PR Firm Sends Wrong Photos, Embarrasses Supermodel Adut Akech

It keeps happening in the fashion media industry, confusing women of color with counterparts who have similar names or ethnicity. This post is a reminder to journalists and practitioners about the unintended harm that they cause when they commit such errors.

In a mix-up reminiscent of Vogue’s colossal blunder, misidentifying Muslim-American journalist Noor Tagouri, 24, with Pakistani actress Noor Bukhari, 36. In the latest case of misidentification of women of color, WHO magazine confuses South-Sudanese model Adut Akech with images of Ugandan-Australian model Flavia Lazarus.

The public relations firm responsible for the error issued this apology:

OPR Agency last week sent a file of images to WHO magazine which resulted in an incorrect image being used in an article about Melbourne Fashion Week Ambassador, Adut Akech. The error was administrative and unintentional and we sincerely apologise for this mistake and any upset it has caused to the models involved, and our client the City of Melbourne.

Akech responded, “Not only do I personally feel insulted and disrespected, but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected.”

She sent this tweet about the mix-up, noting that her aim in the post was not to criticize WHO magazine but to assert that this mistake “doesn’t happen to white models” and that “publications need to make sure that they fact check things before publishing them.”

A similar mishap occurred in Vogue with journalist Noor Tagouri. She happened to see a copy on the newsstand and asked a friend to document her elation for being in a magazine that she had read since she was a girl.

Ms. Tagouri, a Libyan American journalist, is known for her documentary series on the mistreatment of the mentally disabled. She also has exposed sex trafficking.

For more information about her and her work, visit

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