Alek Wek Quotes

 

Many live to eat, instead of the other way around.

 

I have short hair. It doesn’t make me more unattractive than a woman or my sisters that have more longer hair and a bit lighter.

— Alek Wek

True beauty is born through our actions and aspirations and in the kindness we offer to others.

— Alek Wek

My commitment to refugees comes from a very personal place.

— Alek Wek

When I was growing up, my mother taught me and my sisters to celebrate each other – there was no room in our household for negativity. She taught us to embrace each other, and this was empowering for us. She also taught us the value of celebrating our differences.

— Alek Wek

I think the fashion industry has gotten to a place where it is embarrassing.

— Alek Wek

When I think of ‘Instagram models,’ I say you have to take baby steps. You cannot just walk straight onto the runway.

— Alek Wek

When I was working, there was no digital. We actually worked; we used Polaroids.

— Alek Wek

There was no concept of fashion and catwalk shows where I came from.

— Alek Wek

I’ve seen mothers and children really being vulnerable in the refugee camps; it’s supposed to be temporary, but they end up having children who have grown up in refugee camps.

— Alek Wek

I’m an artist at heart.

— Alek Wek

Everything has to do with education: If you educate the girls, you educate the family, the community, and society, in general.

— Alek Wek

I don’t even know where to start in terms of people having such an issue about color, especially being dark. I just think on different levels it’s ignorance; it’s no belief, no confidence, it’s insecurity, so you want to inflict it on somebody else.

— Alek Wek

When I started modeling, it was like, ‘Oh, she’s too dark,’ and I kind of looked at them like, ‘You’re too daft.’

— Alek Wek

Black girls, I feel, rock, in so many ways, especially coming from five girls.

— Alek Wek

My mother always has embedded in us that you guys rock in different ways, and to be able to celebrate that with each other is just beautiful.

— Alek Wek

You could fancy what you’d like, but as a woman, my mother always raised us to believe in ourselves. I am very grateful that my mother brought me up that way.

— Alek Wek

I think beauty is not just about what we put on our heads or on our faces or what we wear: it’s deeper than that, and if we can celebrate that, celebrate the women, not just the superficiality… I think it would be really gorgeous.

— Alek Wek

It’s an awful feeling, being hungry.

— Alek Wek

Restaurants serve huge portions on even huger platters, and people are tempted to eat too much.

— Alek Wek

Many live to eat, instead of the other way around.

— Alek Wek

In restaurants in my Brooklyn neighborhood, I always ask for a doggie bag to bring the leftovers home.

— Alek Wek

I’ve eight brothers and sisters – five girls, four boys. I am the seventh.

— Alek Wek

I like to accept it all, the negative and the positive.

— Alek Wek

I am not really into buying a lot of expensive things.

— Alek Wek

When you give, you receive.

— Alek Wek

It’s a small world when you’re from South Sudan.

— Alek Wek

London is like my second home. I’ve still got friends there from school and from when I first started in the modelling business – people such as Karen Elson, Jasmine Guinness, Jade Parfitt.

— Alek Wek

I’ve always loved to paint – I was studying to do an art degree when I was approached to become a model – and I’ve being doing some design work as well. I also love just having a quiet time, sitting in my little library at home in Brooklyn and reading or watching documentaries or listening to music.

— Alek Wek

I was working part-time as a cleaner while I was going to college and then babysitting after school.

— Alek Wek

I grew up in southern Sudan, one of nine children. Our life was simple but very happy.

— Alek Wek

When I was a girl, civil war in Sudan forced me to flee my home town of Wau.

— Alek Wek

War tore my family apart.

— Alek Wek

Whenever I feel I am going through my own ‘little’ challenging moment, I just think about my mom.

— Alek Wek

There’s one thing we all share: We eat to nurture ourselves, to feel stronger.

— Alek Wek

We eat to live.

— Alek Wek

Starting modeling in the ’90s, it was quite surreal. They were like, ‘You’re so different! So weird! So bizarre!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m so normal. What are you talking about?’

— Alek Wek

I love cooking. I love having friends around.

— Alek Wek

You’ve got to make yourself happy. I’m a happy person naturally.

— Alek Wek

There are tons of black girls modeling, and each one is special.

— Alek Wek

When I talk, it shouldn’t just be black girls listening.

— Alek Wek

All the exhausting aspects of my job are made worthwhile because I get to experience so many different cultures. It makes you really appreciate the memories.

— Alek Wek

It’s sometimes tiring to get off a long-haul flight and go straight to the studio for a shoot, but if you really plan everything well, you can get so much out of combining travel with work.

— Alek Wek

I grew up in a small town in Sudan. There weren’t many cars, so we did things in the countryside near where we lived.

— Alek Wek

When I was 14, I came to school in London. I remember it was very cold, but also having to adjust and become fluent in English.

— Alek Wek

You can feel very strongly that someone doesn’t like you. I think any model who didn’t have the same sort of upbringing as me would find that very difficult. But I absolutely knew I was entitled. I never thought I was ugly – it never crossed my mind.

— Alek Wek

When I started, I’d hear other people saying, ‘God, she’s so bizarre-looking,’ because I didn’t look like the girl next door. But I was just normal. I was the girl next door. There were people in high fashion I could better relate to who were doing something more interesting and not talking this sort of rubbish.

— Alek Wek

Going on safari in South Africa was hardcore but a lot of fun – though my friend Maura was absolutely freaking out about all the bugs in her hair and having to pee in the sand.

— Alek Wek

The beauty of reading is that it lets you travel in a way you could never know.

— Alek Wek

I like unique little boutique hotels, such as Blakes in London.

— Alek Wek

We survived on natural resources, so we should take care of the earth. When I leave home, I do things like switching off the heat and lights.

