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Kola
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Post Number: 2180
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 04:01 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ALEK WEK: An Interview

Alek

By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL, AP Fashion WriterTue Oct 25, 2:01 PM ET

The runway is the fastest route for Alek Wek to get where she's going. The stunning supermodel known for her short hair, dark skin and bright smile has strode the catwalks of some of the world's top fashion houses.

She calls Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dries Van Noten friends, and solicited advice from such designers during the early stages of launching her handbag company, Wek1933, named after the year her father was born.

Wek also has a great wardrobe.

"Maybe I do have a few more dresses, but I'm just like everyone else. I have a favorite raggedy dress, and I have a Dior, a Gucci, a Dries Van Noten, but that's after more than five years of being in their shows!" she told The Associated Press over tea at Manhattan's Splashlight Studios.

Alek

On this day, she's wearing an orange top, light-wash jeans and an animal-print scarf around her head.

Walking in stilettos for so many years she was discovered at a London art school after emigrating to Britain at age 14 hasn't affected her balance: She successfully juggles the demands of her career, family she has eight siblings and charity.

"Pressure only makes you sick. You won't get anything positive out of it," she said.

Wek was born in southern Sudan in 1977 and raised as part of the Dinka tribe. She fled with two of her sisters during the country's civil war, and was reunited with her mother and other siblings two years later.

Alek

She now carries a British passport, but Wek's not sure if she'd call London, where her mother lives, or Brooklyn, where she has a town house, her home. (Her unusual accent falls somewhere between Britain and Brooklyn.)

Her heart, though, belongs to Africa. Wek is a partner of Doctors Without Borders in its Bracelet of Life campaign that highlights malnutrition in Sudan and is an advisory board member for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.

AP: What was your first fashion show?

Wek: It was in London for Red or Dead. I wore hot pants and cowboy boots and I thought, `What have I gotten myself into?'

AP: Are you worried about getting older in an industry that values youth?

Wek: I feel 18. I'm trying to grow older with wisdom.

AP: Do you have a glamorous life?

Wek: Fashion shows are glamorous for 20 minutes. ... I am always aware how beautiful and special the clothes are. Someone's mom or sister made them and it might have taken six months.

AP: Do you often find yourself in a room filled with egomaniacs?

Wek: Not everyone is selfish in fashion. There are people who go to bed feeling good about themselves and then spread the love.

AP: Do the more seasoned models offer advice to the younger ones or is it more of a turf battle?

Wek: We probably give advice to each other without knowing it. A lot of people especially want to know about going into business. But it's a two-way conversation. It brings us together. It's more camaraderie than catty, but, sure, there always is someone who doesn't help anyone. No workplace is perfect.

AP: Do you feel pressured as a model to be rail thin?

Wek: Today I had potato and fish soup. I eat, but not junk. ... I love hot milk, water. Growing up, lunch was the big meal. We'd eat boiled eggs, and we had cookies as a treat. ... I always eat breakfast, and I like tea, grilled chicken with onion, tomato and whole-wheat bread. There are models who don't eat. That's worrisome you need the right amount of gas to get going.

AP: What drives your interest in charity work?

Wek: Ten dollars could feed a Sudanese family for a month, but aid is still not reaching everyone. I feel like I should be the voice. If we don't take care of each other, who will? ... I don't want to ever say, `I should've done something.'

AP: Do you have a celebrity boyfriend?

Wek: (Laughing) My boyfriend isn't a rock star. His values are rock solid. We met at a dinner and he made me laugh.



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Afroamerican
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 04:18 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As hard as I try to think she's beautiful I can not! I absolutely HATE what she does with her hair! Why not try the close cutt (ie Halle Berry or Toni Braxton) instead of the bald/guy cut?!
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Renata
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 04:23 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

She reminds of of the typical Sudanese people that I usually meet: sweet, friendly, humble, wise, and still somewhat naive and innocent. I'm sure that not all Sudanese people match this generalization, but I've never met them.
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Renata
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 04:26 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, it takes a special beauty to get away with such closely cut hair. Imagine Nicole Kidman trying to do it. (wouldn't work)

I tried to wear my hair like that before, and it didn't look good on me. I'm too short and have a short neck.

It's the rage here in Atlanta, especially during the summer. But only the tall, thin women with long necks look good with it.
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Afroamerican
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 04:59 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I must add, I've never had the pleasure of meeting a Sudanese person in person!
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Kola
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 05:16 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Our Poster "AfricanQueen" (Nyibol) is Sudanese and is from Alek Wek's tribe.

They look similar, but I think African Queen is prettier.

I am Sudanese-born, but I am a "Northerner" (Black Arab) born to Egyptian and Oromo parents.

I love the Dinka people. They are not only the tallest people on earth--but they are the sweetest, most gentle, kind and INNOCENT people you will ever meet.

The Nuer and Shilluk as well are sweet people--and I am very attracted to Nuer men.

The Shilluks remind me of Black Americans in a lot of ways.

The Azende tribe is another friendly group.

