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Model: Magazine's Error Happened Because I'm Black

Adut Akech says the wrong photo wouldn't have been used if she was white
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 26, 2019 11:06 AM CDT
Adut Akech, from left, Naomi Campbell, Pierpaolo Piccioli, Joan Collins, and Julianne Moore attend The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala celebrating the opening of the "Camp:...   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
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(Newser) – As an in-demand model, Adut Akech is used to having her picture taken. What was new and unpleasant for her: Having a photo of a black woman who was most definitely not her published alongside an interview she gave Australia's Who Magazine. CNN calls the 19-year-old's story "extraordinary": Born in South Sudan, she spent her first 8 years in a Kenya refugee camp before being granted asylum in Australia. But in its profile of her, the BBC reports the magazine erroneously ran a photo of model Flavia Lazarus; it pushed the blame onto the agency that arranged the interview, saying it had also provided the image. That PR agency, OPR, was also working with the upcoming Melbourne Fashion Week; both Akech and Lazarus will be participating in it.

OPR describes the goof as an "administrative" error that happened after it provided the magazine with a file of images, reports Australia's ABC. Akech shared some thoughts on Instagram Sunday, writing, "not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too. ... Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. ... It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same." She says the problem isn't isolated to the magazine, which did apologize to her. "I’ve been called by the name of another models who happens to be of the same Ethnicity, I find it very ignorant, rude and disrespectful towards both of us simply because we know that this doesn't happen with white models." She wants her experience to serve as a wake-up call. (Read more model stories.)

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