First of all Adut Akech Bior is beautiful in her own right but her uncanny resemblance to Lupita Nyongo is pretty intriguing. Both women could literally pass for sisters when you look at certain photos. Adut Akech Bior is a South Sudanese-Australian model who was chosen as “Model of the Year” by models.com last year and her story is pretty amazing.
This is the photo that caught my attention:
And this Instagram post:
and this one:
Recently Adut shared on Instagram that she will be on the cover of Allure Magazine (May issue) and in her interview, she shared how went from refugee to model in the space of just a few years. According to Allure Adut has the kind of origin story that’s just begging to be turned into a made-for-Netflix biopic. She was born in South Sudan, but she spent her early years in a refugee camp in Kenya, where she lived until she was eight years old with her mother and her siblings. Although she was young, she remembers a lot about what was going on around her — the hunger, the fear, and the constant moving to escape the threat of violence. Despite the difficult circumstances, life in the camp taught Akech the power of gratitude.
“When you live in that type of condition, you just try to make the most of life because you know that tomorrow is not promised,” she says. “I always felt like I had to be grateful for whatever little food I ate that day or that I had somewhere to sleep because I knew that there were kids who didn’t.” She’s 19 now and speaks with an Australian accent because that’s where she and her family ended up after they got out of the camp. They moved to Adelaide, where they have several extended family members.
After they left Kenya, one of Akech’s first big dreams came true: to get an education. She spent a year learning English at a special school filled with refugee children from all over the world. She loved the experience. After mastering English, she switched schools multiple times as her family moved around to different suburbs. Not all of the lessons she learned were the stuff of dreams. “I was bullied by the popular girls about my skin tone, my hair, and especially my gap [teeth], which I’ve grown to love,” says Akech. “I’m not gonna lie — that made me feel a little insecure, then an ‘I don’t care’ mindset kind of kicked in for me, and I told myself I was beautiful.” She makes it sound simple, but it’s no easy feat, especially at an impressionable age, to figure out how to appreciate your own beauty in a society filled with messages that say you fall way outside the standards. She didn’t know it at the time, but the cruel children she encountered at school helped her cultivate exactly what she needed to make it in the modeling world: an unshakable belief in herself.
Akech says that a light bulb went off when, at 12 years old, she walked in a fashion show put on by her auntie, a former model and a clothing designer. “From the minute I stepped onto the runway, I was like, ‘This is what I want to do,’” she says. The only problem: Her mother, Mary, wasn’t having it. Eventually, Mary gave her persistent daughter the green light to pursue modeling when she was 14. “She didn’t think it was going to turn into anything, so she let me do it,” says Akech.
Akech got signed to an agency at 15, and not long after that, she made her debut at Australian fashion week in Sydney in 2016. Her breakout moment came in September 2017, when she was cast in a Saint Laurent show in Paris, ultimately signing a three-season exclusive with the brand. It was a life-changing opportunity that she came close to missing. About 18 months into her modeling career, Akech offered to quit the business to protect her mother from the harsh criticism she was receiving from family members who thought Akech was wasting her time. But on this occasion, her mom encouraged her to continue. Success came quickly.
In three short years, Akech has already graced the covers of Korean, Australian, and British Vogues, she’s walked the runways for big fashion houses like Prada, Versace, and Chanel (including Karl Lagerfeld’s last show this past season), and she has landed fashion campaigns for designers like Valentino and Fendi. “Now I just sit back and smile. I love proving people wrong so much,” she says. Not that she’s in this for revenge; Akech loves her work. “I get excitement and joy from modeling. It doesn’t feel like a job. It just makes me happy.” – Read the entire editorial here.