Humanitarian and international supermodel, the new face of Amarula

In its boldest marketing move yet, Amarula Cream, South Africa’s most prominent spirits brand, has engaged African supermodel, humantarian and designer, Alek Wek, as the face for its new advertising campaign scheduled for launch later this year.

The internationally distributed brand, ranked one of the fastest-growing spirits products worldwide, will be working with the international beauty to launch its TV, print and digital campaign this summer. She is currently in South Africa to shoot the campaign in the bushveld at an undisclosed location. 

This is the first time Amarula has engaged an international celebrity for the brand. 

Alek Wek was born in South Sudan in 1977 and raised as part of the Dinka tribe. At the age of 14 she was forced to flee her homeland to escape the civil war, arriving in London as a refugee. Her life took a new turn in 1995 when she was spotted by a model agent in a London park, becoming a runway success almost overnight.

In 1997, the international edition of Elle magazine made her its first African cover star, and she was named Model of the Year by MTV. Her natural elegance and grace quickly established her as one of the world’s top fashion icons. By 2000 she was booked by Revlon to star in its worldwide advertising campaign, shot by Herb Ritts. She continues to work with a number of the most prestigious brands, including Chanel Couture and YSL.

During her career she has been named Model of the Decade by i-D magazine, and one of People magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People. 

In 2007 she published her best selling memoirs, Alek, from Refugee to International
Supermodel and in 2009 she was chosen as one of a handful of designers to create a unique piece of jewellery for ethical diamond brand Forevermark, subsequently judging its esteemed African Shining Light jewellery design competition in 2010. 

She is as well-known for her charity work as her modelling, lending real support to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), where she serves on an advisory board to help highlight and alleviate the plight of refugees worldwide. This year she spent two weeks travelling throughout South Sudan with the UNHCR to galvanise international support for the hundreds of thousands of refugees still displaced. 

She speaks in New York schools to empower youth and helped launch the Bracelet for Life campaign with Médecins Sans Frontières. She also works actively to raise funds for those affected by AIDS, and with other children’s and Breast Cancer Research charities. 

She is an established designer in her own right with a luxury handbag range established in 2001, called WEK1933. The collection is sold worldwide through high-end retailers. She continues to develop her collection whilst collaborating with other influential brands on special projects. 

Global marketing spokesperson Siobhan Thompson said: “”We chose Alek Wek for her ability, like Amarula, to encapsulate what it means to be an African original. She is a natural, charismatic beauty with a unique and compelling presence. She embodies the grace and poise of Africa with an ability to succeed wherever she goes.”

Amarula Cream has been cited by Spirits Business as a Brand Champion, achieving double-digit growth in 2011 compared with 2010. The brand is a member of the prestigious Millionaire’s Club for selling in excess of a million 9-litre cases a year.


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