Adut Akech finds it difficult to open up about her feelings even though it helps her cope with depression and anxiety.
The 19-year-old model, who was born in South Sudan, revealed her battle with the mental health issues in January in a candid New Year Instagram post, in which she confessed she "would wake up every morning crying" and cry some more when she got home during 2018.
In a new interview with British newspaper The Times, she explained how she makes time for talking and writing about her feelings to help her manage.
"I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I've learnt that talking is the medicine. It's a challenge for me, as I grew up keeping everything in," she told British newspaper The Times. "Writing my feelings is a way for me to let them out, without feeling vulnerable."
Akech spent her early years in Kakuma, one of Kenya's largest refugee camps, before moving to Australia at the age of six with her mother and siblings. She's now writing a book to document her experiences and eventually wants to return to South Sudan to open a hospital and school and start a modelling agency representing South Sudanese women.
"I've never really spoken about my story, not because I was ashamed of it, but because no one really asked," she explained. "Now I see the impact that I'm having and the type of inspiration I can give to someone. I'm not just Adut the model, I am more than that. I am the little girl who was once in a refugee camp with no food, and I made my way out of that - that is what my story is."
The catwalk regular, who is the face of Valentino's new fragrance Born in Roma, was honoured with the Model of the Year accolade at The Fashion Awards earlier in December, and she called the prize "equivalent to an Oscar".
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