Alek Wek on Models, Food and World Hunger

| February 12, 2012

Her boyfriend broke up with her because she had what he considered to be a very embarrassing food habit. She doggie-bagged her left-overs. And who doesn’t? Until seeing her feature on the Daily Beast, it was assumed that doggie-bagging left-overs, after a night eating out, was standard practice. Apparently, it isn’t in the world of those who can afford to throw away food they don’t think they would want to eat later.

However, Alek Wek isn’t worried about that reaction from her boyfriend. It’s the general western mentality about food that causes her concern. Having grown up in Sudan, Alek knows first-hand what it means to have limited access to food; such that people are skinny not by choice. This is why she finds the practice of models starving themselves in order to maintain certain acceptable industry standards quite disturbing.

In this world,” says Alek in the Daily Beast, “I found many people were hungry too, but for different reasons. They wanted their bodies to look a certain way, whether their bodies were meant to or not. They chose not to eat.”

Alek Wek has given voice to a part of Africa’s blackness through modeling, but she has also given voice to Africa’s other issues such as refugee issues and hunger. As an advocate for Africa’s refugees, Alek offers her voice to various projects using her influence to garner support for such causes. She is currently an advocate for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and in July 2011, she was on hand at the first-ever Refugee Congress in Washington, DC, where refugee attendees told their stories and experiences to a larger international audience.

To Alek, the most humbling thing that fashion ever gave her was a voice. She hopes to use that voice to speak up for other refugees, and to speak out against hunger – both the kind ravaging people back home in Sudan, and the kind ravaging model’s bodies in the fashion world. Look out world, Alek Wek has finally found a cause!

Read the full Feature at

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