Anok Yai's story is one that reads like a modern-day fairytale. A global fashion model of South Sudanese heritage, Yai’s journey in fashion and media started as the face of Prada advertising, just one week into her pursuit of a modeling career. A few months later, she secured the coveted opening slot of the brand’s fashion show, becoming the first South Sudanese woman and, the second black model after Naomi Campbell to open a Prada show. Yai, in that moment, began to lead a life as an instigator of conversations about the expansiveness of beauty, the great possibility in talent and the necessity of inspirational personalities in the spaces of media and entertainment.
Born in Egypt and raised in New Hampshire, Yai was a girl with big dreams and a passion for science. She was determined to become a biochemist and make a difference in the world. But fate had other plans for Yai. It was at Howard University'shomecoming that her life took a dramatic turn. She was standing in the crowd, enjoying the festivities, when one photo that highlighted her natural beauty was taken and went viral on social media within minutes of its presentation to the world.
Since then, Yai has gone on to become one of the most sought-after models in the industry. Yai ranks as one of the top 50 models in the world. With her luminous skin, piercing eyes, and effortless presence, she has graced the catwalks of some of the world's most prestigious luxury houses including Chanel,Versace, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Fendi amongst many others. She has been featured on over 14 covers of Vogue internationally and the covers and inside pages of other prestigious publications, globally, such as W Magazine, NYTimes’s T Magazine, Dazed, Harper's Bazaar, i-D Magazineand Elle. Her endorsements of luxury brands in advertising has been just as robust having been featured in numerous high-profile campaigns for Saint Laurent, Versace, Fendi, Chanel, Givenchy, Max Mara, Burberry, Tom Ford and countless others. Yai’s appearances at The Met Gala, hosted by Anna Wintour, are always arresting, stylish, creative, and go viral every time (garnering billions of impressions) because of her ability to marry her creativity and inspirational persona to great design to create these brilliant moments in media.
In recognition of her groundbreaking achievements, Anok has received several awards and honors. In 2019, she was named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in the Art and Style category. She was also honored by Models.Com that same year with the Model of the Year award, cementing her status as one of the most influential models in the industry.
Yai is a woman on a mission. Beyond fashion, Yai is invested in her innovation in all spaces such as acting, art, and music; making eternal learning and evolution of the process foundational in her creative expression. She also strongly believes in the power of education and wants to use her platform to inspire young girls to pursue their dreams. Yai’s eternal mission is to continue to break down barriers and shatter stereotypes! She lives in the greatest possibility of her being and the World! Yai is not only beautiful but also has capabilities, core values and appreciation of culture that allow her the ability to engage most mediums of creativity on a grand and organic scale. Yai is a woman who has defied the odds and risen to the top of her profession through sheer hard work, determination, and talent. Her story is one that inspires us all to formulate our paths through passion and execution.