You’ve seen her alongside Naomi Campbell in Foxtel’s The Face. You’re about to see her along side Geoffrey Rush in soon-to-be-released movie The Gods of Egypt. And you’re probably seeing her everywhere right now anyway, alongside Delta Goodrem in Westfield’s Own Your Story Campaign. She’s modelling’s IT girl right now and she’s our GO Girl. Yaya Deng graced our Aussie street style gallery way back in August last year. Photographer Alice Sciberras snapped Yaya in Sydney on a day off for the model. Alice loved her personal style, and so did we. This is how you saw Yaya back then:
Off duty, off work and wearing all her own choices, Yaya was a definite head-turner. Her edgy self-styled look combined black mesh top from Topman, black leather Lee (skins) Jeans, Novo ankle boots, with Michael Kors watch. At the time, Yaya described her style as ‘diluted modern Hip Hop’. These are the other shots you didn’t see back then. We think they define “comfortable in my own skin”.
Blogger Mama Stylista interviewed Yaya a couple of years back. African-Aussie Yaya made light of being bullied at school when she first arrived, aged 9, named Tyra and Naomi as her role models, and chatted about how a lot more opportunity exists in Australia than her birth-place, Kenya. It’s a great, open-honest Q and A, reflecting a lovely rapport between English-Aussie Deauvanné and Yaya.
Fast forward to 2016 and the Sydney Morning Herald’s not-very-nice story about how journo Amy Croffey was effectively prevented from interviewing Yaya because of an over-zealous sounding PR minder. Intended to be a story about Yaya and her refreshing and relatable story portrayed in Westfield’s “Own Your Story” campaign, it turned out to be a story about the lack of professionalism of the un-named minder. It makes excruciating reading. And raises lots of “what the…” questions. While that interview was totally derailed, the Own Your Story campaign is so positive and inspiring, you can only see Yaya as the role model she is.
What we especially love about Yaya’s story, is her advice:
‘If you dress like everybody else, you might as well stay in your school uniform all your life.’
None-of us want to be “average” and all of us (Revolutionaries) want to stand out from the crowd. So of course this quote jumps out at us as if it has bells and whistles on it. And while the professional role Yaya takes as a model will see her wearing the many edgy, classy and downright killer looks styled for her by Westfield, her personal style while she’s relaxed and off-duty shows she’s every bit an authentic style icon when she’s on her own time as well.
But that’s not all. What Westfield have captured, and what we love is that Yaya is also a role model for anyone who feels they’re a bit different. While her own personal style is naturally still evolving, the self-consciousness we all feel as we emerge from our insecure self into one that’s ready to take on the world is something that Yaya’s managed to put her finger on. Everyone can relate to that one simple line. Everyone gets it. We’re all encouraged by it. That’s why we know we’re gonna be seeing much, much more of Yaya -idiot minders or not. GO girl!