The Nubians (who live in the North) are the "fucked up" tribe in Sudan. They're just very weak, lost people--because they live close to the Arabs, they've been over powered and corrupted---and I especially detest the new "mixed" light ones. They hate Africa.

The South Sudanese, because they're still "natural" and considered "backwards" are the best people on the earth. They have no "vanity"--very little greed--they work as a "tribe" to protect and feed each other. They don't rape the land, they don't disrespect the Blue Nile and they are loving, simple black people.....and VERY "naive" and innocent.

I don't know my mother's tribe--the Oromo.





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Tonya
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 07:16 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

***Well, it takes a special beauty to get away with such closely cut hair. Imagine Nicole Kidman trying to do it. (wouldn't work)***

I'm with you on ALLLL of that, Reneta -- All the way and 1000% - yes lord!

Tonya
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Tonya
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 08:15 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How old is she? Like Oprah, I think she looks like a baby -- very pretty, innocent, and sweet. She seems bright and articulate too. I absolutely love this quote:

"My boyfriend isn't a rock star. His values are rock solid. We met at a dinner and he made me laugh."

Love it!

I wonder, though, if she understands that because of her unique beauty (a kind few could replicate) and because of her intelligence and success, many women - undoubtedly - envy her; therefore, viciously spewing hatred ONLY to diguise bitterness and jealousy? I hope she realizes this because what I've discovered is that many young darkskinned women don't understand that other women can be, and oftentimes are, jealous of them. I sometimes pray that she doesn't take the hatred the wrong way, but at the same I know she won't because, like I said, she seems really smart.

What an inspiration!

Tonya

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Africanqueen
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 10:16 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Afroamerican,

What Wek does with her hair is exactly what makes her "real" not "fake". It is also what's making her modeling career so productive. I'm glad she doesn't have the Halle Berry's style because Halle Berry is a mixed black woman while she's fully African decent. I believe Africans should have African hair, and not imitate the white's straighted short/long hair.

Kola,

Thanks for the compliment, but I personally think she's prettier than me because she's got the body, I don't :-).

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Roxie
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 11:25 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would NEVER want to see Wek in any other hairstyle. If she STRAIGHTENED her hair like naomi campbell she'd look like a freak. Besides, it looks equally bad when really pale-skinned whites sport super-short styles and bald heads(visible blood vessels and sunburn, ewwwwww!)

Kola,
--The Nubians (who live in the North) are the "fucked up" tribe in Sudan.--

The Nubians are those people frequently shown on tv and the web. Right? Or is that another group?

Another question: why aren't the Dinka's plight captured in photos or video like those other blacks? I know what a Dinka looks like and yet, I never see one, neither on TV,nor on any photo on a web-page.
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 - 11:47 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Roxie, I don't understand your question about Nubians.

I've seen some of the new age "mixed" race Nubians depicted on the internet, but almost never the actual Nubian Tribe that I grew up with in North Sudan, who are mostly charcoal/ebony colored people with incredible bone structure.

They look like Grace Jones and Michael Jordan.

The singing group "Les Nubians" don't look Nubian at all, but their mother is Nubian and their father is WHITE.
________________

Francis Bok is a Dinka

Luol Deng

Alek Wek

You can "Google" their names and see plenty of photos of Dinka people.

Nuer and Shilluk look just like Dinka.

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Blkamericanking
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Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 04:19 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Alek Wek, seems to have a good heart. Personally, i don't think she's ugly but i honestly feel she should try to wear her hair in a different style. I have seen her on tv and in magazines for years and she has always worn her hair short. I would think as a model she would try something different, but not necessarily straighten or use chemicals on her hair. I think she is wayyyy too tall to have a short hair style.
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Roxie
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Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 09:10 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kola,

--"Roxie, I don't understand your question about Nubians."--

So those war-torn families shown on the news and time magazine and every "Sudan aid" website are NOT of the nubian people? Or ARE they? what about the photos you've posted for us from time to time?I just want to know if I am looking at Nubians when I look at those photos.

Also:
--"You can "Google" their names and see plenty of photos of Dinka people."--

Yeah, You can find anything on the web, but that's the ONLY way I have learned anything about those people. No book, no magazine articles. Only WEB PAGES.
Now lets remember, there is still a signifigant population out there WITHOUT internet
access. So for many,especially children,the webpage info is unnattainable and is therefore
useless.

And with so-called educational channels like the dicovery channel and National geographic channel there are BARELY any programs featuring Dinka people. The most frequent broadcasts appear on PBS, but NOBODY watches that channel! (grrr).
Beleive it or not, the grocery store I shop at has one location in a predominantly black area. And guess what I noticed? Of all thelocations,THAT is the only location that DOESN'T sell national geographic magazine. The managment says it doesn't sell weel in that location, but We know the real deal: they won't give the few potential self-empowering black shoppers the chance to come upon an educational magazine and break out of their circumstance.

Most black people have never seen Dinkas let alone know what one is. We really need to reach the ones who know the least and have the least access(and trust me, there's
a lot more than appears.)

Honesty, People need more info about the Dinka People
than that of it's members who've become celebrities and models in the west.




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Kola
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Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 03:39 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Isn't it shocking though how many Dinka HAVE become superstars in the West?

