Alek Wek




Born: 16/04/1977 (40 yo)
Birth place: Wau (South Sudan)

Citizenship : Sudan, United Kingdom

Occupation : Fashion Model



Summary


Alek Wek is a South Sudanese British model who first appeared on the catwalks at the age of 18 in 1995, sparking a career lasting to date. She is from the Dinka ethnic group in South Sudan, but in 1991 she and some family members fled to Britain to escape the civil war in Sudan. She later moved to the United States.



Biography


Wek was born the seventh of nine children in Wau in Sudan (now South Sudan) in 1977. When she was preparing to emigrate from Sudan, her mother picked the date April 16, which occurs in the rainy season during which she was born. She says her name means "Black Spotted Cow". Wek was born to her mother (b. 1946), a housewife, and her father Athian Wek (1933-1985), an education official. Alek Wek has stated that physically, she resembles her father, who also had unusually long limbs. Athian Wek once broke his hip in a bicycle accident; his hip was repaired with metal pins. When the civil war broke out in Wau in 1985, the Wek family had to flee from both rebel and government forces. Long periods of walking caused Athian Wek's hip to get infected, and upon the family's return to Wau, he became paralysed and endured a haemorrhage. He died in hospital in Khartoum.[citation needed]

Early career

Wek was discovered at an outdoor market in London in 1995 in Crystal Palace, London  by a Models 1 scout. She first received attention when she appeared in the music video for "GoldenEye" by Tina Turner, in 1995 and from there entered the world of fashion as one of its top models. She was signed to Ford Models in 1996 and was also seen in the "Got 'Til It's Gone" music video by Janet Jackson that year. She was named "Model of the Year" in 1997 by MTV.[4] She was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle, also in 1997.

Advertising and catwalks

Amongst other things she has done advertisements for Issey Miyake, Moschino, Victoria's Secret and make-up company Clinique as well as walked the runway for high-profile fashion designers Shiatzy Chen, John Galliano, Chanel, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Jasper Conran[6] and Ermanno Scervino. In walks for Christian Lacroix, she took the role of the bride on several occasions. In 2002 she made her acting debut in The Four Feathers as Sudanese princess Aquol.

Herb Ritts photographed her for a 1999 calendar in a Joanne Gair body painting that was a highlight of Gair's first retrospective.

Wek has also been a guest on both The Tyra Banks Show, America's Next Top Model and The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency.

Designer

Wek also designs a range of designer handbags called "Wek 1933", which are available throughout selected Selfridges department stores. The year refers to the year her father was born. Her inspiration for the designs came from the brass-clasp briefcase carried by her father.

Campaigning

Wek is a member of the U.S. Committee for Refugees' Advisory Council and is helping to raise awareness about the situation in Sudan, as well as the plight of refugees worldwide.

She is a missionary for World Vision, an organisation which combats AIDS, an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders in Sudan, and devotes time to UNICEF.

In 2007, she released an autobiography, entitled Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel, documenting her journey from a childhood of poverty in Sudan to the catwalks of Europe.

In 2011, she appeared as a guest judge in the sixteenth cycle of America's Next Top Model.

In July 2012, she will be returning to South Sudan with the UN Refugee Agency to highlight the stories of refugees returning from the north and the massive efforts needed to build and stabilize the country.

In 2012 Alek teamed up with Amarula as the face of their campaign African Originals.




Agencies:

  • Unique Models - Denmark
  • Storm Models - London
  • D'Management Group
  • Riccardo Gay Model Management
  • IMG Models - New York
  • IMG Models - Paris
  • Mega Model Agency - Berlin
  • IMG Models - Sydney

Advertisements:

Ann Taylor , Banana Republic , Clinique 'Happy' fragrance , Ellus , Eluxury. , Fashion Breast Cancer Campaign , Gap , Issey Miyake , Jeanie , Jean-Paul Gaultier , Jones New York , Joop! , Kenzo , Kitsho , Michael Kors , Moschino , Nars , Ralph Lauren , Saks Fifth Avenue , St. Emile , XOXO jeans

