South Sudanese-Australian supermodel Adut Akech says she felt ”disrespected” after Who Magazine, featured her in an interview with the image of a different black model.
Who Magazine, a prominent Australian celebrity, and entertainment publication illustrated the interview with Adut Akech with a picture of her colleague, Flavia Lazarus.
Akech addressed the issue in an emotional Instagram post, suggesting that such a mistake would have never happened to a white model.
The 19-year-old Adut Akech is one of the most successful and in-demand teen models. She worked for world-famous brands such as Chanel, Givenchy, and Valentino. She also appeared on the covers of the Australian, British, Italian, and Korean editions of Vogue. On top of that, Time magazine pronounced her one of the most influential teenagers in 2018.
The model said that the error was “unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances,” and that she felt that her “entire race had been disrespected.” In her words, the error showed how ignorant and narrow-minded people can be taken for granted that all black or African people look the same.
Adut Akech explicitly made it clear that she did not intend to bash anyone publicly, but she felt it right to share the incident. She went on saying that the Australian fashion industry has a long way to go.
Adut gave the interview for Who magazine before the beginning of the Melbourne Fashion Week, which starts August 28. The talk was about how the world treats people of color and refugees. The topic had a deep personal meaning for the model because of her background.
She was born in South Sudan and spent the first eight years of her life in a refugee camp in Kenya before migrating with her family to Adelaide, Australia.
Who magazine already contacted Adut to apologize and to explain how the error occurred. Reportedly, it received the wrong images from OPR, the Australian PR agency which arranged the interview. OPR apologized and admitted the mistake.
It was not the first time when a celebrity of color has been identified as someone else. For instance, in 2017, during the Emmy’s telecast of the red carpet show, the musical director Rickey Minor was misidentified with RuPaul. A year before, the Television Academy identified Terrance Howard as Cuba Gooding Jr. in a tweet.
What do you think? Do you support or oppose the view of the model Adut Akech that such a mistake would have never happened to a white model?