Ajak Deng Recants Retirement, Returns To Fashion Industry

After calling it quits in an Instagram post, model Ajak Deng returns to the fashion industry after deciding that someone has to be there for the brown girls.

The fashion industry struggles with the ability to meet the needs of models of every shade and Deng had enough. She was fed up with constantly being pressured to meet European standards of beauty, and dealing with makeup artists that were unequipped to do a black model’s makeup.

Last week, Ajak Deng shared on Instagram that she would be returning home to Austrailia to live the life she deserved.

“Put your best foot forward. I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia in order to live the life that I fully deserved. Which is real life. I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life. I am thankful and grateful for every sweet souls that I have crossed path with.”

More often than not, the model faced the issue of not being cast with major fashion houses. Which is a common problem for many models of color, who are more than suited for these positions, just like their European counterparts.

Deng shared:

“My first season in Milan, no one booked me and I was so destroyed because they [weren’t] booking black girls like me that season.”

In the recant of her retirement, Deng mentioned her manager Mina White who assured her throughout her career that nothing was wrong with her.

According to Deng, White has always stood by her side and encouraged her to come back and change people’s minds, one day at a time. Deng returned, deciding that leaving the fashion industry wouldn’t set a good example for the models that reflect her and face the same issues.

“[T]hank god for my sweet and encouraging agent @Meansss who told me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me and that I was one of the most beautiful girl[s] in the world, so [wipe] off those tears, come back to New York and let’s change their minds one day at a time.”

The colorism in the fashion industry needs to come to a halt, and Ajak Deng is one of the best forerunners for changing the standards set by the fashion industry for future models of color.

Shonette Reed

Fashion Writer

Shonette Reed is a Los Angeles based blogger and journalist with a journalism and integrated Media degree from Biola University. She has worked in the fashion industry as a freelance writer for ForHarriet.com and a public relations intern for Liberate Apparel. Her main goal in the fashion industry is to continue to bring more women of color to the media, showing that the fashion industry has diversity worth celebrating.