why ajak deng is returning to modeling after quitting over industry racism

"Yes sure giving up is easier but who will fight the war that we are so in denial about?"

by Hannah Ongley
29 February 2016, 5:34pm


It was disheartening to learn last week — following the most diverse New York Fashion Week in recent history — that Sudanese stunner Ajak Deng was quitting modeling after being vocal about industry racism for years. "I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies," she wrote on Instagram. "My life is too short for this dramatic life." 

Deng appeared happy and healthy during a few days in Australia, where her family fled in 2005. But now she's decided to fight the good fight. Yesterday Deng posted another photo apologizing to her supporters and announcing her decision to return to the runway. "My first season in Milan, no one booked me and I was so destroyed because they won't booking black girls like me that season," she wrote, "and thank god for my sweet and encouraging agent @meansss who told me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me and that I was one of the most beautiful girl in the world, so wiped off those tears, come back to New York and let's change their minds one day at a time."

She continued, "I feel like I have touched so many young people's lives, gave them hope. Just because I come from NOTHING does not mean that I can't make something for myself and for that I will still want to continue to touched more lives. Yes sure giving up is easier but who will fight the war that we are so in denial about? I am just getting started and modeling isn't the only thing I will be successful in, in my life time. I apologize to every kind souls/hearts that I have broken in the past week. I thought giving up was easier but I am going to stay and fight this war with kindness, forgiveness, love, and support to all humanity."

It's not like fashion has become less racist in six days, but in the hours since Deng's return, there are already glimmers of hope. Yesterday she appears to have had a backstage experience with a white makeup artist that went significantly better than the one fellow model Leomie Anderson had in New York two weeks ago. "I am sorry but I will never say that all white people do not know how to do a black girl's makeup," Deng wrote from Milan, a city which doesn't have the hottest track record when it comes to model diversity. "I have been so lucky to always meet the best in the business." Let's hope this is a trend that continues well into 2016. 



Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram

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