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Alek Wek Talks About Being The Dark Horse Of Fashion In The Guardian: “I Never Thought I Was Ugly”

Submitted by on April 8, 2014 – 12:42 pmNo Comment

For the past two decades, the name Alek Wek has been synonymous with high fashion. But in the latest issue of the British national daily newspaper The Guardian, the 36-year-old Sudanese supermodel opened up about breaking into the world she never even knew existed.

“There was no concept of fashion and catwalk shows where I came from,” Wek says. “There were no magazines. I never saw women in makeup, or with different hairstyles. Absolutely not.”

After moving to London at the age of 14, Alek was discovered five years later by a model scout from a top London agency at a fair in Crystal Palace park. At the time, Wek’s dark skin and non-European features made her one-of-a-kind.

“There were black models, but no one as dark-skinned, and none with Dinka features, that’s for sure,” she said of emerging onto the fashion scene in the 1990s. “A black woman is not ‘a type.’ I never had any interest in those jobs that asked for only black girls. What the hell is that? Would you be comfortable saying you wanted only white girls, or Latin? Are you kidding me? It’s baffling.”

The model explained that it was an uphill battle at first to be accepted in the industry. “When I started, I’d hear other people saying, ‘God, she’s so bizarre-looking’, because I didn’t look like the girl next door,” Wek said. “But I was just normal. I was the girl next door. There were people in high fashion I could better relate to, who were doing something more interesting and not talking this sort of rubbish.”

Thankfully, despite the criticism, Wek credits her mother with instilling confidence in her as a young girl. “You can feel very strongly that someone doesn’t like you. I think any model who didn’t have the same sort of upbringing as me would find that very difficult,” she says while discussing the reason she never lost sight of her true beauty inside and out.”But I absolutely knew I was entitled. I never thought I was ugly—it never crossed my mind.”

Check out Alek’s full interview with The Guardian here and flip through the gallery below. What do you think of this dark beauty?

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