On Monday, Australian model Ajak Deng posted to her Instagram page that she was quitting the industry. "Put your best foot forward," she captioned a picture of herself walking down the runway, "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." It's an eerily symbolic image. Deng is wearing a white dress, with a white backdrop, being unapologetically black and beautiful in a white industry which woefully underrepresents women of color. Deng has been on the scene since 2008, landing her first big campaign in 2010 for Benetton and being tapped as a "Model-of-the-Moment" many times over since. Her career is substantial and she's been a regular fixture in the fashion world for nearly a decade. What makes her departure so poignant is the statement from her manager Stephen Bucknell which followed her announcement, commenting that Denj had always struggled to book work in Australia because the industry's bias towards white models: "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."
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Hello. My name is Kiani and I'm single as fuck.
The last time I had a Valentine was in 3rd grade. After copious viewings of Hey! Arnold I'd learned that the best way to get a boy to like you was by being as mean as possible, so at our Valentine's Day class party, I approached the object of my eight year old affections and poured glue all over his desk (Sorry Bryson!). He, in turn, took one of my chocolate bars and smashed them with his hands until the carpet between us was caked with mutilated chocolate while chanting "Boys rule, Girls drool, Kiani is a fool". We had to stay indoors during recess. I tried to hold his hand.
Is there a different between your comfort zone and playing it safe when it come to personal style?
After TWO whole posts in which I sport a little more color, I'm back to the main staples of my sartorial tastes: black and white. I can't tell if this is laziness or if this color scheme is really my signature. Lagerfeld is known for his tuxedo, but Anna Wintour has said many times that wearing all black is boring and that she wouldn't be caught dead in an outfit lacking color, so it seems like the Fashion universe is generally divided on whether or not achromatic is a good thing or a bad thing.
My junior year in high school was the year I really began to experiment with style. I was a little obsessive and I racked up a lot of tardies because I'd spend too long in the morning getting dress, pairing outfits together and taking them off. I had made a rule for myself to not wear the same thing more than once, it was a challenge to explore all the facets of my personal style. All of that went out the window the week I came down with mono. I know, gross. TMI, but it happened--and not even from a passionate make out sesh. I got it from sharing a Starbucks with my best friend who'd gotten it from her boyfriend but never really became sick. I felt like death, I didn't care what I threw on. Towards the end of my whole ordeal, I went to school in jeans, a flannel, and a pair of Chuck Taylors. I showed up late, as usual, only this time not because I was picking out the right accessories, I was just lethargic and gross. When I made it first period and slipped into my desk, at the front of the class, some kid from across the room asked who I was. I was taken aback--we'd sat in the same room for a whole semester, we went to school together for three years. He quickly realized his mistake. "Oh, sorry. You usually dress all wild. I didn't recognize you in denim". And, here I am seven years later, sick and in denim. I've succumbed to the flu, but I'm not letting it put a damper on my style. The amount of little denim dresses I have are too numerous to even quantify. If ever there was a staple to add to your wardrobe, it's a denim dress. . . and maybe a good leather jacket.
My mom wouldn't let me buy white Barbie dolls and it always pissed me off. I had too many Christie's to count. The rule was bent when it came to Princess and I had one of each (plus some doubles of Mulan and Pocahontas in their various iterations because they were my childhood favorites), but if I put a regular Barbie in the cart, my mom would coax me into to swapping her for the black version. It was a major source of contention for us, when we went Toys R Us, I'd always stubbornly insist that "Christie wanted different friends" who weren't Teresa or Raquelle and that she specifically wanted to be friends with Barbie, still my mom never relented. Eventually, the rule was abolished, because I got a MyScene Barbie set for Christmas one year.