Wek’s in Effect
We recently posted about how more mature (meaning, over the ripe old age of 29) models are making a comeback on the catwalk. Among these veterans is Alek Wek—who has a look like no other, and a smile that lights up both a room and a runway. But the interesting thing about Wek is the fact that she’s never really disappeared from the fashion scene. Her “inky skin” and close-cropped cut certainly make her stand out, but it’s Wek’s ability to look as alluring au naturel as she does with a full face of makeup (including powder-blue maquillage, seen at John Galliano’s Spring 2003 show) that has lead to her longevity. She has worn many hats (just ask Philip Treacy) over the years—from appearing in a Tina Turner music video to serving as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador—and up next is her fourth appearance for the sultry and super-studded Pirelli Calendar. The famous “agenda” marked a milestone in this model’s career—her 1999 shoot with the late Herb Ritts was the first time she appeared nude in front of the camera. And while it hasn’t been revealed that she’ll pose in the buff yet again for this year’s fiftieth-anniversary edition, if there’s anyone who has demonstrated that she’s completely comfortable in her own skin, it’s Alek.
See how this Sudanese supermodel defied convention (and the odds) in this month’s Beauty Icon.—Amber Kallor
Photos: Left and center: Shoot Digital for Style.com; right: Marcio Madeira