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The fashion world can categorically agree that it’s been a great year for Adut Akech. In 2019 alone, the 19-year-old Sudanese-Australian model has starred in her very first fragrance campaign for Valentino, and named among 100 “rising stars” on the Time 100 Next list.

To crown off this year’s achievements, Akech was awarded the Model of the Year title at the 2019 British Fashion Awards. Her supporters all over the world and influential celebrity friends, which include Naomi Campbell, Edward Enninful and Pierpaolo Piccioli, took to social media to celebrate the supermodel. “My baby, @adutakech1 congratulations [heart emoji] #ModelOfTheYear #FashionAwards 2019 |@BFC,” Campbell tweeted.

Despite bagging this significant achievement even before her 20s, the catwalk star knows there’s a bigger fight. In her acceptance speech at the awards earlier this week, after expressing gratitude and delight, Akech touched on issues of diversity and inclusion within the fashion industry, saying, “It is important for all of us to remember that someone like me winning this award is a rarity.”

“This is for the young women and men who found representation and validation in my work. I want them to never be afraid of dreaming big like I once did.”

In a recent interview, Akech again highlighted that the fashion industry still has a long way to go with representation: “Me doing the things that I have done goes to show that there is change happening, but there’s still a long way to go.”

“It just makes me so happy to see all these models of different skin colours being used for these big brand campaigns, editorials and magazine covers, which wasn’t happening when I started doing it, not that long ago in 2016. It’s a great achievement, but we haven’t reached our end goal yet.”

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Opening the Melbourne Townhall opening runway show last night was truly a beautiful magically special moment for me. I’d be waiting for this night for so long, to finally been able to walk a show in front of my mum, siblings and family friends. A special moment I will cherish forever ✨✨✨ Thank you so much @melbfashionweek @cityofmelbourne and all the teams behind making this show and night as magically as it was. Congratulations to every single designer that was apart of this show. I have respect for everyone involved because I know how hard you worked on it. I’ve loved being this year’s @melbfashionweek Ambassador it has been a wonderful experience for me. Thank you @sallycapp_ for all your supporting and standing by my side throughout this experience. A special thank you to my entire family that has been here to see me do my thing, you being there means the world to me! 💗💗💗💗💗

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