muse.alek wek

Alek’s influence extends far beyond the fashion world and societal concepts of beauty. She spoke at the International Black Caucus Foreign Affairs as a member of a panel, which included Hillary Clinton, Congressman Daniel Payne, Danny Glover and many other distinguished speakers. Alek has also served on the advisory board for the U.S. Committee for Refugees.


When Elle chose Alek Wek for the cover of their November 1997 issue, they were taking what many magazines considered a risk: a dark-skinned African girl on your cover did not, theoretically, sell issues. The result, however, was monumental reader response with letters-to-the-editor from women and men ecstatic about seeing the standards of beauty in fashion redefined.

As Oprah commented when Alek appeared on her show, “If you’d been on the cover of a magazine when I was growing up, I would have had a different concept of who I was.”

Born in Southern Sudan, Alek was raised as a part of the Dinka tribe. At fourteen the civil war forced her to flee to London with her younger sister, where they were later joined by their mother and siblings. It was in London, at a street fair, where Alek was discovered.

She launched a career in modeling that has since named her: “Model of the Decade” by trend-setting i-D magazine; one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” in May of 1999 as well as one of the “50 Most Influential Faces in Fashion” according to i-D and Frank magazines.

Alek’s influence extends far beyond the fashion world and societal concepts of beauty. She spoke at the International Black Caucus Foreign Affairs as a member of a panel, which included Hillary Clinton, Congressman Daniel Payne, Danny Glover and many other distinguished speakers. Alek has also served on the advisory board for the U.S. Committee for Refugees.

She speaks in New York area schools to bring attention to the famine in Southern Sudan and to educate children on the importance of nourishment, in addition to helping to launch the Bracelet of Life campaign in conjunction with Medicins Sans Frontiers/Doctors Without Borders. She has also worked closely with AIDS awareness benefits, children’s charities and breast cancer research.

Advertisers are equally attracted to Alek’s presence. Her past campaigns include Clinique’s Happy fragrance, Ralph Lauren, Jean Paul Gautier, Banana Republic, Joop, Nars, Issey Miyake, Moschino, XOXO Jeans, the Gap, Ann Taylor, and Michael Kors. Alek also appeared in Coach’s “Most Influential People” campaign.

Alek has worked with the most talented photographers including Steven Meisel, Mario Testino, Bruce Weber, Herb Ritts, Annie Liebovitz, Arthur Elgort, Michael Thompson, Ellen Von Unwerth, and Steven Klein. Alek has also appeared on the covers of prominent international magazines including Elle, i-D, Dutch, Essence, Russian L’Oficiel, London Style, Deutsch and New York magazine’s Fashions of the Times, as well as the Sunday Style Times issue.

Alek is also in constant demand on the runway circuit for such top fashion houses as Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Christian Dior, Gucci, Fendi, Jean Paul Gautier, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Helmut Lang.

Alek has been dedicating the little free time she has to another passion: design. She has combined what she has learned from her years in the industry with her natural artistic ability to create a line that is a true reflection of her. Judging by the enormous success of her special line of handbags (Alek Wek 1933); Alek is poised to become a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the fashion business.

In addition, Acting is another talent that Alek is cultivating. She was last featured in the Heath Ledger and Kate Hudson film “Four Feathers.”

“I haven’t seen anybody that interesting, that black and that beautiful in a long time,” said Steven Meisel, who has photographed Alek for Vogue. This is the sentiment that continues to surround Alek. She is not just a black model, and not just a celebrity lending her name to a cause. Alek uses fashion as a vehicle to accomplish what she believes in, which has proven to benefit everyone.

Comments

  1. Narnia Narnia says:

    i love her! good post :)

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