Magazine Covers:

  • France: 'Under The Influence' - Fall/Winter 2012
  • Germany: 'Vogue' - October 1999; 'Liebling'- August 2008
  • Italy: 'Photo' - July 2003; 'D' - October 25 2003; 'Photo' - April 2004; 'D' - February 02 2008
  • Japan: 'Elle' - July 1998
  • Netherlands: 'L'Officiel' - February 2009; 'Glamour' - August 2010
  • Russia: 'L'Officiel'
  • South Africa: 'Elle' - April 2010
  • UK: 'i-D' - April 1998, 'i-D' - July 2000; 'Vogue' - January 2002; 'Style'; 'Plaza' - #04 Summer 2006; 'Arise' - January 2009; 'Red' - April 2013
  • US: 'Elle' - November 1997; 'Essence' - September 2000; 'Fashions of the Times' - September 2000; 'Cosmopolitan' - June 2004; 'Surface' - #54 2005; 'Ebony' - September 2007; 'Corduroy' - Winter 2012

Fashion Shows:

  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 1997 {various}
  • Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 1997 {Givenchy}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 1998  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 1998 {Thierry Mugler, Yves Saint Laurent}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 1999 {Issey Miyake, Matthew Williamson}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 1999 {Fendi, Julien Macdonald, Martine Stibon, Rifat Ozbek, Yves Saint Laurent}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2000  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2000 {Chanel, Christian Dior, Emanuel Ungaro, Philip Tracey, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2000  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2000 {Balmain, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Yves Saint Laurent}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2001  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2001 {Balmain, Chanel, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Louis Feraud, Philip Traecy, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent}

 

  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2001  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2001 {Balmain, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Féraud, Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Philip Treacy, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2002  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2002 {Balmain, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Emmanuel Ungaro, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Yves Saint Laurent}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2002  {various}
  • Haute couture - Autumn/Winter 2002 {Anne Valerie Hash, Balmain, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Emanuel Ungaro, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ralph Rucci Chado, Valentino}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2003  {various}
  • Haute couture - Spring/Summer 2003 {Anne Valerie Hash, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Elie Saab, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Philip Treacy, Ralph Rucci Chado}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2003  {various}
  • Haute couture - Autumn/Winter 2003 {Chado, Christian Dior, Christian Lacroix, Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2004  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2004 {Chanel, Christian Dior, Elie Saab, Jean Paul Gaultier}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2004  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2004 {Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel, Christian Dior, Valentino, Ralph Rucci Chado}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2005  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2005 {Chanel, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2005 {{various}
  • Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2005 {Christian Dior, Valentino}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2006 {Belstaff, Chado Ralph Rucci, Diane von Furstenberg, Jasper Conran, Jenny Packham, L.A.M.B., Y-3}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2006  {various}
  • Haute Couture - Autumn/Winter 2006 {Christian Dior}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2007 {Ashley Isham, Baby Phat, Chado Ralph Rucci, Ellen Tracy, Ermanno Scervino, Giorgio Armani, Issa, Julien Macdonald, Osman Yousefzada}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2007 {Christian Dior}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2007 {Anne Klein, Baby Phat, Chado Ralph Rucci, Diane von Furstenberg, The Heart Truth}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2008 {Diane von Furstenberg, Ports 1961}
  • Haute Couture - Spring/Summer 2008 {Christian Dior}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2008 {Diane von Furstenberg}
  • Resort 2009 {Christian Dior}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2009 {Aquascutum, Jasper Conran, Justin William Lin}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2009 {Arise African Fashion Collective, Aquascutum, Jasper Conran, Momo, Zac Posen}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2010 {Miss Bikini Luxe, Zac Posen}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2010 {Anja Gockel}
  • Ready to wear - Spring/Summer 2011 {Louis Vuitton, Moncler Gamme Rouge, Viktor & Rolf}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2011 {St. John}
  • Ready to wear - Autumn/Winter 2012 {Hermès, Kenzo}

Videos