By Calynn M. Lawrence
Alek Wek is a South Sudanese British fashion model and designer who has used her fame to have positive influence over the fashion industry and the world’s perception of what beautiful really means. Being worth approximately $30 million according to Forbes, she is certainly someone who aspiring models might want to take note from! She is classy, sassy and successful.
How did Alek Wek become THE Alek Wek? Well, she began her studies of fashion in London at the London College of Fashion with her concentration being in fashion business and technology. Just a few years later she was discovered by a model scout and began her modeling career! She booked the “Golden Eye” music video and gained the attention of many. This led to her being signed by Ford Model Management in 1996! From there she was able to appear in a series of music videos including Janet Jackson! With a growing presence in both the modeling and music industry, she was named MTV’s “Model of The Year” in 1997!
Some of Wek’s bigger campaigns include modeling for Chanel, Clinique, Victoria’s Secret, Moschino, Calkvin Klein and Alexander McQueen. Some of her repeat magazine features include Ebony, Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan and Glamour! She has even been a guest on various talk shows to discuss her mass success such as The Tyra Banks Show, America’s Next Top Model and The Janice Dickinson Show.
One thing that really stood out to the public about Alek Wek was her conscious effort to remain untouched by the current standard of beauty. She refused to be “white washed” as many other models of color had been in order to reach higher stature in her career. She actively made it a point to stay true to her African roots even if it meant that she would never sie to the top! People took note of this attitude and it made people redefine what it emant to be beautiful! Black white red or yellow, the color of your skin and the texture of your hair was not to be an issue! As a result, many people accepted her look as a new, exotic aesthetic that was quite impressive when coupled with such nonconformist pride and confidence!
In addition to all of this she pursues other ventures in charity and fashion design! She has her own handbag line, “Wek 1933”, that is old in department stores. This takes inspiration from the working gal’s briefcase! Also she is very charitable with her involvement in various causes. Wek has been an advisor to the U.S. Committee for Refugees Advisory Council for over a decade as well as being an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders, a volunteer for UNICEF and a missionary for World Vision which is an orgnization working to combat AIDS!
Obviously, Alek Wek has made great use of her time and is continuing to do so! She has got to be one of the most socially involved models of our time!