21-year-old Sudanese beauty Ataui Deng was born in Khartoum but moved to San Antonio, Texas, when she was 12. Supermodel genes run in the family, and the niece of Alek Wek is blessed with the same lithe Amazonian features as her famous aunt. At 16 she signed with Trump Models and moved to New York. Although the model now calls the Big Apple home, she continues to nurture deep African roots. "I left a lot of family behind that I would love to reconnect with soon and I am planning a trip to Africa when I have some time off. Luckily I have both my father and mother in America, which made adjusting in the States much easier." Deng has taken NYC life in her stride: through her passion for running, she continuously gains new perspectives on the city (and keeps those endless legs in tiptop shape). Out of her trainers and into stilettoes, Deng has covered miles on the world's most prestigious runways, walking for Proenzer Schouler, Hermes, and the Row, and has featured in campaigns for brands including Kenzo, Benetton and River Island. The model may have adopted a charming Texan drawl, but her fashion choices are reminiscent of her African heritage. "My style is very playful and versatile…I like being bold. Dressing colorfully comes naturally to me as an African." KISUA caught up with Deng between castings at New York Fashion Week to talk fashion, food and favorites.
Sound or Silence
Silence—because you never know what you might encounter. Somebody might need your help, or you could meet someone special. You block this out when you listen to music. I prefer to be aware.
Denim or dresses
Depends on my mood. Today it's denim.
House pet or wild animal
Definitely the wild animal. I would be a bird of paradise in Africa, or an eagle if in America.
Chocolate or Chow Mein
I need both in my life! First the Chow Mein, then the chocolate please!
In the spotlight or at home
In between, you need a good balance in this profession. But who am I kidding? I do love the spotlight every now and then!
Images: Kristin-Lee Moolman