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Alek Wek : The Queen of Dinka tribe
Alek Wek
The Queen of Dinka tribe
N.Y.M., September 28, 2015
Alek Wek by Olivier Rauh
Alek Wek by Olivier Rauh
 
PORTRAIT EXPRESS

I was born - 1977 -, the seventh of nine children, in a little town called Wau. Alek means “black spotted cow”, a symbol of good luck for my people, the Dinka. I got my long body from my father – I’m 5ft 11in tall – and my mother gave me my smile. My inky skin came from both of them. My people have lived in the southern Sudan for thousands of years. The main thing to understand about my country is that it has always been split between the Islamic Arab north and the animist and Christian south. The British, who ruled until the 1950s, governed north and south separately; but, just before independence, they gave in to pressure from the Islamic leaders in the north to unite the country. The northern government proceeded to impose Islamic culture on the southern people, and a brutal civil war broke out. It lasted until 1972 when both sides signed an accord guaranteeing autonomy for the south. I was born five years later. When Elle chose Alek Wek for the cover of their November 1997 issue, they were taking what many magazines considered a risk: a dark-skinned African girl on your cover did not, theoretically, sell issues. The result, however, was monumental reader response with letters-to-the-editor from women and men ecstatic about seeing the standards of beauty in fashion redefined.


Alek Wek_TC Reiner
Alek Wek_TC Reiner
 
Alek Wek_CD_Spring
Alek Wek_CD_Spring
 
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