Anok Yai Covers Vogue Italia May 2019, Lensed By Steven Klein As 'Best In Show'

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Anok Yai Covers Vogue Italia May 2019, Lensed By Steven Klein As 'Best In Show'

Model Anok Yai didn’t even like the picture posted on Instagram, taken by a professional photographer who captured Yai, at Howard University’s homecoming week in October 2017. Eighteen months later Yai not only covers the May 2019 issue of Vogue Italia, but she is lensed by one of fashion’s most provocative, talented, transgressive photographers Steven Klein. Amazing!

Patti Wilson styles Anok Yai for ‘Best In Show’, a classic Steven Klein editorial. Great fashion photography not only understands the clothes and makes them look beautiful and of-the-moment,” says Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, “but it also brings a twist that catches the eye and captures the imagination. In the case of Steven Klein, you give him a dress, and he will give you a girl in a dress with a robot in a garden. It’s clever, conceptual, and ultimately lyrical.” .

Breakout Star Ugbad Abdi In 'Ugbad in Tanzania' By Viviane Sassen For Vogue Italia May 2019

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Breakout Star Ugbad Abdi In 'Ugbad in Tanzania' By Viviane Sassen For Vogue Italia May 2019

Rising Somali model Ugbad Abdi is considered to be Fall 2019’s breakout star. She credits fellow-Muslim refugee model, Minneapolis-based Halima Aden as her inspo. “Before Halima, I just assumed there was no place for the hijab in the fashion industry,” Ugbad told i-D. “I have now realised that Muslim women can be anything we want to be.”

Ugbad is styled by Vanessa Reid for ‘Ugbad in Tanzania’, lensed by Viviane Sassen for Vogue Italia May 2019./ Makeup by Irena Ruben

Halima Aden's TEDx Talk From Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya

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Halima Aden's TEDx Talk From Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya

Rising fashion star Halima Aden made another appearance in the pages of Vogue Arabia, posing in the November 2018 for images by An Le. The AOC post prompted me to circle back to watch Halima Aden’s TEDx Talk in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, now that it’s available online.

Aden expressed profound thanks for getting the opportunity to revisit the Kakuma, which was founded in 1992 and is currently home to more than 185,000 inhabitants. “This camp taught me so many lessons and I’m so grateful I had the chance to return,” the model told her 620,000 Instagram followers. “A lot has changed since I’ve left but we still have along way to go.” 

At this moment when refugees are under assault globally, including in America, Halima’s words are deeply felt here at AOC. I also found this essay expressing in words by Halima many of the concepts expressed in her TEDX talk, posted on Dream Refugee.org.

Immersed in trying to piece together all of the refugee models and their intersections with each other, I momentarily forgot my own words from April 1, in which I already wrote that Halima Aden and Adut Akech were both born in the same refugee camp: Kakuma.

Adut Akech Says Even As Richest Model In The World: "I Will Still Be A Refugee. I Am A Refugee."

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Adut Akech Says Even As Richest Model In The World: "I Will Still Be A Refugee. I Am A Refugee."

It’s been a phenomenal time for Adelaide, Australia’s rising star model Adut Akech. Launched as a Saint Laurent exclusive beginning in September 2016, she became the second black woman to ever close a Chanel fashion show, finding herself center stage with Karl Lagerfeld in the Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2018 presentation. In between these major fashion career milestones, Adut was center stage in Tim Walker’s 2018 Pirelli calendar, with its first all-black cast.

Now the former refugee finds herself on the cover of Vogue Australia’s December issue, in a feature about her life, her friends and family, even her school. Adut is also one of four models covering separate issues of British Vogue’s December issue.

Full stop. Back up Anne. Adut Akech corrects you, telling CNN:

“Even if I become the richest model in the world I will still be a refugee. I am a refugee.”

AOC doesn’t care about Adut’s favorite makeup tips. Backstage snaps of Adut at a runway show are not our motivating life force. Her family life and history as a South Sudan refugee in Adelaide, Australia do get our attention, and Adut’s Vogue Australia December cover editorial adds rich soil to her personal global story.

Halima Aden Returns To Kakuma Refugee Camp In Kenya, Films TEDX Talk, Becomes UNICEF Ambassador

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Halima Aden Returns To Kakuma Refugee Camp In Kenya, Films TEDX Talk, Becomes UNICEF Ambassador

Model, beauty queen and humanitarian Halima Aden's life cup is overflowing with Gaia's bounty. 

"I was the first Muslim homecoming queen at my high school, the first Somali student senator at my college, and the first hijab-wearing woman in many places, like the Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant, the runways of Milan and New York fashion weeks, and even on the historic cover of British Vogue," she explained in a recent (but not yet posted) TED Talk she gave at Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya — another first, both for her and for TED, as it was the first talk streamed from a refugee camp in the program's history. But the visit also held a special significance for Halima, as it marked the first time she had returned to Kakuma after moving to the United States at age 7.

Refugee Models From Sudan Share Their Stories: Shanelle Nyasiase, Angok Mayen, George Okeny

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Model Shanelle Nyasiase walked a dizzying 42-43 shows in the past month, as the Fall 2018 runway shows launched in New York before moving to London, Milan and then Paris, weeks after the launch of her spectacular Alexander McQueen Spring 2018 ad campaign.

AOC is a different kind of fashion website, with my own roots embedded so deeply in activism on behalf of women worldwide, but especially in Africa and very deeply in Sudan and Kenya. 

I was pleasantly surprised today to see 'The Modeling World's Sudanese Refugees Share Their Stories' on Vogue.com, with Shanelle Nyasiase featured, along with peers Angok Mayen and George Okeny.

Africa's refugees are populating the pages of AOC, coming from the US, but also Australia and European countries. I like the candor of this Vogue video and am happy to see the content evolutions in the magazine. Listening to George Okeny talk about missing a Gucci ad shoot right after Trump's inauguration -- because he was caught up in the first wave of the president's immigration travel ban -- hit home. Take a listen. Oh, George says his papers are now in order, so if you know anyone at Gucci . . . That would be Alessandro Michele.