Book Review: Alek

This is the cover that launched model, Alek Wek, into the supermodel stratosphere and the book, Alek, tells the story of her amazing rise from a Sudanese refugee to the fashion runways of Paris.

Alek was a quick and enjoyable read. This is not a insider's view of the fashion biz, as a matter of fact, that aspect is not given much attention at all. The main focus is on Alek's childhood, her family and their struggles in the war-torn city of Wau. Alek's young life was filled with uncertainty, as their family had to move from their home and try to survive while civil war raged in their country.

The things that really impressed me about Alex the person, is how down-to-earth and unaffected she is. She is strongly grounded by the traditions and love shown by her amazing parents who taught her to be appreciative of life and to work hard. Another really amazing fact is that Alek suffered from a horrible case of psoriasis as a child, one that caused her to have flaky lizard-like skin. This is particularly hard to imagine as her dark, rich, smooth and very beautiful skin is one of her trademarks (I would love to have such a perfect complexion). Due to this disease, Alek was often ostracized, but on the other hand, this shaped her view of beauty in general. She mentions that she thinks it very ironic that she makes money off of her looks, as she was considered ugly as a's the same Alek on the inside, nothing has changed.

Indeed, as she made it through the ranks of the fashion industry it is clear that this career, one she fell into by chance, is a way for her to be a voice for her native country, Sudan. She hasn't got, "the big head" from being a model, but approaches modeling as she would any other job, to her it's very much like any other job. She's just a hard worker, again, learned from her parents.

In the end I found this book to be eye-opening more about Alek, not as much about modeling and that's fine. After I finished I immediately went on the 'net to look at some of her pictures and she was more beautiful than I'd ever thought, all because I'd learned a bit about the inner beauty of this fashion model.


kookiejar said...

That's really interesting, Iggy. A lot of times we see 'the beautiful people' and don't think there is any more to them than the perfect face and body. Glad to see that some of them have substance as well. Great review!