“I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life,” wrote Ajak Deng, the beautiful long-legged African supermodel from Sudan and Australia. The IMG model shared the news on her Instagram page explaining that she was fine with her decision.
“I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia in order to live the life that I fully deserved. Which is real life,” Deng wrote.
Earlier this week, Deng’s manager, Stephen Bucknall of FRM Model Management, told the Herald Sun that the Australian fashion industry prefers “Caucasian girls” over “dark-skinned” models. Deng expressed interest in working close to home, and since then Bucknall has struggled to land her jobs in Australia, even with her mega-famous international portfolio.
Deng has starred in shows for Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, and she has been in campaigns for Barneys New York, Marc Jacobs and Kate Spade. Her announcement follows just a few weeks after she starred in premier shows for New York’s Fashion Week.
“They’ll book the big Caucasian girls, spend the big dollars, and fly them in from L.A., but I’m yet to see them book a dark-skinned girl in that way,” Bucknall said, naming fellow Aussie models Miranda Kerr and Jess Hart.
Born in Sudan, the same town as model Alek Wek, Deng and her family fled Sudan in 2005 for Australia. Deng was raised in Melbourne, where she was later discovered by Bucknall.
Racism in the modeling world has seemingly always been a hot issue for Deng. In 2011, the model told Vogue Australia about the advice Wek gave her on modeling.
“This industry can be really hard, but all you’ve got to do is just think of it as something you’ve already started and you really want to finish. You don’t want to quit in the middle of it, so just don’t quit.’ I’m definitely not going to give up until I see where this is going to end.”
A few years later in 2014, Deng tweeted that she was “kicked out of Balmain for being Black,” adding, “I know a lot of Black models would rather kiss someone’s ass than being honest but guessed what? I do not gaged [sic] a damn f*ck” before deleting her Twitter account.
It’s no surprise that the fashion industry is comprised of racist attitudes on an international level. Take for example the soaring amount of demeaning commentary and racist language posted under a picture of a Black model’s lips on MAC’s Instagram page. For many, it highlighted the negative attitudes surrounding Black models in the business.
Deng doesn’t seem phased by her departure from the world of modeling. Even with all of its glam and exclusivity, the ugliness hiding within the industry is just as apparent. After her initial post, Deng addressed supportive fans.
“Thank you for your concerns but I am good and very happy with my decision. I am a fighter and a go getta, I will figured out what to do next. I love you all and thank you,” she wrote.