Dut Akech is packing her bags when we talked last Friday. She has just finished high school, that night, 17-year-old Adelaide will fly to France to attend the beginning of this year’s Paris Fashion Week, Saint Laurent show.
She wore a fashionista’s social media account while running on the runway on Wednesday morning; she was the most popular show wearing dramatic black and white tops, shorts and furry boots. Akech is here.
This is an extraordinary moment for any teenager – even more so for those who are now Adtra, the war-torn nickname in South Sudan. She spent some time early in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, – years old.
On the phone, she heard her newly discovered freedom make her feel dizzy because she had finished high school and was about to become a full-time model.
In fact, she is a Saint Laurent veteran. Last September, she conducted an international fashion show, the last two quarters specifically for the fashion brand catwalk. This year she will complete the task completely – she will be busy if there is anything to do on Tuesday night’s show.
Akech took a photo of ID Magazine, Magazine 10 and Vogue Australia last year, which is a great start. She also participated in the highly anticipated 2018 all-black Pirelli Calendar, designed by incoming editor Veen British editor Edward Enniful and co-authored by Naomi Campbell, Diddy, And Tim Walker starring Whoopi Goldberg.
Although this line-up is dazzling, Akech’s most exciting person is Lupita Ngong’o, one of her role models, who works side by side with Campbell and Alek Wek. It may sound like Ngong might have taken her to her side. “She told me to get in touch with her when I went to New York, so I would do that,” said Archi, excited voice spreading in her voice. “She said if I needed any help, or what I needed when I arrived in New York, just to contact her.
So this year, she will not return to Australia after the Paris Fashion Week is over. She said: “I may come back in the next two months to visit my family, but I may spend a few weeks in Paris before I go to New York.”
For a 17-year-old, Akech is a truly experienced traveler. She did not remember Sudan or refugee camps but remembered that settlers in Nairobi had been relocated to Australia before being relocated to Australia. She desperately wants to go to a local school, but too expensive for her single mother. “Sometimes I go to my cousin’s school for lunch, I’m just at the door, watching all the kids playing on the playground, which makes me sad and I hope that’s me.”
When the family found they were about to move to Australia, the school was her most exciting thing. She said: “Free education and choosing to go to school.” “At that time I had no choice.”
The family leaves only a few clothes in Kenya, which is an exciting but sad moment for six-year-old Akech. She is curious about who she meets. “Back to Kenya, rarely seen any white people, I just said:” In this country, how? I heard a lot of white people, but we are not used to seeing white people, so this is one of the things I’ve always thought of.
When I asked if landing in Adelaide was a cultural shock, she hesitated. “It’s different, it’s different,” she said discreetly. “But I really look forward to everything.”
They quickly entered the community and most families were welcome. “Everyone has [discrimination] when you go to school and things because you do not know how to speak English. I have several children who are teasing me, but we do not know how to speak English, so we went to an English school ”
Akech wants to get used to it as soon as possible: “I just work hard and I want to do my job of graduating from English school so I can go to normal school like a normal person.”
But her world has not been completely racist. Earlier this year, Akech was chosen to attend David Jones’s spring-summer campaign and act as the face of the retailer’s beauty book. This is a major milestone in the model’s career and shows her broad-based smile on billboards in the capital city of Australia.
But a Gold Coast woman disagrees with her actor, complaining about it through the David Jones Facebook account, and does not represent “the general population of Australia.”
Elizabeth Ballard wrote: “How do I anticipate this cover? I can not wear any of her cosmetics, and I do not know anyone who looks like she … and she can use it on the back page.” You really missed the sign here, I am angry, sick big company [sic] so feel good for the few. Please think about your shoppers next time. ”
David Jones was criticized when one of David Jones’s social media moderators responded to this comment: “We’re very sorry that you felt that way and we’ve sent your feedback to our marketing department for their reference and use.
Akech did not say much at the time. This is intentional. “I really took the time to think about it – would I overreact, or am I not going to give it to me? I chose not to let it approach me because that was the first time that I had made a stupid racist commentary on me .
She is celebrating the fact she has already done the cover and does not want to distract things. “There is not much that I do about this lady because everyone has the right to get their opinions – she’s upset, what’s up, it’s her opinion, nothing can be done. About David Jones’s response.
“But in the end I came to mind, and I’m pretty sure David Jones chose me not to be a mistake, just because one person felt it necessary to apologize, which could be all the way to explain, which may not be what it meant, without explanation.”
Australian model Duckie Thot is also a rising star, he said the lack of diversity in the Australian fashion industry. Adut agreed, but thought the situation was getting better. “There is always room for improvement, and I think they can do better and use a range of different girls, and you’re starting to see dark-skinned girls and Asian girls and things like that, so that’s really exciting.”
Akech has a great ambition for her modeling career – “I really want to get Victoria’s Secret” – but also thinking about her lifestyle after fashion. She wants to learn business and entrepreneurship and hopes to lay the foundations for helping the poor and for homelessness. She recalled the Sydney home return to Adelaide when she cooked the rest of the food and distributed it to homeless people who camped throughout the city.
Akech said she felt connected to the homeless community because of her own background. “My family does not have all these luxuries and all these goodies, so I did see that.”
When she interviewed the Adelaide Fashion Festival on Channel Seven in October, she was accused of being a refugee. Some complained that she was being ridiculed and unfairly treated.
But Akech did not feel frustrated: “A lot of people say this,” Why did you classify her as a refugee? Is she an Australian? “I am a refugee, I am who I am, and I should not be ashamed of it. I should not be angry about it.” Yes, I am an Australian citizen and I am an Australian from South Sudan, but I am still a refugee.