Sudanese-Australian Adut Akech is one of the fashion world’s most coveted supermodels.
But even though that’s the case, and she’s graced runways for brands like Givenchy, Chanel, Valentino and others, an Australian magazine confused her with another black model and used the wrong photo. The feature was written about Akech for Melbourne Fashion Week, and she recently responded to the huge error.
The publication responsible for all this is Who Magazine, and instead of using a photo of Akech in its feature, it used a picture of another black model named Flavia Lazarus.
“I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me,” wrote Akech Sunday on Instagram. “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,” she added.
Elsewhere in her message, Akech said what makes the error even worse is that she specifically talked about using her voice to change people’s views towards people of color and refugees in the interview.
And now she feels that message was completely ignored by the interviewer and the publication as a whole. Akech sought asylum in Australia in 2008 after fleeing South Sudan and traveling to Kenya, according to BBC News.
The teen also said Who Magazine issued her a personal apology, but she still felt the need to address the mistake publicly.
“I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine,” wrote Akech. “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.”
Who Magazine blamed the error on the agency who set up the interview for Akech and said they gave them the wrong photo.
On it’s Instagram page, Melbourne Fashion Week also issued an apology and said they were “extremely disappointed” by the error.
“This is why it’s so important to continue conversations about diversity and inclusion,” the message read. “We look forward to doing so throughout the event and beyond.”