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Ajak Deng Quits Modeling Due to ‘Fakes’ and the ‘Lies’

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Photo: Getty Images Europe
Photo: Getty Images Europe

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Ajak Deng, one of Australia's best known model exports, announced her retirement from fashion via Instagram on Tuesday night. The 26-year-old Deng has been an industry favorite since she was discovered in 2008. Over the course of what will be less than a decade-long career, she has walked for brands like Lanvin, Valentino, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, and starred in campaigns for Calvin Klein, United Colours of Benetton, Topshop, and MAC Cosmetics.

And yet, Deng's over it. She says she's leaving because she "can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies." She'll return to Australia "to live the life [she] fully deserves," which, while good for her, isn't so great for fashion, not to mention those of us who've appreciated her prominent voice on the subject of racism in the fashion industry. Despite this NYFW being the most diverse in years, the fashion world still has a long way to go in terms of attitudes and education. And losing Deng, one of the very few dark skinned women in the public eye with predominantly black features, is a bummer.

Her agent, Stephen Bucknall, made a statement following the announcement, and it doesn't appear as though Deng will be modeling after her return to Australia. "Ajak has said to me many times, it saddens her there isn't more work for dark skinned girls in Australia, as she would like to book more work here."

He adds, "They'll book the big caucasian girls, spend the big dollars, and fly them in from LA, but I'm yet to see them book a dark skinned girl in that way."

Dang seems to be somewhat relieved; she posted another Instagram photo after her retirement announcement thanking God for "her blessings."

Thank you for your blessings God.

A photo posted by AJAK DENG (@ajak_deng) on