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Alek's autobiography tells of her journey from life as a Sudanese refugee in Britain to becoming one of the world's most sought-after cover girls
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The striking model (left) had the support of designer Diane von Furstenberg and legendary African beauty Iman as she promoted her autobiography
Photo: © Getty Images

Alek recounts her journey from Sudan to the top of fashion

5 SEPTEMBER 2007

Sixteen years ago Alek Wek left behind life as a Sudanese refugee in Britain to become one of the world's most sought-after cover girls. Her amazing journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in the war-torn country to the top of the fashion scene was revealed this week with the launch of her autobiography Alek: From Sudanese Refugee To International Supermodel.

On hand to see the inspirational 30-year-old Sudanese model's literary project come to fruition were fellow fashion heavyweights Iman and New York-based designer Diane von Furstenberg.

Alek's cherubic features and perfect complexion have graced the pages of leading glossy magazines and the runways of Paris, New York and Milan since 1995. But success came as a surprise to the ebony skinned beauty, who never imagined fashionistas would rave over her looks. "I look like my sisters, and like most other Dinka girls," says the catwalk favourite, who is one of nine children. "We were all dark, tall, and lithe. I had the added problem of psoriasis: the few times I took a look at myself in the mirror, I wasn't pleased."

But an industry notorious for its fickleness took a different view and Alek has remained a firm favourite for over a decade - a fact proved once again on Tuesday when she was asked to help kick off New York fashion week by turning on the lights of the Empire State Building.

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