On her recent visit to East Africa, Good Vibes Magazine sat down with South Sudan’s phenomenal star Duckie Thot. In this exclusive interview we discuss her journey, career, family and all things Duckie.
Q. In the last few years we have seen you gracing international runaways, been on the cover of the world’s biggest magazines, running advertising campaigns for some of the largest brands and literally just taking over the world. How has that evolution been for you?
A. It’s been a journey to say the least. I find myself constantly evolving as my career grows and expands. I didn’t stumble into my field; I was intentional with my career choice but I found myself going through a series of trial and error. I didn’t know much about the modelling industry when I first started, I also found that the information online was very different to what I faced in reality. What I will say, when you believe you’re meant to be on a specific path, you’ll find a way to make it work. I’m grateful for the time I’ve had working so far and I’m excited for what lies ahead. I recently just got my visa back for America and I’m looking forward to going back to work and making more of a mark in this industry.
Q. The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the norm globally affecting nearly every household around the world. What impact has this pandemic had on your career?
It was extremely difficult as my line of work is in a space where we come together to create the image or campaign. For that to then suddenly be taken away, it limited our creativity process. From runways to photo shoots, fashion creatives had to adapt quickly to the current times due to the pandemic. Many fashion shows turned virtual, designers sent pieces to models and it was showcased at home. Same rules applied for fashion magazines, collections were sent to our homes and we modeled them. We had help from photographers, creative directions and other creatives via zoom. Magazine editorials normally come out every month, we had to learn quickly how we were going to tackle the issue. Many photo shoots are now testing people once they arrive on set.
I think the fashion industry did a great job at adapting fast. We still have progress to make but I’m glad we found a way to make it work. This is a moment fashion won’t forget and there’s a visual representation of the effects the pandemic had in our field. We’ve now got the vaccine rolling out globally so I believe our industry will be back to normal soon.
Q. You can travel all around this world and they all know Duckie Thot. How do you stay grounded with all the fame?
My parents, especially my father, worked tremendously hard to get my family out of a difficult situation. I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity of a good education. Being born and raised in Australia serves as a constant reminder that my reality could’ve been very different if my family stayed in South Sudan. War is part of my story and I can’t deny the impact it’s had on my family directly. How can that not humble a person? My family and my country have seen a great deal of pain from it. My tribe serves as a daily reminder that we are warriors, but originally, we lead a simple life, we are cattle keepers. We eat, trade, use livestock to pay dowries, even settle disputes with cows and bulls. We, as tribal people that belong to a community, remind me daily that we are simple people. My tribe keeps me humble and will always.
Q. What is one of the biggest misconceptions people have about you?
I’ve often been told there is a mysterious element to me which can be both positive and negative. When I first began modeling, I was quickly labeled a ‘doll’, ‘real life Barbie” and so forth which also came with the weight of the idea of ‘perfection’ which to me is untrue and false. Many may take it as a compliment which I believe it was always intended to be but I personally felt heavily burdened by it. Unfortunately, it made me shy away from publicly being myself but through space and time, I’ve learned this is part of my journey. I can’t stop being who I am due to others’ ideas of who I should be, that won’t make me happy. This past year for me has been a road to self-discovery and a lot of change as I’m sure it’s been for many people. I’m starting to embrace the misconceptions and show me ‘This is me, this is the real Duckie Thot’ and you don’t have to approve of me for me to live my truth – I will do it regardless.
Q. You have been a flag bearer for women with darker complexions and girls not only within the fashion industry but for girls and young women globally. What message would you give to the 12, 16 and 22 year old South Sudanese girl and the hundreds of millions of black girls still struggling with finding beauty in the color of their skin and unique features?
A bible verse comes to mind, Psalm 139:14 ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well’. God made us all in his image. I find it ironic that he says fearfully before wonderful; there is so much power to the way that’s worded. I, like many other black women, wasn’t always comfortable in my own skin. It took many years, through practicing positive affirmation, meditation and prayer to get me to where I am today. We are all in God’s image and I know he is the creator of all, that will always outweigh my insecurities.
Q. What advice do you have for young African women who want to follow in your footsteps and achieve top tier levels of success in the fashion industry or life in general?
I believe we all have a purpose, a calling in life and it’s our duty to figure out what path we’re meant to take. In order to obtain success, we must first acknowledge the essential deep dive we must take within us, to recognize the power we all encompass. When you find out what you love, you’ll have a driving force inside you; that’s where the true possibilities lie. Being a creative in the fashion industry can sometimes pull you in different directions. I thought my passion was photography at one point but it led to being in front of the lens. I like to think that you can see the beauty in other creative spaces when you are a part of it. Whether you’re a hairstylist, makeup artist, stylist, photographer, involved in lighting and editing, you can see the beauty in someone’s work. It’s important you bounce off each other, to me, that’s when the special images are made.
Q. You have been in and out of Africa the past few years. Why is being partly based in Africa of importance to you?
Although I wasn’t born in Africa, I always felt like Africa was born inside of me. Growing up, I knew at one point in my life I would visit and continue visiting. Growing up in Australia, I always longed to visit home Sudan / South Sudan, and of course Africa as a continent. I knew that a part of me would always feel like it was missing until I visited, and that was true. I was fortunate enough to believe that seeing anything is possible, when you’re given the opportunity to have an education, the possibilities and your thoughts are limitless. Expand someone’s train of thought and they can do anything and I want to help other Africans with this very thing. To be given the resources to research and be curious is a powerful tool………………continue to read the full article in the digital download of Good Vibes Magazine Issue 3
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