According to an Australian magazine, all Black people look a like. WHO Magazine has issued an apology after running an interview they had with South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech but posting a photo of model Flavia Lazarus. The magazine claims the modeling agency sent over a photo of the wrong model.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Akech addressed the unfortunate situation.
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
Akech used this interview as an opportunity to discuss people’s views on refugees. The story of how she fled South Sudan to go to Kenya where she lived in a refugee camp before seeking asylum in Australia in 2008 is powerful. She has since decided to use her platform to have an ongoing and open dialogue about refugees. Unfortunately the photo mix up redirects the conversation from her cause to another issue that is prevalent in the black community.
WHO Magazine’s lackluster apology doesn’t show that they understand or empathize with the model. OPR, the agency that is said to have sent over the incorrect photos, said in a statement to 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.”
Kudos to her for calling the publication out for their lack of professionalism.