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African supermodel becomes face for Amarula

African supermodel Alek Wek is to be the new face for South Africa spirit Amarula Cream.

The model will appear in the liqueur brand’s TV, print and digital advertising campaign which will be unveiled later this year.

This is the first time Amarula has engaged an international celebrity for the brand and Wek is currently in South Africa to shoot the campaign in the bushveld at an undisclosed location.

Alek Wek was born in South Sudan in 1977 and raised as part of the Dinka tribe.

At the age of 14 she was forced to flee her homeland to escape the civil war, arriving in London as a refugee.

Her life took a new turn in 1995 when she was spotted by a model agent in a London park, becoming a runway success almost overnight.

In 1997, the international edition of Elle magazine made her its first African cover star, and she was named Model of the Year by MTV.

By 2000 she was booked by Revlon to star in its worldwide advertising campaign, shot by Herb Ritts, and she continues to work with a number of brands, including Chanel Couture and YSL.

During her career she has been named Model of the Decade by i-D magazine, and one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People.

In 2007 she published her best selling memoirs, Alek, from Refugee to International Supermodel and in 2009 she was chosen as one of a handful of designers to create a unique piece of jewellery for ethical diamond brand Forevermark.

She is as well-known for her charity work as her modelling, lending real support to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), where she serves on an advisory board to help highlight and alleviate the plight of refugees worldwide.

This year she spent two weeks travelling throughout South Sudan with the UNHCR to galvanise international support for the hundreds of thousands of refugees still displaced.

She speaks in New York schools to empower youth and helped launch the Bracelet for Life campaign with Médecins Sans Frontières.

She also works actively to raise funds for those affected by AIDS, and with other children’s and Breast Cancer Research charities.

She is an established designer in her own right with a luxury handbag range established in 2001, called WEK1933.

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