Alek Wek and CEO of H&M Karl-Johan Persson, Getty Images.
From South Sudan to the catwalks of the world, Alek Wek now uses her star power to help H&M’s Conscious Foundation change lives. We talked to the supermodel about her important work.
When Alek Wek was asked to take up the post of ambassador for H&M’s Conscious Foundation, the fit felt right to her. The model, who hails from South Sudan, knows about the struggles of people in the developing world. “This role has come about very organically for me,” she explains. “When I was young, my family spent two weeks in the bush during the Sudanese Civil War. As a young person you don’t always grasp it, but simple things like clean water and education are so important.”
Now, Wek is using her status as one of the world’s favourite supermodels to support the work H&M Conscious Foundation does in communities around the world, focusing on changing lives with real impact in the areas of water, education and strengthening women. “What I really love about the foundation is that they’re working with communities, because that’s how you tackle real challenges on the ground.”
For Wek, charity begins at home in New York, where she has spoken to students about her role and her experiences in these areas. “Speaking to young people is always a highlight for me,” she says. “You tell them they can have possibilities in their lives, and you see light bulbs go on over their heads. You can pass your own curiosity about the world onto them, which is a really special thing.”
The H&M Conscious Foundation is an independent non-profit global foundation initiated by H&M. For further information, visit www.hm.com/consciousfoundation.