An Australian glamour magazine goes through the dust after a painful blunder in an interview with a well-known top model. The Who Magazine published a story this week about 19-year-old Adut Akech, but accidentally added the photo of another black woman. The girl of South Sudanese descent is furious and hard on the magazine. “I personally feel insulted and disrespected.”
The fault of Who Magazine is somewhat sensitive in this case because Akech testifies in the interview about the problems that refugees and people with a different skin color experience every day. “feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable,” Akech writes in a candid message on Instagram. The exchange with another black woman is “unacceptable and inexcusable” for her “under any circumstances.”
In the interview, Akech speaks frankly about her experiences in the modelling world and the attitude that many people have towards models with different skin colour. With her story, the teenage girl hopes to raise awareness among people who look down on girls like her, but also on refugees, for example.
Akech herself had to run as a young girl for her life after her safety in her native South Sudan was at stake. She and her family ended up in a refugee camp, which she talks about extensively in the interview. The fact that this mistake would have made in this very personal conversation makes her very sad. “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.”
It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same.Says Akech
The employee who posted the photo was under the assumption that Akech was in the photo. It turned out to be Flavia Lazarus, another model. The interview completely misses its goal, says Akech. “It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same.”
A representative of Who Magazine acknowledges the seriousness of the mistake and has apologised both privately and publicly on behalf of the magazine. The magazine would have received the wrong photo. Melbourne Fashion Week, the event that was used as a coat rack for the interview, also apologises.
“We are very disappointed that a photo of one of our campaign models, Flavia Lazarus, was accidentally printed instead of a photo of Adut. Both Adut and Flavia have expressed their disappointment, and we support them. This error is unacceptable, and both Who Magazine and our PR agency OPR have apologised.”
For Akech, the stocking is not finished. She hopes that other media and the modelling industry will learn something of the blunder. “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. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. 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”
The 19-year-old Adut Akech is considered one of the greatest talents in the fashion world. Akech made her debut at an early age at an exclusive event of fashion house Yves Saint Laurent.
Here is his complete statement, posted on Instagram: