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July 26 2014

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2 posts tagged "Ajak Deng"

Models We Stand

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“For too long, the modeling industry has been like the Wild West,” said Coco Rocha at last night’s launch party for the Model Alliance, a new nonprofit group organized by models, for models. Top models including Doutzen Kroes, Crystal Renn, Missy Rayder, and Ajak Deng stopped by the Standard Hotel to toast the cause. The Alliance started as an idea established by model Sara Ziff (the filmmaker behind the revealing documentary Picture Me), explored in a paper she wrote while studying community organizing at Columbia University. Ziff, who at 29 has now been modeling half her life, understands firsthand how young girls are often mistreated in an industry without real labor regulations. For example, catwalkers often begin working in their mid-teens, and many never get the chance to finish high school. They can go through an entire day of walking back-to-back runway shows without actually making any money, getting paid in “trade” (a.k.a. designer clothes) instead. And, there are still a great deal of complaints about backstage photographers taking unauthorized pictures of the girls changing. Typically, the models don’t speak up about these inequities because they know they’re highly replaceable. “Most models’ clout is as tiny as our size zero frames,” Ziff told Style.com. So she teamed up with former model and current fashion writer Jenna Sauers to give these girls a voice, and developed the Alliance along with the support of the CFDA and the new Fashion Law Institute at Fordham Law School. “Having experienced the highs and lows of this industry, I am ultra-excited about this,” said Rocha. “But we’ve still got a long way to go.”

Photo: Wendell Teodoro / Getty Images

Aussies Do It Better

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“I’m an honorary Aussie,” Jason Wu told Style.com last night at the annual Australians in New York Fashion Foundation cocktail party. “I have worked with so many Australian models, have lots of friends from there, and Mardi Gras there is so insane.” Last night’s soirée in the penthouse of the High Line’s new HL23 building didn’t quite reach that level, but as one Australian grabbing a drink from the bartender sporting an “Aussies Do It Better” shirt reminded us, “Watch out—when you get a bunch of Australians together, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Burgers, musical serenades, and an auction are what happened. Both honorary and native Australians, including Italo Zucchelli (center, with Lorenzo Martone and Quin Aluni), Karlie Kloss, Ajak Deng, and Julie Anne Quay, enjoyed the surrounding views of the city before a short performance by the divas from Broadway’s Priscilla Queen of the Desert performed “I Say a Little Prayer.” Aspiring designer Laura Wade and fashion journalist Mitchell Oakley Smith had their prayers answered this past year, when the foundation announced them as grant winner (Wade) and runner-up (Smith). To raise money to support these young antipodean talents, the foundation auctioned off images by Australian photographers, such as Daniela Federici and Jason Kibbler.

“I like photos, but I don’t ever take them. It’s weird,” said Zucchelli, as he looked on at an image of Anna Nicole Smith by Federici. “It’s better to live in the moment, you know?”

Photo: A SCOTT / BFAnyc.com