From Refugee To Supermodel: The Adut Akech Story

“Your story and what you represent makes you a true force for change. I could not be happier to have you on this very special cover.” – Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, in a thank-you letter to Adut Akech after her September Vogue issue.


The story of 20-year-old South Sudanese Model, Adut Akech Bior is a true inspiration. 

She was born in South Sudan, spent her early years in a Kenyan refugee camp, then moved to Adelaide, Australia at 7. Until the move, she had no access to education and when she did, she was a victim of constant racism and bullying on account of her skin colour.

In Australia, Adut took on her mother’s name. “Mary,” because her teachers could not pronounce her name. Today, this name, Adut Akech, is a brand in global fashion circles. 

Strutting into the Fashion World

Adut discovered her love for fashion before the age of 13, backed by massive support from her family. Her runway debut was in fact at a local fashion show organized by her aunt.

At 16, Adut Akech made an official entry into a modeling career, signed to Chadwick Models in Sydney, Australia. After a successful stint at the Melbourne Fashion Week, she was cast exclusively by Saint Laurent and walked the Spring/Summer 2017 show, among others. 

She has since appeared in editorials in various international magazines such as American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Italia, Vogue Paris, Número, and Vogue Australia. She has also worked for brands like Givenchy, Zara, Moschino, Calvin Klein, Burberry, Versace, and so on.

In 2018, Time recognized her as one of the 25 most influential teens. Also, she was named “Model of the year” on, an honour she maintained in the subsequent year. 

However, the most phenomenal point of her career was getting selected to feature in the  “Forces of Change” September edition of Vogue by Guest Editor and Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle.

From not knowing what a magazine was to gracing the biggest magazine covers around the world, Adut Akech’s story is only just beginning.

She recently appeared in Beyoncé’s stunning visual for “Black is King” alongside Kelly Rowland, Lupita N’yongo and Naomi Campbell, who sh`e considers a guardian angel in the  industry.

Adut Akech, fourth left, was among the beautiful faces on Beyoncé’s ‘Brown skin girl.’
























With fondness and pride, Adut Akech often pays tribute to her story. In an interview with Vogue, she said: ““Before I’m anything else, I am a refugee, and I’m so proud of that.”

The rising star lends her voice actively to topics on racism, as well as diversity in the fashion industry.

Watch her dazzle in Beyoncé’s Brown Skin Girl here:

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