Adut Akech says Naomi Campbell taught her to “stay true” to herself.
The 19-year-old model considers the beauty to be a “second mum” to her now after being “inspired” by her early in her career, and says that now she’s a “role model” herself, she hopes to pass on the message of self-confidence that 48-year-old Naomi taught her.
In an interview with Vogue Australia, she said: “When I was growing up, the role models who inspired me in my career were Alek Wek and Naomi Campbell, who is like a second mum to me now.
“I also look up to Lupita Nyong’o, and through her, I’ve learned about beauty and being comfortable in your own skin and I gained the confidence of knowing my own beauty and worth. Because of my success, I realize I’ve become something of a role model to young girls and I am excited about that, but I’m not going to lie, I also feel a bit of pressure, because I think people are going to expect so much of me and I don’t want to do anything wrong.
“If a young girl of color aspiring to be a model asks me for advice, I would say: know who you are and stay true to yourself because being in this industry it’s so easy to lose yourself, which is the advice that Naomi Campbell gave me when I started.
“Also, work hard, because nothing is going to come easy. You have to want it so bad and give it everything you’ve got.”
The star went on to explain that the industry is more diverse than it used to be and that she’s glad to see a more inclusive catwalk. She said: “There have definitely been changes in the industry since I was officially signed to an agent at 15, and I feel happy about what’s happening. I’m seeing a lot more diversity on the runway and in campaigns.”