Australian model Ajak Deng announced this week on Instagram that she is quitting modeling.
Since being discovered in 2008, Deng has walked in runway shows for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier in addition to being featured in many global campaigns. She is a familiar face in fashion magazines and has been a distinctive presence in the industry.
In her Instagram post, Deng said she said she is putting her “best foot forward” and leaving fashion behind her.
“I am happy to announce that I am officially done with the fashion industry, I will be moving back to Australia in order to live the life I fully deserved. Which is real life,” Deng wrote. “I can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies. My life is too short for this dramatic life.”
“I am thankful and grateful for every sweet souls that I have crossed path with [sic],” she continued.
Deng, whose family fled Sudan in 2005, has been vocal about challenges within the fashion industry and confronting racial bias in her personal and professional life. In 2014, in an interview with Elle magazine, the model recalled some of her daily experiences.
“I go back to Melbourne and think I’m going home and someone will say ‘You don’t belong here’ and I’m like “Well I grew up here. What do you mean I don’t belong here?”
Later that year Deng tweeted that she was “kicked out of Balmain for being black.” She deleted her account shortly thereafter.
In a later Instagram post, Deng is seen striking a dramatic and powerful pose with the caption “I am a survive [sic].”