The Sudanese you see on Time magaz. and needing aid are not Nubians.

They are Southern Sudanese---mostly Dinka and Nuer.

Like I said, Grace Jones and Michael Jordan look EXACTLY like Nubians.

Nubians are extremely black with very "sculptured features", high cheekbones and they're not as tall as the South Sudanese.



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Kola
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Posted on Thursday, October 27, 2005 - 03:42 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ROXIE: Most black people have never seen Dinkas


KOLA: Well they've seen Alek Wek and major sports stars like Manute Bol and Luol Deng and activist Francis Bok and John Garang, so that's not true. They just don't know it.

What they haven't seen are NUER and SHILLUK people, who basically look exactly like Dinka, except the Shilluk are a little bit lighter.

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Africanqueen
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 12:04 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Blkamericanking,

Your black sister, Alek Wek may just not be capable of having the long hair you want on her. How about accepting what she has and stop visualizing Tyra Banks.. is her long straight, blonde hair even hers? Yikes.
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Africanqueen
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 12:11 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yup. Luol Deng is not only a NBA super star, but sexy male figure in this country. And he's only 21 years old! He makes me so damn proud, I love him :-).
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Blaklioness
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 12:20 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Whatever happened to Manute Bol? I remember reading an interview of his once. He indicated that he would not marry any woman who was not of his own people...THAT made me proud.

Alex Wek is beautiful the way she is...period.
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Tonya
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 09:50 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

***He indicated that he would not marry any woman who was not of his own people...THAT made me proud***

He married a women from his tribe, yes...

but you better believe, she was as Y-E-L-L-O-W as they come in "his tribe".

While watching his documentary, and listening to him boast about wanting nothing else but a women from his own tribe, I purposely did not get proud because I knew that in the end he'd fuck up. He didn't prove me wrong.

Tonya
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Kola
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:10 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

LOL

Tonya, you need to "elaborate", because there are no "yellow" Dinka women, period. Alek is about as light as they get.

Please elaborate.

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Blaklioness
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:21 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You sure about that Tonya??? Damn...spoke too soon. Athletes generally leave a bad taste in my mouth, so I didn't follow through long enough to see the woman of choice.
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 10:39 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Now wait a minute.

My understanding is that he MARRIED a Dinka woman.

There are no lightskinned Dinka women.

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Tonya
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 11:12 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The woman in that documentary was a lemon/light brown coplexion -- much lighter than him and people of his tribe. She was as Y-E-L-L-O-W as they come in his tribe. Now, I'm not completely clear if she was actually from his tribe, but in the documentary they showed him going to Africa and picking her up from a tribe.

Tonya
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Blaklioness
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 11:13 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ok Tonya...don't get a sista to dissin' and gossipin' TOO hard up in here without no evidence! So, what's the what?
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Kola_boof
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 11:31 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

OK.

Obviously she is mixed race and not really a Dinka.

But I'm not surprised, as those African men are becoming just as colorist as the rest of the world.

Maybe he said from his "country" and not his "tribe"????

I know many Southern Sudanese rich men will marry the Arabs up North.

Are you guys sure he didn't say a "Sudanese/my country" and not "my tribe"???



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Tonya
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 11:38 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Blacklioness,

I searched the net for a picture, but I can't find one that includes his wife. The title of the documentary (I think) was "beyond the glory." It was featured on the FOX sports channel (FSN).

Tonya
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Tonya
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Posted on Friday, October 28, 2005 - 11:46 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

He could've said country, Kola. It's been awhile since I watched the documentary.
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Africanqueen
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Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 03:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tonya,

Take it easy on muh sweet south Sudanese giant would ya? LOL.. This man will never marry a high yellow woman because there is none where he comes from. He will marry a south Sudanese, and defitnitely not an Arab Sudanese. Tonya, I don't even know if he has a wife, but I'm sure she is a brilliant dark skinned black woman!
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Africanqueen
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Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 03:05 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yup. There is no "high yellows" period. There is "brown" if they were mixed with Arab, like Kola is brown. :-).
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Africanqueen
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Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 03:10 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"The woman in that documentary was a lemon/light brown coplexion --
much lighter than him and people of his tribe. She was as Y-E-L-L-O-W
as they come in his tribe. Now, I'm not completely clear if she was
actually from his tribe, but in the documentary they showed him going
to Africa and picking her up from a tribe.

Tonya"

My respond: Tonya, I'll do you a favor and I'm going to ask my parents for you, who Manut Bol married and which tribe she's from ok.
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Africanqueen
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Posted on Saturday, October 29, 2005 - 03:14 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My sister says: "She is a light skinned mixed woman. She is mixed with ARAB AND DINKA". There goes your answer sista:-). LOL. That is why she is "light skinned" LMAO.


And just like I said previously, she'd have to be "mixed" and she is, LOL.

Tonya, win. He didn't marry the woman I figured he would marry, a full blood dinka gal.
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Aaron Sailor
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Posted on Thursday, December 29, 2005 - 05:38 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think that Alek Wek is the strongest threat to the white supremacist standard of beauty that we have.

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