Alek Wek grew up in the Sudan in the midst of the vicious civil war. Now, at age 28, she is one of the most sought-after supermodels in the world, and has single-handedly changed the traditional concept of what is beautiful in the West. As model, refugee activist and businesswoman she is an inspiration - and this remarkable real-life story sheds light on her journey from Dinka clan roots in war-torn Sudan to a new beginnings in Brooklyn. Born the seventh of nine siblings, on her escape to London at the age of fourteen she had already lived through violence, genocide and forced migration in her homeland. Alek Wek's poignant, powerful memoir gives an unforgettable insight into her rise to fame as a supermodel with a conscience, who balances cover shoots for glossy magazines (she was named Model of The Decade by i-D magazine) with political activism (working with Doctors Without Borders and the U.S. Committee for Refugees Advisory Council) and a dedication to refocus the world's attention on those she left behind in the Sudan.
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(232mm x 153mm x 15mm)
Virago Press Ltd
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
Before she walked a runway, the author walked for weeks to escape civil war. The seventh of nine children born to a Dinka family, Wek was eight when war came to her hometown in southern Sudan. Overnight, childhood became terrifying. Some of the tricks she now uses on the runway she learned as a frightened child: Throwing her shoulders back and lengthening her body helped flatten her against the floor to escape the whizzing bullets of militiamen. Eventually, much of her family made its way to London. Wek spent her teenage years learning English, adjusting to British cuisine, going to school, babysitting for nephews and nieces. While wandering through a street fair in 1995, she was approached by an agent who asked if she'd ever considered modeling. Her mother worried that agents were just leeches, but Wek gave the fashion world a whirl anyway. Readers will be disarmed by the down-to-earth, intimate voice in which she narrates her stratospheric rise. Wek has used her platform to raise awareness about Sudan, meeting with members of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. She also reflects sagely on color and racism. "Whether I like it or not, my skin defines me," she observes, admitting that her dark coloring has both helped and hurt her career. Initially, she had to fight against being typecast, offered only "work that called for 'black' features." Now she ponders her possible complicity in the historical use of exploitative images of black people to sell everything from Robertson's jam to Uncle Ben's rice.A celebrity autobiography with substance and political punch. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Alek Wek
Alek Wek was raised as part of the Dinka clan in Southern Sudan before coming to London, where she was spotted by a talent scout. Now a successful supermodel, she also runs her own handbag company, AlexWek1933.