Ajak Deng, Sudanese Australian supermodel, announced on her personal Instagram account yesterday that she is quitting the modeling world and returning to Australia to pursue a “normal” life.
Ajak Deng, who was born in Sudan, fled the country when she was 12 and moved with her family to Australia. She has walked the runway for fashion heavyweights such as Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Marc Jacobs, and Dior. Ajak sites that the reason she no longer wants to be a part of the modeling industry is that she can “no longer deal with the fakes and the lies” that are involved in that world.
Images from Vogue Australia
Ajak Deng in the past has been very vocal about the racism that plagues the fashion industry. In 2014, she tweeted that she got kicked out of a Balmain runway show because of her race. I am not surprised by this statement since other black supermodels such as Naomi Campbell have complained for years about the unfair booking practices and lack of diversity in the fashion industry. According to The Fashion Spot, 77.6% of the models cast to walk for Fashion Week in New York, London, Paris and Milan were white. The site notes that this is an improvement from the 80% reported from Fall 2015 shows. Iman and Naomi Campbell among others continue to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. Although there is an abundance of stunning black models willing to work, most designers do not seem too eager to cast them for their shows and campaigns like they cast white models. As for Ajak Deng, she appears to be at peace with the decision to leave that world behind. I am happy that she is doing it with her dignity still intact and without compromising her self-worth. I am proud that she was brave enough to stand up for the injustices that she experienced. She is truly a beautiful woman with gorgeous features. As for the fashion industry and the underrepresentation of black models, change is something that I don’t see happening overnight. Sometimes I wonder if more minority designers were given an equal opportunity and the platform to showcase their talents on the fashion runway, will this result in an increase in the visibility and demand of multicultural models? Hmmm just a thought….
Check out blogger Dynamic Africa on what she thinks about racism in the fashion industry. It is very insightful.