Adut Akech 'not ashamed' of her refugee background

Adut Akech

Adut Akech is extremely proud of her refugee background.

In an op-ed for Britain's Glamour magazine, the South Sudan-born model opened up about her heritage, and explained that while she came to Australia with her family from a refugee camp in Kenya as a child, she deserves to be treated equally.

"I am a refugee. It's my background, it's who I am - and it's nothing to be ashamed of," the 19-year-old wrote. "The Western world tends to make refugees seem weak, and fail to make them feel accepted, welcome or equal to someone born in their world. I can do anything that a person born in the U.K. or the U.S. can do. I am a refugee, and people need to welcome me as I am."

She also discussed the ongoing battle against racism in the fashion industry and shared her disgust at still being mistaken for other black models.

"There's still a long way to go," Adut noted. "We're in 2019 and I'm experiencing people tagging me as another black person or a different model. It just blows my mind that people care so little. I'm calling people out for it and I will keep calling it out.

"Black models don't all look the same. It's insulting, rude and, frankly, it's racist of people and it needs to stop. It really needs to stop."

Elsewhere in the piece, Adut, who currently fronts the new campaign for Valentino's fragrance Born in Roma, opened up on her adoration for her mentor, fellow model Naomi Campbell.

"(She) is my style and beauty icon. She is so stunning; it blows my mind every time I see her. I'm like, 'Do you ever age?' I used to watch her and the other supermodels and thought, 'I want to do what they're doing one day.' Did I think I could make it? No. But you can only dream," she gushed.

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