Adut Akech: Raised in a Refugee Camp and is now among the Most sought after Models

Adut Akech Bior is an Australian-based model of South Sudanese descent born on the 25th of December 1999. She spent her early life in Kakuma Refugee camp in Kenya. When she was seven, she moved to Adelaide Australia, where some of her relatives were based, with her mother. It is in Australia where she schooled and learned how to speak English. At the age of twelve, her aunt who had a boutique in Adelaide requested her to walk in a fashion show for her. She mentioned that the moment she graced the runway, she felt that was what she wanted to do.

During the 2016 edition of Australia Fashion Week, an agent from the model management company, Elite, spotted her and signed her to the company. In the same year, she made her debut professional appearance on the runway at Paris Fashion Week, where she walked particularly for Yves Saint Laurent. She has since graced various runways, shoots and appeared on the covers of various magazines. Her dream of appearing on Vogue Australia’s cover came true in 2018 when she appeared on the magazine’s cover with her baby sister Akuol.

In only three years into the industry, she has appeared on the cover pages and within the pages of Vogue Korea, American Vogue, Vogue Paris, British Vogue, Italian Vogue, i-D, Allure among others. She has gone for shoots with renowned photographers such as Tim Walker, Steven Meisel, and Inez & Vinoodh. Akech has walked for Versace, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Calvin Klein, Miu Miu among others. She has also shot campaigns for the likes of Versace, Fendi, Valentino, Moschino and Saint Laurent.

In 2018, Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccilo took her to Met Gala while Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld has made her open and close several shows for the brand. Tim Walker photographed her for the yearly Pirelli Calendar alongside illustrious Naomi Campbell and Oscar Award-winning Lupita Nyong’o, who many think is her look alike. She described this experience as too good to be true.

With all these achievements, it is no surprise that Adut’s journey has been covered by The Guardian, CNN and New York Times. TIME featured her in their list of the 25 Most Influential Teens of 2018. Also in 2018, members of the fashion industry named her Model of the Year, beating famous models Gigi Hadid, Ashley Graham, and Adwoa Aboah.

Besides her career in fashion, Adut works with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to support refugees around the world. Her journey has, however, not been all rosy as her mother at first never liked the idea that she was into modelling. She almost quit the career to protect her mother who was facing brutal criticism from family members who thought modelling was a waste of time.

With all these achievements at such a tender age, Adut is the envy of many girls and will always be an inspiration to them. She says she wants to build a legacy.

“I don’t want to just be known as Adut Akech the Model. I want to build a legacy. I don’t feel like I only represent black girls; I want to represent anyone who started from nothing and had to work their way up. I want to inspire.”


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