Vogue model calls out photo mix-up: 'They think every black girl looks the same'

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Australian supermodel Adut Akech poses for photos at the Melbourne City Baths after it was announced Akech would be the Melbourne Fashion Week 2019 ambassador, on July 15, 2019. [Photo: Getty]

Adut Akech has called out an Australian magazine for confusing her with another black model in an image used to illustrate a feature.

The South Sudanese-Australian model shared an image of the magazine feature, which consists of a double page spread, to her 501,000 followers on Instagram.

The feature contains a number of images of Akech, but the main image is of another model, Flavia Lazarus.

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Below the image, Akech shared a moving essay in which she argues her “whole race had been disrespected” by the oversight.

Later down in the essay, she says although she does not aim to bash the publication, who have already apologised to her, she feels it is an “important conversation” to have and feels it will be a “wake-up call”.

The 19-year-old, an ambassador for Melbourne Fashion Week 2019, appears on the cover of this month’s British Vogue, guest-edited by the Duchess of Sussex, alongside 15 “trail-blazing” women likes of Michelle Obama, Jane Fonda, Salma Hayek and fellow model Adwoa Aboah.

WHO magazine has issued an apology, shared by Australian publication 10 Daily, in which it apologised for the wrong image being used. It said it was the fault of their PR agency.

It reads: “WHO sincerely apologises for the incorrect image that appeared in this week’s magazine.

“Unfortunately the agency that set up our interview with Adut Akech supplied us with the wrong photograph to accompany the piece.

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“WHO spoke directly with Adut to explain how the error occurred and have sincerely apologised.

“We also apologise to Flavia Lazarus for the misprint.

“Our intention was to share Adut’s inspiring story and highlight her achievements. We are committed to increasing the diversity in the pages of WHO, and arranged the interview in view of this. Hopefully the result of our misprint will be more people talking about this issue in the industry and tackling it head-on.”

Akech is not the first high-profile black celebrity to be faced with this kind of mix-up.

In October last year, actor Amandla Stenberg called out a Twitter account for sharing a photograph of her at the VMAs – paired with a caption which referred to former Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei.

“They really think we all look the same,” she wrote.