Supermodel Adut Akech said she feels disrespected after an Australian magazine published her feature using another Black model's image.
Coincidentally, in the feature with Who Magazine, Akech discussed attitudes toward refugees and people of color.
Next to her feature, the magazine plastered a full-page image of the British model Flavia Lazarus, according to Complex.
The runway model, who has previously worked with Chanel and Vogue, addressed the situation on Instagram on Sunday.
“With the article, [Who Magazine] published a large photo saying it was me but it was of another Black girl,” she said in the Instagram post.
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I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me. For those who are not aware, last week @whomagazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to colour in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl. This has upset me, has made me angry, it has made me feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances. Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue. Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. This is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine -they have apologised to me directly – but I feel like I need to express publicly how I feel. This has deeply affected me and we need to start an important conversation that needs to happen. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. I’ve been called by the name of another models who happens to be of the same Ethnicity, I find it very ignorant, rude and disrespectful towards both of us simply because we know that this doesn’t happen with white models. I want this to be somewhat of a wake up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better. Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumors. To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names. Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry
In the post, she also reminded white people that not all Black people look the same.
“Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue,” she said.
Originally from South Sudan, Akech grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp, according to CNN. She moved to Australia with her family at a young age.
Shot by: Inezandvinoodh pic.twitter.com/yUsl3vqUnQ
— Elite London (@Elite_London) July 15, 2019
“The error was administrative and unintentional and we sincerely apologize for this mistake and any upset it has caused to the models involved, and our client, the City of Melbourne,” a spokeswoman for Who Magazine said.
Incidents like this have proven to be more than just "accidents." A recent study conducted by scientists from the University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University and the University of California, revealed that white people really can't tell others of different races apart, as previously reported by Blavity.
Akech highlights how this racial bias affects the modeling industry in her post.
"It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people look the same," she said.
Hopefully, this incident will lead to a broader discussion about racial bias within the fashion industry and beyond.