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Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel Hardcover – August 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amistad (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061243310
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061243318
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,634,974 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Readers will be disarmed by the....intimate voice in which [Wek] narrates her stratospheric rise…[an] autobiography with substance.” (Kirkus Reviews)

About the Author

Discovered on the streets of London, Alek Wek, a former refugee, is now an international supermodel who has graced dozens of top runways and the pages of the most glamorous fashion magazines. An entrepreneur as well as a model, she has her own handbag line, Wek 1933. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.


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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
I would recommend this book unconditionally.
G. Rolph
Throughout the book I literally laughed at times, and was on the verge of tears at others.
Rhett James
I enjoyed its first person autobiographical format.
G.M. Vans

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Nigel D. Alston on August 31, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I saw Alek on the Today show recently. I purchased the book and finished it in a couple of days. What a life she has lived, growing up in Sudan, as a refugee, and now supermodel. The values her parents taught the family shine through the book as does the belief in family, and tradition. The down side is the incredible killings and war torn country.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Rhett James on January 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I'm not a fan of reading. I really only picked up Alek Wek's book because she came to a book singing at my school, Howard University. She impressed me as a down to earth, humble, kindly demeanored woman. She personally autographed it and took a picture with me. I sat the book down for several months, but, when I did pick it up over the Christmas break it gripped me. It is both entertaining and informing. She speaks about her life as child growing up in war torn Sudan, and the atrocities which occurred there, her move to New York and London, her subsequent conquering the fashion industry, and her eventual return to her birthplace. Throughout the book I literally laughed at times, and was on the verge of tears at others. It not a difficult read. It's simply a really good read. Pick it up!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ms_tmorris on January 29, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book for my mom and she loves it! She is from Panama and has a dark skin complexion. She saw a lot of herself in Alek esepcially in her stories about familiy life. It's amazing how things stay the same even though years have passed, technology improved and continents separate you.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ashante on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Alek Wek shared a story with me, through this book, that helped me to appreciate the mind of child growing up in poverty, in a family, in a culture, in a world of others who are not alike. Alek's story helped me to make connections to the old ways of my mother's mother and my mother and the very old ways that perhaps originated back in Africa; ways that were somewhat preserved from modern "civilized" ways. Alek's story helped me to appreciate the story I am leaving and hope to leave with my own children. Alek's words encourage me to be careful with my own (to say that Alek is "well-spoken" would be an understatement. As an aspiring author, myself, I would say about Alek's writing: it would seem she truly appreciates the gift of language and the power of thought behind it). Alek's book is appropriately titled in my opinion, she is not the girl of an impoverished African village or primitive tribe, she is not the rags to riches to story. She is Alek, a unique life force that has been affected and infected by the life around her.
This was a special treat for me for many reasons but mainly because it reinforced my hope that our kids are listening; not only to our words but to their environment. It was again a special treat for me...to be infected with the spirit of Africa, to feel the power of her words and her love for herself...who she truly is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G.M. Vans on March 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I purchased the autobiography of model, Alek Wek, because I was interested in how does a black woman become an international supermodel. Certainly, the odds for her success were against her. On this planet, the anglo standard of beauty is the accepted norm. I wondered why and how did the doorway open for her. Who provided "The Key" ?

After reading the book, I realized that a combination of elements were involved. These included: a strong work ethic, a competent business agent, compliance, obedience, and a very pleasant personality. Along with a vast network of peers that like you and a stick thin figure that displays clothing designs in a flattering manner, those are the ingredients for success in photographic runway modeling.

Her story, itself, was intriguing. Its intrinsic value showcases what made Alek Wek the woman that she is. Her book didn't adumbrate her life story at all. It traced her life from a childhood, with the Nilotic people, in Southern Sudan to her present day residence in New York.(2007) In my opinion, her literary writings made me feel as though I were traveling with their family until they separated and she was transported to London, England. The book was very graphic and informative about life in Southern Africa. And, it wasn't too verbose or abstruce. I enjoyed its first person autobiographical format. Additiionally, she addressed her dark complexion issues. For example, on page 157, she states that her skin color has helped and hurt her career. And, on page 159, she states that people in the industry never believed that she could any work unless it involved black features. Although distressing, she overcame these annoying issues and proceeded to create a niche for herself, as a model, with the help of people who believed in her and wanted to give her a chance. Certainly, I don't wonder about Ms. Wek anymore. Because, she is not an enigma to me.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By virakam on July 9, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after reading an excerpt, I believe it was in Vogue (or possibly Elle?) Anyways it's a really captivating but not long read. Might be good for a plane trip, etc. Despite her trying experiences of being a refugee and having psoriasis, she has a really refreshing, upbeat outlook and attitude.
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