Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel by Alek Wek

By Alek Wek

Alek Wek has been the face of advert campaigns for corporations starting from trainer to Michael Kors to Nars and has labored the runways on behalf of designers akin to Diane von Furstenberg and Christian Dior. but her defining moments expand past the runways of latest York, Milan, Paris, and London. Born to a middle-class kinfolk within the Sudan, Wek came across her lifestyles without notice inverted while civil warfare broke out between outlaw militias, the Muslim-dominated govt, and southern rebels. The clash not just killed million humans, it created a whole group of refugees, together with Wek's family—many of whom fled to London. here's Wek's remarkable, bold tale of emerging from refugee to foreign stick insect.

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The rebels and the government both wanted control of the airport in Wau, so they were going at it with guns, bombs, clubs, and whatever else they could muster. If my family got caught in the middle, we ’d all be killed. The militias were the most terrifying of all. They would move down the dirt streets, blasting Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” from a stereo while they robbed anyone who got in their way. They would steal a family’s cooking pots. They would shoot people on their way to the market and take the few coins they had set aside for food.

I always woke before dawn and that was the only quiet hour. We couldn’t leave our courtyard. The shooting got Alek so bad that, at one point, we couldn’t leave our house for three days. Strangely, all the violence led to a kind of beautiful togetherness in the neighborhood. My mother had stockpiled some potatoes and other roots; we had enough dried okra to last, and several containers of water. Our neighbors had done the same. If someone needed something, they would just ask their neighbor for help.

Most of our neighbors lived in modest cement-block or wood houses, some of them quite makeshift. There was one mansion, with porches all around and brick walls. It was the home of a man who owned a large brewery on the edge of town, near the river. There were so few rich people in Wau we never thought of the differences between them and us, but we knew they had more possessions. While I wasn’t jealous or covetous, I loved imagining myself living in that house, with its upholstered furniture and electricity generator.

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