Born in Southern Sudan in 1977, Alek Wek is a Sudanese-British model. In 1991 her family escaped to Britain due to the civil war in Sudan. She was scouted at an outdoor market in London and first appeared on the catwalks at the age of 18 in 1995.
Wek was named Model of the Year in 1997 by MTV and was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle, also in 1997. She has featured in advertisements for Issey Miyake, Moschino, Victoria's Secret and make-up company Clinique, as well as modelling in catwalk shows for John Galliano, Chanel, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Jasper Conran, Shiatzy Chen and Ermanno Scervino.
In 2002 Wek became a member of the U.S. Committee for Refugees' Advisory Council. She is also a missionary for World Vision, an organisation which combats AIDS, an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders in Sudan and devotes time to UNICEF.
In 2007, Wek released an autobiography, titled Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel, documenting her journey from a childhood of poverty in Sudan to the catwalks of Europe.