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Model Adut Aketch is Not Flavia Lazarus, No Matter What Magazines Tell You

Everyone confuses celebrities with other celebrities sometimes. For example, most of the internet confused a young Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson with Zack Galifianakis. I often confuse Dax Shepherd with Billy Drago, the guy who played John Bly in The Adventures of Bristol County, Jr. And the casting director of The Godfather Part III confused Sofia Coppola with someone who could act.

But there’s an ugly history of people making racist comments about how black people “all look alike.” So it’s not great when a large national magazine, like Australia’s Who magazine, prints a picture of the wrong black woman to accompany a feature about her. This actually happened when a feature about model Adut Aketch featured a picture of Flavia Lazarus.

The two do share a few superficial similarities, such as short hair and being Australian. And of course, they’re both black. But they also have very different facial features.

Also, they have different hair colors, which is… a pretty major difference. I’m not saying someone saw black skin and went “eh, close enough” but, I mean…

Aketch made an Instagram post addressing the issue, saying she felt that not only she but her whole race was disrespected, which is fair.

View this post on Instagram

I’ve have given some deep thoughts the past few days on how to approach this situation that isn’t sitting well with me.  For those who are not aware, last week @whomagazine (Australia) published a feature article about me. In the interview I spoke about how people view refugees and peoples attitude to colour in general. With the article they published a large photo saying it was me. But it was of another black girl. This has upset me, has made me angry, it has made me feel very disrespected and to me is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstances. Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too and it is why I feel it is important that I address this issue. Whoever did this clearly the thought that was me in that picture and that’s not okay. This  is a big deal because of what I spoke about in my interview. By this happening I feel like it defeated the purpose of what I stand for and spoke about. It goes to show that people are very ignorant and narrowminded that they think every black girl or African people looks the same. I feel as though this would’ve not happened to a white model. My aim for this post is not to bash Who Magazine -they have apologised to me directly – but I feel like I need to express publicly how I feel. This has deeply affected me and we need to start an important conversation that needs to happen. I’m sure that I’m not the first person that’s experienced this and it needs to stop. I’ve been called by the name of another models who happens to be of the same Ethnicity, I find it very ignorant, rude and disrespectful towards both of us simply because we know that this doesn’t happen with white models. I want this to be somewhat of a wake up call to people within the industry it’s not OK and you need to do better. Big publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them especially when its real stories and interviews and not just some made up rumors. To those who work at shows and shoots it’s important that you don’t mix up models names. Australia you’ve a lot of work to do and you’ve got to do better and that goes to the rest of the industry

A post shared by Adut Akech Bior (@adutakech) on

Melbourne Fashion Week’s Instagram posted an apology for the incident as well.

View this post on Instagram

An important message from the M/FW team.

A post shared by Melbourne Fashion Week (@melbfashionweek) on

While this probably seems like a harmless clerical error, it doesn’t feel harmless to the people who have had to deal with racist stereotypes for generations.

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How ironic that you put an incorrect last name…..

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