ajak deng just quit modeling because the industry is too racist
After being vocal about industry racism for years, the former model has had enough.
Image via Instagram
Since Ajak Deng was spotted in 2008, she's been one of Australia's most successful model exports. Over almost a decade she's walked for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Marc Jacobs, Chloe and Jean Paul Gaultier and starred in an armful of global campaigns. Despite her success, Ajak announced on Instagram today that she is "officially done with the fashion industry."
She explained that she is giving up her career because she "can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life." Adding that she planned to move back to Australia to "live the life that I fully deserved. Which is real life."
Despite her impending flight back home, don't expect Ajak to appear on Australian runways either. The model's manager, Stephen Bucknell, followed her announcement, commenting that she'd always struggled to book work in Australia because the industry's bias towards white models: "They'll book the big Caucasian girls, spend the big dollars, and fly them in from LA, but I'm yet to see them book a dark skinned girl in that way."
Ajak's family fled Sudan for Australia in 2005. Before they were settled here, she lost her mother to malaria in a Kenyan refugee camp. Over the course of her career Ajak's been vocal about her struggles with racism in the industry and in her daily life. In 2014 she said "'I go back to Melbourne and think I'm going home and someone will say 'You don't belong here' and I'm like "Well I grew up here. What do you mean I don't belong here?" That same year she Tweeted that she was "kicked out of Balmain for being black" and "I know a lot of black models would rather kiss someone's a** than being honest but guessed what? I do not gaged a damn f*** [sic]." She later deleted her account.
The former model's decision seems to have brought her some peace, she followed her Instagram announcement with a picture of her smiling, face turned to the sun, with the caption, "Thank you for your blessings God." But it's heartbreaking she was forced out of her career to find it.