Anok Yai Becomes Estée Lauder Spokesmodel, Anchoring Her Meteoric Model Rise

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Estée Lauder has announced that it has signed Anok Yai, fashion’s newest star, as its latest Global Spokesmodel. Anok will feature in makeup and skincare campaigns across digital, TV, in-store and print. Anok’s first campaign will be for the brand’s number one foundation, Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup, debuting August. She joins the current roster of Estée Lauder spokesmodels, Misty Copeland, Grace Elizabeth, Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, Yang Mi, Carolyn Murphy, Hilary Rhoda, Joan Smalls and Fei Fei Sun.

“We are thrilled to welcome Anok to the brand,” said Stephane de La Faverie, Global Brand President, Estée Lauder. “Estée Lauder has always chosen women who represent our vision of global beauty. With the addition of Anok to our current lineup of diverse spokesmodels, we continue the brand’s legacy of celebrating women from different backgrounds, ethnicities and ages.”

The rise of Anok Yai, Egyptian-born with Sudanese heritage who moved to America in 2000, borders on epic in an industry that churns models. Her modeling career skyrocketed after a chance encounter with a street-style photographer at Yardfest, the annual Homecoming concert at Howard University in Washington, DC.

"As I was leaving, this photographer started taking pictures. He asked for my Instagram account and told me he thought the photo was going to go viral. I didn't think anything of it until the next day when my phone started blowing up. My first thought was that my friends had put up an embarrassing photo of me on Twitter, and I thought I'd become a meme," she laughs. "I was really happy when I found out it wasn't that. I started off with 150 followers on Instagram and that night it was 30,000. The next night it was 50,000, and then I started getting calls from agencies."

Yai's dropping anchor with Estée Lauder will stabilize her career and her wider life objectives. Anok hopes to one day become a doctor and empower young women to pursue STEM fields, according to her Lauder press release.

AOC has followed Anok Yai from that first instagram moment. Read her archives: