school in her native South Sudan.
Become a journalist and inspire other women to lead.
She dream to build her own empire by the age of 30, so she never has to work for anyone else ever again.
It could happen. Her current career –as one of the world’s most sought-after young model – must have seemed just as ambitious a goal.
It was only two years ago, mere months after graduating from high school in Adelaide, Australia, that she made her runway debut, walking as an exclusive in the Saint Laurent Spring-Summer 2017 show.
Since then she walked for the likes of Cristian Dior, Burberry, Alexander, McQueen and Prada and the past July became only the second black model to close the Chanel haute couture show.
‘Not only is she extraordinarily beautiful, she also has a sweetness that comes through in her pictures. If Naomi Campbell and Alej Wek had a love child, it would be adut.’
Edward Enninful, Editor of British Vogue
Earlier of September, during New York Fashio Week, Akech was taken by surprise when she’d made the Business of Fashion’s(BoF) annual 500 list honoring the professionals shaping the fashion industry.
‘I was freaking out when I found about it, I never thought I’d be chosen,’ she said.I always look at BoF.
Imran said to me, ‘I’ve been following your work for the last two years and it’s incredible, you’re so inspiring.’ So there are people out there seeing what I do.It’s amazing.’
Born in a refugee camp in South Sudan amid ongoing conflict with the north, Akech grew up in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp, before moving to Adelaide with her mother and five siblings.
Even if I become the richest model in the world I will still be a refugee. My truth is I am a refugee,’ she said. She still remembers those early years in Kenya, and her mother’s struggle to support her family.
‘When I first moved to Australia at age six, I promised my mother I would finish school, buy her car and make something out of myself.’
The path to fame has been far from easy. From a young age she was bullied for the way she looked –her dark skin, her lithe physique and particularly her full lips and her trademark took gap.
One early cover shoot for an Australian magazine was tainted by an employee’s complaints that her look wouldn’t appeal to their audience.
Akech hoper her own success can inspire others, showing young girls that ‘black is beautiful,’ much in the same way the Naomi Campbell, Alek Wek and Lupita Nyong’o did for her.
‘I want to tell the girls who look like me and girls who have insecurities that instead of hating and trying to cover it up, they should just embrace it and be proud of it,’ she said.
‘Don’t let others define who you are.’