— Alek Wek

Education is the key to the future.

— Alek Wek

South Sudanese people are rich like the soil; they just need a little water, and they will grow.

— Alek Wek

I am so impressed by UNHCR staff who live and work side by side with the refugees. It’s really remarkable.

— Alek Wek

When I first started working with World Vision, I would sit down and talk with them about issues that concern any part of the world. MSF told me about what was going on in North Korea. I also support AIDS and breast cancer charities.

— Alek Wek

I don’t understand when people are being greedy or mean, when they say who should get what, when they get control of someone else’s life.

— Alek Wek

My family is the most important thing to me.

— Alek Wek

If my mother hadn’t encouraged me, I would be nervous and feeling like I’m doing something wrong.

— Alek Wek

There are people who can look out for other human beings; there are people who can speak up when something is not right and say, ‘This is wrong, and something should be done.’

— Alek Wek

I feel, in 2015, when we see human beings and children dying to cross the ocean, trying to find safety, something more must be done to help them because refugees are just like me and you.

— Alek Wek

My father made sure of discipline, but my mum, she was serious business.

— Alek Wek

From nine years old, I lived with fear. I saw our neighbours disappearing. I was scared that I would come home from school and my parents would not be there.

— Alek Wek

I still have dreams in which someone is coming to the door.

— Alek Wek

Bones inside clothes. That was war to me.

— Alek Wek

My experience as a refugee had made me strong; I could survive anything, even the world of fashion.

— Alek Wek

When I was 10 years old, I fled my homeland amid the bomb blasts of civil war in Sudan.

— Alek Wek

I never thought I would see a free South Sudan.

— Alek Wek

Leaving southern Sudan as a child was terrifying. It was 1985, and my family and I were trying to escape to Khartoum, the capital in the North, to safety.

— Alek Wek

When I first started modeling, I realised I was very different from many of my colleagues, but I welcomed the opportunities my career in fashion offered me and the support from many inspiring individuals in the fashion industry.

— Alek Wek

For me, it always goes back to what my mother taught me and my sisters. That all women are beautiful, and we should embrace each other.

— Alek Wek

Beauty should not be culturally relevant; it should be universal.

— Alek Wek

I have eight brothers and sisters, so I’d like to have a few children.

— Alek Wek

I would love to continue to model but also have a family.

— Alek Wek

Don’t focus on negative things; focus on the positive, and you will flourish.

— Alek Wek

Having arrived in London to seek refuge during the civil war in Sudan, where I was born, the thing I’m most proud of is having totally evolved. I came here not knowing how to speak English, but I went to school and learned; I adapted to this new culture.

— Alek Wek

My life was filled with family in South Sudan. I am the seventh of nine children, and we grew up in what would be considered a middle-class family. We did not have a lot, but we did have more than a lot of other people.

— Alek Wek

Beauty is subjective and should not be limited to only what we see on the outside.

— Alek Wek

I meet and talk to women from every corner of this planet, and I can find beauty in each and every one of them.

— Alek Wek

Beauty does not mean one thing but not something else.

— Alek Wek

For me, you have to have some kind of modesty.

— Alek Wek

The most beautiful things are not associated with money; they are memories and moments. If you don’t celebrate those, they can pass you by.

— Alek Wek

The fact that designers like Lagerfeld, Gaultier, Galliano and Dior could believe in Alek made me believe in myself, too.

— Alek Wek

I believe we should utilise any power we have for important issues that are bigger and beyond us. Whether it’s with refugees or working to educate kids. I don’t think you need to have gone through a civil war to do something. I believe as human beings, we can look out for each other.

— Alek Wek

When my friends talk about childhood, I’ve never heard of any cartoons or TV they remember. The only thing we share is Michael Jackson. That’s how far his music travelled – to a remote village on the other side of the world.

— Alek Wek

When the militias came to Wau, they would blast out ‘Thriller’ as they moved down the dirt streets.

— Alek Wek

I had serious psoriasis as a child – it’s strange that I make my living off my looks after years of looking like a monster.

— Alek Wek

I had jobs from the age of 14, when I arrived in London as a refugee. Aged 17, I’d get up at 4 A.M. to work as a cleaner before school. It wasn’t pleasant.

— Alek Wek

I use Johnson & Johnson! I use their baby oil gel.

— Alek Wek

We need to do everything we can to protect the health and welfare of children around the world, but fortunately, it’s getting easier to provide things like medication and care.

— Alek Wek

There’s never too much you can do.

— Alek Wek

At times, we take freedom for granted. We really don’t know how to cherish the freedom we have until it’s taken from us.

— Alek Wek

Going back to South Sudan after the independence took place was deeply emotional for me because I had gone through the civil war with my family just before going to seek refuge in London.

— Alek Wek

My mother has always instilled in us that we should carry ourselves with dignity despite the horror that came with the civil war. She also taught us that where you come from is very important because that’s what makes you who you are. So for me, whatever I’ve gone through had profoundly shaped me; it has given me strength and unwavering faith.

— Alek Wek

I used to have nightmares about the civil war when I got to England at ages 14 to 15. It took me some years to get over that.

— Alek Wek

It was the most exciting thing to leave secondary school and go to college, to have that freedom to study whatever I wanted.

— Alek Wek

I could never understand why other kids wanted to truant – my education here gave me everything. It’s the place where I really got to flourish.

— Alek Wek

The day you stop enjoying something is the day you should quit, if you can afford to.

— Alek Wek

There are mothers who sew for six months to make a fashion collection – someone’s grandmother, someone’s sister. We come in and get paid to walk for 10 minutes at the end. Whenever I think about that, I realise it’s not about me. I was just the one chosen to represent those women and sell the clothes.

— Alek Wek

I know how it feels to go hungry.

— Alek Wek

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