"I like to give them some of my personality,”
says Ataui Deng referring to her Instagram followers. A strong look matched with that personality is how Miss Deng walked for Christian Dior, Proenza Schouler along with closing Lanvin in 2011 and was recently shot by Mario Testino for Vogue - nude. Since 2009, Deng has been coasting the Sudanese model wave alongside fellow Sudanese models Ajak Deng and Grace Bol. Having first moved to the United States in 2004, just one year before the end of the Sudanese civil war, the twenty-two year old has found her calling.
We met with Miss Deng at a New York coffee shop in the Meatpacking District and got chatting about exercising and beauty advice. In addition to having a long-standing rumor cleared up, we found the vibrant personality she was referring to is not just a hash tag she does on Instagram.
ALEK WEK IS NOT MY AUNT!
That has been said everywhere, even NY Magazine has an article talking about it. Sometimes they even confuse us. I was watching the news and TMZ had a picture of me saying, “Is that Alek Wek?” They need to wake up. It’s 2014, can’t they tell the difference?
I WAS SEVENTEEN
and living in San Antonio, TX when my friend called and told me there was a model expo in Dallas. My mom and I packed up the car, drove out and then Trump asked me to move my life to New York in just two weeks. I was like “Yes! Please get me out of here!”
WALKING THE RUNWAY
was something I saw myself doing at a young age. Photoshoots, too. As soon as I walk on set, it’s on. I become this whole new person that I discover and learn a lot from because I am actually quite shy.
THE BEST ADVICE MY MOM GIVES ME...
“Don’t get fat, Ataui!” (laughs) I’m just joking. Since I started at such a young age my mom had to develop her trust for my agency and me. Now she doesn’t worry, as long as I call and check in once a week.
I FOLLOW ASTROLOGY
I am a Scorpio, which I am still trying to figure out if that is a good or bad thing. It is really more the power of the universe that I believe in. I definitely don’t trust half of the things I read about myself as a Scorpio!
MY EXERCISE ROUTINE
consists of a lot of running. In the winter I stay in and do yoga, doing different poses and positions around the house. It is really hard to stay fit, so it's very important to keep at it.
DIET IS EVERYTHING
When I was younger I could eat anything and look the same. Now, I do steamed vegetables, soups – a lot of liquids. I love chicken with a nice salad on the side. It sounds simple, but there is nothing more.
I adore Kiehl’s products: the face wash is magic. The one thing that has been difficult for me to find is a good moisturizer, because I have dry skin. Nothing works! I discovered that blending Vaseline with water and then applying your moisturizer works great, but sometimes I still turn out ashy. It’s crazy!
WOMEN SHOULD FOCUS
on their inner body in order to become more beautiful. If you take care of your inner body, it will show. Sleeping, eating well and exercising go a long way and you will not only look beautiful, but feel it too.
Photography by Kristiina Wilson; styling by Robert Mishchenko; make-up by Michelle Coursey; hair by Domingo Quintero / Jed Root; model: Ataui Deng / Trump; stylist's assistant: Annie Meng.
Opening Image: leather Jacket by Andrew Marc X Richard Chai; black shirt by Osklen; skirt by Harbison; earrings and rings by H&M.