Adut Akech: Magazine publishes wrong image of black model

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image captionThe model said she wanted the incident to be a "wake-up call to the industry"

An Australian magazine has apologised after publishing a story about a model with another black woman's image.

South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech says she has been deeply affected by the error in WHO Magazine and says Australia "has a lot of work to do".

In the magazine interview, she discussed people's attitudes to colour and her career in fashion.

WHO Magazine issued an apology, saying it had been given the wrong picture by the agency that set up the interview.

Ms Akech appeared in the magazine ahead of Melbourne Fashion Week. However the magazine printed an image of Flavia Lazarus, another model appearing at the show, instead.

In the interview, Ms Akech spoke about using her voice to start a conversation about how people viewed refugees. She fled South Sudan for Kenya where she resided in a refugee camp before seeking asylum in Australia in 2008.

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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

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Writing on Instagram after the error was made, the model said: "This is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening, I felt it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about."

She added that she wanted the incident to be a "wake-up call to people within the industry".

WHO Magazine said it had spoken with Ms Akech directly to apologise and "to explain how the error occurred".

Melbourne Fashion Week published an apology on its Instagram page: "We are extremely disappointed that a photo of one of our campaign models, Flavia Lazarus, was mistakenly printed instead of a photo of Adut.

"Both Adut and Flavia have expressed their disappointment and we support them. This error is unacceptable, and both Who Magazine and our public relations agency, OPR, have apologised."

OPR said in a statement quoted by ABC: "The error was administrative and unintentional and we sincerely apologise for this mistake and any upset it has caused to the models involved, and our client the City of Melbourne."

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