Model Adut Akech Wants This Beauty Trend to Stay in 2023

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Adut Akech is a Christmas baby—literally—and just celebrated her 24th birthday. The South Sudanese took to Instagram on her special day, thanking “the man above” and debuting cherry cola red hair while wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Akech is undoubtedly ending her year strong and was recently announced as Valentino’s newest brand ambassador. “It’s an absolute honor to be representing an iconic brand that I have so much love and respect for and has been a part of my journey for many years,” she tells ELLE.com. The model has walked in runway shows and done campaigns for the luxury house, including for Valentino’s Born in Roma fragrance, making this a natural progression for their partnership. As we get ready to head into 2024, Akech shares her go-to makeup looks for the holidays, a trend she can’t wait to leave in 2023, and her experience going natural.

It’s the holidays! What makeup looks are you wearing to the parties?

adut akech for valentino

Courtesy of Valentino Beauty

AA: This holiday season, I’m playing with a few different makeup looks and trends. Lots of glitter and sparkle and definitely bold dark or bright lips.

What do you hope your “face” adds to Valentino?

adut akech valentino beauty

Courtesy of Valentino Beauty

AA: I know my face will add to the values that the Valentino brand stands for, such as diversity and inclusivity.

Historically, Black models have been on set and backstage only to discover glam teams are not experienced with natural hair or darker skin tones. Have you experienced this? If so, can you tell me more and have you noticed any improvements?

adut akech for valentino beauty

Courtesy of Valentino Beauty

AA: I can tell you that every single Black model has experienced one of these, if not both, issues of some glam teams not having the right products and knowledge for our hair and not having the right makeup for skin tones. Although I can say there has been improvement as I am starting to see more Black hairstylists and more Black makeup artists. But there are definitely still improvements to be made and having a more diverse range of artists in these glam teams. I believe more Caucasian artists need to take some time to educate themselves more about a Black girl’s hair and complexion.

Who, if anyone, in the industry do you consider a role model and why?

AA: Naomi Campbell is one of my role models in the industry. She has inspired me a lot with not only with modeling but also her work ethics.

You recently did a semi big chop. What’s been the most rewarding part of your natural hair journey? The hardest?

AA: The most rewarding part about my natural hair growth journey is seeing it healthy and flourishing. The versatility it now has for me to do me with it. The hardest is finding and working with people who rightfully know how to treat and care for my hair type.

What’s one trend that you can’t wait for it to go away?

adut akech for valentino beauty

Courtesy of Valentino Beauty

AA: I love blush but I never got into the whole trend of putting blush under your eyes and across your nose and looking sunburned.

What’s one product you can’t leave the house without?

Valentino Donna Born In Roma Eau de Parfum

Donna Born In Roma Eau de Parfum

Valentino Donna Born In Roma Eau de Parfum

AA: My Valentino Born in Roma pink perfume mini for my purse and a big bottle for my car.

Headshot of Danielle James

Danielle James is the Digital Beauty Director of ELLE.com. Previously, she was the Fashion and Beauty Director of HelloBeautiful.com and MadameNoire.com. She’s written for The Cut, InStyle, Allure, The Business of Fashion, Nylon, Essence, Good Housekeeping, and more. She enjoys sailing, thrifting, Japanese whiskey, Naomi Campbell’s runway walk, and Rihanna in the comment section.

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