The 39-year-old model has admitted she thinks the business of fashion has taken a downward turn, and has reminded budding models breaking onto the fashion scene is a long process and you can’t just “walk straight onto the runway” but you have to take “baby steps”.
Speaking about the industry to the New York Post’s Page Six column, the catwalk icon said: “I think the fashion industry has gotten to a place where it is embarrassing. When I think of ‘Instagram models,’ I say you have to take baby steps. You cannot just walk straight onto the runway.
“Anything that those girls get for instant gratification, [they’ll] have to pay for it later.”
And Alek – who made her breakthrough at the age of 18 in 1995 and has fronted campaigns for luxury fashion houses including Moschino, Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier – has revealed the industry has rapidly changed, as she has admitted she “actually worked” when she emerged as a model and would be shot using Polaroid photographs.
She explained: “When I was working, there was no digital. We actually worked, we used Polaroids.”
And the South Sudan-born star – who was scouted at a fair in London’s Crystal Palace park – has revealed her mother, Akuol, thought she was being cast as a Page 3 girl at first and Alek had to reassure her parent she had misunderstood.
Speaking previously, she said: “I had to point out that I wasn’t really built for that.
“There was no concept of fashion and catwalk shows where I came from.
“There were no magazines. I never saw women in make-up, or with different hairstyles. Absolutely not.”
However, Alek has credited her mother for giving her an added boost of confidence.
She said: “Our confidence came from my mother.
“She told us it was about celebrating the beauty of being a woman – that’s what made you gorgeous.”