Alek Wek on Lupita Nyong’o’s NAACP Image Awards acceptance speech:
“I was amazed and very humbled by Lupita’s words, and I am so proud and happy that her talent was deservedly recognised with her Oscar award.
When I was growing up, my mother taught me and my sisters to celebrate each other - there was no room in our household for negativity. She taught us to embrace each other and this was empowering for us. She also taught us the value of celebrating our differences.
When I first started modeling I realised I was very different from many of my colleagues, but I welcomed the opportunities my career in fashion offered me, and the support from many inspiring individuals in the fashion industry. And because of this I have always strived to use the platform I have in fashion, to champion the ideals of what is beautiful.
For me it always goes back to what my mother taught me and my sisters. That all women are beautiful and we should embrace each other. True beauty is born through our actions and aspirations and in the kindness we offer to others. Beauty should not be culturally relevant, it should be universal.”