Again, for the folks in the back: “They think every black girl or African people looks the same...I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model.”

And Akech isn’t the only model to have suffered the insult of being misidentified by an Australian outlet. After seeing Akech’s post, fellow Sudanese-Australian model Duckie Thot commented, “This has happened to me too with another Australian paper... it’s really disrespectful and sad. I hope you’re okay 💗.”

But obviously, it’s not OK. While mistakes happen, they seem to happen much more frequently when black people are involved; a point even conceded by the Australian arm of Yahoo Lifestyle, which wrote the following in its reporting on the issue:

In fact, a quick survey of my newsroom colleagues today revealed that none of us could recall an instance where this has happened to a Caucasian celebrity in Australia.

That’s quite a feat, considering our local industry is whitewashed beyond comprehension, whether that be on screen, on the airwaves or on the runway...and yet we’ve conscientiously avoided misidentifying any golden haired, blue-eyed, fair-skinned lookalike TV hosts.

We identify our Sylvias from our Sams and Sonias, and our Angelas from our Allisons.


As noted by Akech, Who magazine did apologize to both models, issuing a statement that placed the blame on the PR agency that coordinated the interview—which doesn’t entirely absolve its lack of ability to identify one of the most famous faces in the fashion industry at the moment, let alone within Australia.


The statement read, in part:

Unfortunately the agency that set up our interview with Adut Akech supplied us with the wrong photograph to accompany the piece,” read the statement. “WHO spoke directly with Adut to explain how the error occurred and have sincerely apologized...We also apologize to Flavia Lazarus for the misprint.

Our intention was to share Adut’s inspiring story and highlight her achievements. We are committed to increasing the diversity in the pages of WHO, and arranged the interview in view of this. Hopefully the result of our misprint will be more people talking about this issue in the industry and tackling it head-on.


Or, we could all just care enough to do our own research and do better.