Adut Akech Calls Out Magazine For Printing Photo Of Another Black Model

In a statement released after a magazine published a photograph of another black model next to her interview, Adut called the debacle a ‘wake up call’.

Adut Akech is one of the world's most in-demand models working today.

The 19-year-old boasts multiple magazine covers, campaigns, and runway shows – which is why it's truly unfortunate that in 2019, publications still can't get the names of models of colour correctly.

In a piece on Melbourne Fashion Week recently featured in Australia’s Who Magazine, an article on Adut was published alongside a photo of another black model, Flavia Lazarus.

The photo ran, ironically, next to an interview where the South Sudan native spoke eloquently about providing representation for refugees. Unsurprisingly (and justifiably) the mix up invoked a colossal online backlash.

Akech, who was born in South Sudan but moved to Australia as a child refugee, expressed on her post that she feels personally disrespected and insulted, but wanted to address this issue because of a larger systemic problem.

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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 @whomagazine (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 narrowminded 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

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"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," she wrote.

"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."

"This is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview," she continued.

"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 narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same."

Akech went on to explain that although the magazine apologised to her directly, an important conversation needs to happen.

"I've been called by the name of other 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," she said.

"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. Australia you have a lot of work to do and you've got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry."

This is not the first time a major magazine incorrectly identifies one of its subjects of colour.

Earlier this year, Vogue published a feature about Muslim-American activist Noor Tagouri.

In the article, she was mistakenly referred to as Pakistani actress Noor Bukhari, an error that the publication swiftly apologised for.

"Misrepresentation and misidentification is a constant problem if you are Muslim in America," Tagouri said at the time.

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