“I feel as though this would’ve not have happened to a white model,” said the South Sudanese-Australian model after an image of another model was published alongside her interview in Who magazine.

South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech has expressed rightful disappointment after a major publication published a story of her with an image of a different model.

“I feel as though this would’ve not have happened to a white model,” said Akech in a statement shared on Instagram after a photo of fellow model Flavia Lazarus, was published alongside an interview with Akech in Australia’s Who magazine. She stated that she felt “angry” and “disrespected” by the blunder. “Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected, but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected,” she wrote.

The public relations agency responsible for the mixup has apologized, OPR, apologized for the mistake on Monday. “The error was administrative and unintentional and we sincerely apologise for this mistake and any upset it has caused to the models involved, and our client the City of Melbourne,” OPR said in a statement shared on Melbourne Fashion Weeks Instagram page. Akech is an ambassador for Melbourne Fashion Week.

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp met with the model on Monday to discuss the incident, according to Australia’s ABC Adelaide newspaper. OPR is employed by the council.

“I want to say how frustrated and deeply disappointed we are at the @cityofmelbourne regarding what’s occurred with our incredible @melbfashionweek ambassador Adut Akech and MFW model Flavia Lazarus,” she stated in response to the incident. “Adut is right, we need to do better.”

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I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me. For those who are not aware, last week @whomagazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to colour in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl. This has upset me, has made me angry, it has made me feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances. Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue. Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. This is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine -they have apologised to me directly – but I feel like I need to express publicly how I feel. This has deeply affected me and we need to start an important conversation that needs to happen. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. I’ve been called by the name of another models who happens to be of the same Ethnicity, I find it very ignorant, rude and disrespectful towards both of us simply because we know that this doesn’t happen with white models. I want this to be somewhat of a wake up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better. Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumors. To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names. Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry

A post shared by Adut Akech Bior (@adutakech) on

The occurence undermines much of what Akech—who spent part of her childhood as a refugee in Kenya—discussed in the interview. She discussed both race and the treatment of refugees in the article, according to ABC Adelaide.

The incident, once again, highlights racial biases amongst white people, who often see black people as homogenous, despite obvious dissimilarities in appearance. For black people and other people of color, this is a common occurrence in workplaces and classrooms, something which Akech echoed in her statement.

“Whoever did this clearly thought that was me in that picture and that’s not OK,” she wrote. “By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrow-minded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop.”

Source OKAY AFRICA

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