Nineteen-year-old model is Adut Akech is ending 2019 with a bang.
On Monday evening, the South-Sudanese Australian beauty brought home the top honor of “Model of The Year” at the British Fashion Awards.
According to the Award’s voting panel, the award goes to models that “recogniz[e] the global impact of a model, irrespective of gender, who over the last 12 months has dominated the industry. With an influence that transcends the catwalk, the Model of The Year has made an outstanding contribution to the industry, garnering numerous editorial and advertising campaigns throughout the year.”
Looking at Adut’s illustrious career this past year, the teenager deserves all the accolades. Not only did she walk dozens of runways from the likes of Versace and Givenchy, but she also appeared on five Vogue covers in one month, including British Vogue’s September 2019 issue. That, and over the summer she was named the face of Valentino’s “Born in Roma” fragrance.
After receiving a standing ovation, Adut thanked the council, but also pointed out to the London crowd that her historic win carried a lot of weight, The Independent reported.
“It is important for all of us to remember that someone like me winning this award is a rarity,” she said wowing in an emerald green Valentino gown.
In addition, she dedicated her award to all the young people out there who have a dream but fear it may be too big.
“This is for the young women and men who found representation and validation in my work. I want them to never be afraid of dreaming big like I once did,” adding, “To them, I say this: Whatever it is you want to do, whether it’s modeling or acting or medicine, you should never doubt yourself.
She concluded, “Don’t let the world convince you that it is not possible.”
Behind the scenes, supermodel and mentor Naomi Cambell embraced Adut, congratulating her on this amazing accomplishment.
Adut later took to social media to celebrate:
“2019 “MODEL OF THE YEAR” Meet the south Sudanese refugee who comes from nothing, who become your 2019 “Model of The Year” last night at the BFA
I FUCKING DID IT!!!,” she captioned in a photo of herself from that night.
If you know anything about Adut, who was a refugee at the age of 7, it’s that she isn’t afraid to speak out on issues of race, representation, and ignorance in the fashion industry. She made headlines earlier this year when she called out an Australian magazine for getting her mixed up with another Black model.
View this post on Instagram
I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me. 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 colour in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl. This has upset me, has made me angry, it has made me feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances. Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue. Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. This is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine -they have apologised to me directly – but I feel like I need to express publicly how I feel. This has deeply affected me and we need to start an important conversation that needs to happen. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. 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. I want this to be somewhat of a wake up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better. Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumors. To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names. Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry
You better tell them!
So to celebrate this beauty of Adut’s melanin, her grace on the runway, her amazing street style and her inner and outer strength, here are 20 times she proved why she isn’t just Model of The Year, but Sista of The Year too!