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:: Spotlight :: One of Melbourne's most sought after models: Ajak Deng

By: Carmine Pascuzzi

At age twelve, Ajak Deng fled her troubled African homeland of Sudan with her mother, four brothers and three sisters to a refugee camp in Kenya, where her mother died of malaria. A little time later, when she found out that she was escaping that hardship to move to Australia, brave Ajak knew she could follow her dreams and make a better life for herself'. Ajak and her family, with her father and stepmother, moved to Australia in 2005 and settled into school life in the Melton area.

Move forward to 2008 and FRM Model Management boss Stephen Bucknall spotted Ajak at a Miss South Sudan Australia competition and soon signed her up as a model for his company. He knew that young Ajak had the qualities to being a top model and go a long way in the fashion world. He said, "Her look is very unique. ‘There are a lot of Sudanese girls that are tall and striking, but she has an ability in front of camera which is above and beyond many of the Sudanese girls now entering the modelling arena.’'

It wasn't long before many high profile brands and companies sought Ajak's services. She has modelled for Australian Fashion Week, David Jones, L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, New Zealand Fashion Week, Dizingof, Davenport, and is featuring in the behind the scenes look at Mimco. In New York last year, Ajak also participated in eight shows during New York Fashion Week, including that of Australian Michael Angel and Bryan Reyes. She is the first African-Australian to feature in New York Fashion Week. With her placement at IMG Models, many more opportunities will open up.

Recent major news is that Ajak will appear globally in a Benetton campaign which was shot in New York. The 19-year-old Melton model has just jetted off to New York again for more work in the upcoming Fashion Week. The popular Models.com has confirmed that Ajak will feature as a model of the week.

It is hoped that Ajak will return to Melbourne for the 2010 L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival where she is likely to be joined by other African-Australian models that FRM Model Management represent. As you can gauge, it has been an extremely busy and fulfilling year for the striking 183cm model and there will be much more ahead as she spreads her wings around the global modelling scene.

It's a credit for Stephen Bucknall and his team at FRM that this young Sudanese woman was given an opportunity and I have been told by Stephen that he has big things in store for a couple of other Sudanese girls Nikki and Marina. We'll keep you updated with developments.

Here are some shots of Ajak Deng during her short modelling career so far.

Ajak Deng for Michael Angel in New York Michael Angel Bryan Reyes New York parade
Ajak Deng for David Jones