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Alex Wek: From Sudanese Refugee to Supermodel


South Sudan is a dangerous place, especially for children today.

When South Sudanese supermodel Alex Wek visited HuffPost Live, she talked about her very long and hard transition from refugee to a world-famous model, and the challenge of acclimating to her new environment.

“Psychologically it was really difficult,” she said.

When asked if she was ever disgusted by the “grotesque” excess of the modeling industry and first-world society, Wek said she was simply grateful to have the opportunity to live and work in a safe environment.

“For me it was just that I had a chance in life, I had a safe place. And it took some time — I remember after five, six, seven years after living in London and traveling — I’d wake up in the middle of the night if the television was on, freaking out thinking that there were militias breaking in or something.”

Having fled her home country after her family decided they were not longer safe, Wek’s heart goes out to the children still suffering in South Sudan.

“I just can’t imagine, I can’t comprehend what a lot of young people are going through at the moment — not even having a chance when there is something that can be done about it [the danger].”

Wek is not the only South Sudanese celebrity to speak out about the crisis in the newly independent nation.  NBA star Luol Deng is also an active proponent of increasing aid to the area.

The now long-time fashion icon summarized her perspective from living in and traveling to so many places around the world.

“Family is family, worldwide. Values are values, morals are morals,” she said.


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