An Australian supermodel has called out Who Magazine for a blunder which saw them mistakenly publish images of another black model instead of her.
South Sudan-born model Adut Akech was interviewed by the magazine and discussed the issue of race, and how people view refugees.
And while she said the article reflected her opinions and did justice to her story, an unfortunate mishap saw another black model pictured to illustrate the story.
‘With the article, they published a large photo saying it was me, but it was of another black girl,’ she said in a statement on Monday.
The Who Magazine spread claimed the model pictured above – who is actually Flavia Lazarus – was Akech
The 19-year-old global sensation said the mix up defeated the purpose of her sharing her story at all (Pictured: Adut Akech at the David Jones Spring Summer 2018 Collections Launch)
‘Not only do I feel personally insulted and disrespected, but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too.’
The 19-year-old global sensation said the mix up defeated the purpose of her sharing her story at all.
She said it went against everything she stands for, while showing the ‘arrogance’ of people involved.
‘I feel as though this wouldn’t have happened to a white model,’ she said.
Akech has modelled for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Prada, Miu Miu, Tom Ford and Valentino.
She also recently featured on the prestigious September cover of British Vogue, guest edited by the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.
Model Flavia Lazarus (left) was published in the magazine when they meant to share pictures of Adut Akech (right) who they interviewed
Strong women: Adut (top left) was one of 14 women who appeared on the cover of British Vogue’s prestigious September edition, guest edited by Meghan Markle
While in town for Melbourne Fashion Week, Akech made time to chat with Who Magazine about what she’d been up to of late and used the opportunity to discuss diversity and acceptance in the industry.
WHO IS ADUT AKECH?
Adut Akech is a 19-year-old supermodel who grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya before moving to Adelaide with her family.
She was initially scouted by modeling agencies as a 13-year-old, but didn’t start her career until she was 16, when she joined prestigious Chadwick Models in Australia.
From there her career skyrocketed.
She has worked alongside some of the biggest brands in the industry, including Saint Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein and Tom Ford.
She is now the ambassador for the 2019 Melbourne Fashion Week.
‘I want to change the way people view refugees,’ she was quoted as saying in the feature.
She spoke of issues close to her heart, having been born in South Sudan and raised in a Kenyan refugee camp before she and her family moved to Adelaide, which she said made the mix up all the more hard to handle.
‘This has upset me, this has made me angry… to me this is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstance.’
She said this was not the first time a mix up of this sort had occurred, citing an incident where she was called by the name of another model of the same ethnicity.
‘To people within the industry, this is not okay and you need to do better,’ she said.
‘Australia, you’ve got a lot of work to do. You’ve got to do better.’
Akech said she hopes her experience will generate a conversation and encourage diversity and better understanding.
Melbourne Fashion Week released the above statement on their Instagram account
Akech has modelled for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Prada, Miu Miu, Tom Ford and Valentino
The City of Melbourne Council’s PR agency is believed to have made a mistake in sending files through to Who Magazine which resulted in the mix up.
When organising the interview, they reportedly sent a file containing images of model Flavia Lazarus, rather than Akech.
In a statement, Who Magazine apologised for the blunder.
‘Unfortunately the agency that set up our interview with Adut Akech supplied us with the wrong photograph to accompany the piece,’ a spokesperson said.
‘Who spoke directly with Adut to explain how the error occurred and have sincerely apologised.
‘We also apologise to Flavia Lazarus for the misprint.’
The magazine also said they hoped the mistake would help create a discussion about diversity.
‘Hopefully the result of our misprint will be more people talking about this issue in the industry and tackling it head-on.’
ADUT AKECH’S FULL STATEMENT
‘I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me.
‘For those who are not aware, last week
‘Who Magazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to colour in general.
‘With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl.
‘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.
‘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.
‘I want this to be somewhat of a wake up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better.
‘Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumors.
‘To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names.
‘Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry.’