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Alek Wek Biography

Alek Wek was born in Wau, South Sudan in 1977, and raised as a member of the Dinka tribe. She was initially forced to flee her hometown to escape the north-south civil war in 1987 and, at the age of 14, made her way to the United Kingdom from the Sudan capital, Khartoum. It was here that she was discovered at a funfair - she has since gone on to become one of the fashion world's most recognizable faces.

From an early appearance in the music video to Tina Turner's "Goldeneye," Wek stormed into the fashion industry with her game-changing turn on the cover of Elle Magazine's November 1997 issue. Since then, Wek has built a career spanning nearly two decades at the top of the business. Having been named one of People magazine's "50 Most Beautiful People" and "50 Most Influential Faces in Fashion," she has modelled in shows for the world's leading fashion houses, including Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Gucci, Vivienne Westwood, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan.

Wek now lives in New York and balances a busy career both on and off the runway with her activism. With some of fashion's most prestigious contracts under her belt, Wek has expanded her reach beyond the catwalk, dabbling in designing, television and writing. Wek became a published author in 2007 with the release of her autobiography, "Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel." The book chronicles her own experiences of war and forced displacement and her extensive campaigning for human rights, focusing on refugees, women and children, and education. She has spoken about refugees before the United States Congressional Black Caucus and served as an advisory board member for the US Committee for Refugees and Migrants. She is also involved in other humanitarian issues, including raising awareness about HIV/AIDS.

In 2014 she was announced as an official ambassador of the H&M Conscious Foundation.