Meet Adut Akech, the world’s most in-demand fashion model

You may recognise Adut Akesh from the runways of New York, Paris and Milan, or else from the numerous high fashion campaigns of luxury brands like Fendi and Chanel but there’s so much more to her than the gloss and the glamour.

Here, GLAMOUR talks to the world’s most in-demand super model on her childhood as a refugee, her views on inclusivity within the fashion industry as well as her idols and inspirations…

“I am a refugee and I will always be a refugee”

I am a refugee. It’s my background, it’s who I am – and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The Western world tends to make refugees seem weak, and fail to make them feel accepted, welcome or equal to someone born in their world. I can do anything that a person born in the UK or the USA can do. I am a refugee, and people need to welcome me as I am.

”I still get mistaken for other black models”

There’s still a long way to go. Inclusivity in the industry is getting better but I still experience problems with misidentity. We’re in 2019 and I’m experiencing people tagging me as another black person or a different model. It just blows my mind that people care so little. I’m calling people out for it and I will keep calling it out. I say, ‘have you ever mistaken Bella for Gigi before?’ or two other white models. Black models don’t all look the same. It’s insulting, rude and, frankly, it’s racist of people and it needs to stop. It really needs to stop.

”Naomi Campbell blows my mind”

Naomi Campbell is my style and beauty icon. She is so stunning, it blows my mind every time I see her. I’m like, do you ever age? I used to watch her and the other supermodels and thought, ‘I want to do what they’re doing one day’. Did I think I could make it? No. But you can only dream.

”Pat McGrath taught me about makeup”

I get a lot of great makeup advice from Pat McGrath. She taught me how to get to know my skin and how to choose a foundations. I remember learning all about the different undertones and how to tell whether a foundation was too red or too yellow.

”I used to have 10 skincare steps – now I have two”

I also get lots of skincare tips backstage – but my main lesson I’ve learnt is that less is more. The fewer products you use, the better the results. My routine went from being between 8-10 steps, to 2-3 steps. I cut out all the unnecessary steps. I have very sensitive skin and I’ve always struggled to find products that worked for me, so I tried every brand there is to try and find one that suited my skin. I found a brand that my skin loves, Dr Barbara Sturm, and they have all these steps – cleansing, second cleansing, the scrub, the mask, the hyaluronic acid, glow drops… I did the whole thing. But I’m young and my skin doesn’t need all of that. I just cut down to cleanser, which is really important and I would never sleep in my makeup, and then moisturiser is a must for me. Every now and then I’ll use the eye cream or the mask.

”I mix five different foundations”

I love NARS, Too Faced, Maybelline Fit Me, L’Oreal True Match, and Pat McGrath Labs new foundation – which actually was inspired by me! Normally, I mix my foundations and choose from lots of different brands. But other than that, I’m not too crazy on makeup, I can really go without it. I like to let my skin breathe and give my skin a break, because I’m always wearing makeup when I’m working.

”Valentino Born in Roma lifts my mood”

I am obsessed with any fragrance that is sweet fresh and light, but also long lasting. Born in Roma by Valentino ticks all the boxes for me. I’m not so keen on strong or overpowering scents. It’s hard finding that perfect fit. It makes me feel positive, the sweetness kind of lifts my mood!

For me, the most relaxing thing is writing. It’s so therapeutic for me. I’m not very good with talking about my feelings, especially with personal stuff. I talk to my mum and my sister, but if I can’t, I prefer to write about it. You have to let things out, and if I can’t let it out to people close to me, I prefer to express it with my writing. My mum and my sister are my closest confidants, they’re both like my therapists! They always know what to say and how to bring me back to a normal state.

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