Model Quits; Manager Says Industry Favors Whites

Ajak Deng is out
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2016 2:21 PM CST
Model Quits; Manager Says Industry Favors Whites
Models from left, Ajak Deng, from Sudan, Aminata, from Senegal, and Shena Moulton, from Jamaica, laugh and hug each other backstage before modeling the Isaac Mizrahi fall 2010 collection, Thursday Feb. 18, 2010, during Fashion Week in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Ajak Deng—whom Vice calls "one of Australia's most successful model exports" since her modeling debut in 2008—abruptly quit Tuesday, likely because of racism. "I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia In order to live the life that I fully deserved. Which is real life," Deng posted on Instagram. "I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life." Her manager, Stephen Bucknell, seemed to imply earlier this week that Deng's decision might stem from racism in the industry.

The industry is biased toward white models, Bucknell told the Herald Sun. "They'll book the big Caucasian girls, spend the big dollars, and fly them in from LA, but I'm yet to see them book a dark-skinned girl in that way," he said. Deng, whose family fled Sudan in 2005, has also discussed racism in the industry, tweeting in 2014 that she was "kicked out of Balmain for being black" and noting, "I know a lot of black models would rather kiss someone's a-- than being honest but guessed what? I do not gaged [sic] a damn f---" before deleting her Twitter account. The 26-year-old had just walked in New York's Fashion Week before quitting, People reports. (More fashion industry stories.)

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