Magazine publishes image of wrong model in feature
South Sudanese-Australian supermodel Adut Akech has spoken of her anger and sadness after a prominent Australian magazine published an article about her, but with the image of a different black model, noting that the mix-up “would’ve not happened to a white model.”
Who Magazine, a weekly celebrity and entertainment publication, ran a feature about Akech, but printed a picture of model Flavia Lazarus instead.
“For those who are not aware, last week @whomagazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to color in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl,” she wrote in an Instagram post.
The model said that the error was “unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances,” and that she felt that her “entire race has been disrespected.”
“It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same,” she said. “I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model.”
Akech added that Who Magazine had apologized to her, and that she needed to “publicly address the issue.”
She said that the mistake “defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about” in the interview, adding that Australia had “a lot of work to do.” CNN has attempted to contact Who Magazine for comment.
Akech, 19, is a woman with an extraordinary story. Born in South Sudan, she’s a former child refugee who spent the first eight years of her life in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp before migrating to Australia. She has been a guest editor of CNN Style, commissioning stories around the theme of family.
Today, Akech is one of the most in-demand models in fashion, regularly walking for brands including Chanel, Valentino and Givenchy and starring on the covers of a number of high profile magazines, including the Italian, Korean and British editions of Vogue.
Melbourne Fashion Week apologized for the mistake in a post on Instagram, writing: “Last week an article was published in Who Magazine profiling our ambassador Adut Akech. We are extremely disappointed that a photo of one of our campaign models, Flavia Lazarus, was mistakenly printed instead of a photo of Adut.”
“Both Adut and Flavia have expressed their disappointment and we support them. This error is unacceptable, and both Who Magazine and our public relations agency, opr, have apologized,” the post read.
CNN’s Shirine Saad contributed to this story.