STRIKING at first glance, it’s impossible to ignore the magnetism of Ajok Madel.
Gracing the catwalk for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, Sydney, and appearing in campaigns for Camilla, the 20-year-old Rockingham model is known for her radiant smile, glowing skin and statuesque legs (her most talked about asset).
Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, where her mother fled after the death of her father in the South Sudanese conflicts, Madel moved to Australia aged nine.
As she grew up, friends and workmates – even strangers – urged her to try modelling.
Never believing she had what it took, she eventually sent photos to Vivien’s agency in 2016 and work promptly landed in her lap.
How has your family history and upbringing shaped you?
I have watched my mother experience the hardships in the refugee camp, which opened my eyes at a very young age.
I can’t confirm that my past has made me who I am today but I do think that my past is connected to my favourite non-physical features. Also being third-world born and first-world raised definitely makes me view things differently.
What does your career mean to you and what challenges have you faced along the way?
Modelling is definitely not a boring or average job as every day I do something new, like connecting to the photographer, clothes or runway.
I see modelling as a way of expressing myself with a story; that is what I love most. A challenge would be not always being around my family.
What has been your most rewarding job?
I feel like every job is rewarding – honestly! But being part of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia, Sydney (2018) was a good feeling.
What is your dream job?
Walking in a Versace show has always been a dream of mine, and doing a Dior commercial campaign. Working with Chanel would also be a great honour.
What advice do you give young women pursuing a career in modelling?
Search for local agencies and choose a reliable one that matches the kind of modelling you want to do. Modelling is a business – you always need to make a good first impression.
Don’t expect to walk for Fendi straight away: everything takes time, effort, commitment and patience.