Anok Yai

Anok Yai (December 20, 1997) is an American fashion model of South Sudanese descent. She is the second black model to open a Prada show after Naomi Campbell, and the first South Sudanese model to do so.[4] Yai currently ranks as one of the “Top 50” models by[5]

Anok Yai
Born (1997-12-20) December 20, 1997 (age 22)
Modeling information
Height1.78 m (5 ft 10 in):[2]
Hair colorDark brown
Eye colorBrown
AgencyNext Model Management
(New York, Paris, Milan, London)[3]

Early lifeEdit

She was born in Cairo and her family moved to Manchester, New Hampshire when she was 2.[6] Her mother is a nurse and her father works for Easterseals; her sister Alim is her manager and a financial consultant.[7] She graduated from Manchester High School West and attends Plymouth State University studying biochemistry, intending to become a doctor.[8][9]


Yai was discovered in October 2017 during Howard University's homecoming week, by a professional photographer who asked to take her picture. He posted the photo on Instagram, accruing over 20,000 "likes", and modeling agencies, including IMG Models, asked to get in touch with her. She eventually chose to sign with Next Model Management, who had called her daily for several weeks.[10][11] Within 4 months, she became the first Sudanese model to open a Prada fashion show, which is deemed the highest feat in fashion modeling because of the careers Prada has launched.[12] She has also appeared in the Prada SS 2018 campaign and an upcoming Nike campaign designed by Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci.[13]

On her breakthrough moment, she told Vogue[14]

"It was an honor and I'm proud that I was the one chosen to open, but this is bigger than me. Me opening for one of the top fashion houses is a statement to the world - especially for black women - that their beauty is something that deserves to be celebrated."

In July 2018, Yai became an Estée Lauder spokesmodel.[15]


  1. ^ "12 Models To Watch At New York Fashion Week". British Vogue.
  2. ^ "Next / Anok Yai".
  3. ^ "Anok Yai - Model".
  4. ^ "At Prada, Supermodels, Virtual Models, and a History-Making Moment".
  5. ^ "Top 50 Models".
  6. ^ Jr, Cleve R. Wootson (31 October 2017). "A photographer unexpectedly snapped her picture at homecoming. Then, modeling agencies called" – via
  7. ^ "Plymouth State student a model of internet fame after Instagram post - New Hampshire". Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-07.
  8. ^ "Modeling agencies reach out to woman featured in viral photos".
  9. ^ "New Hampshire college student signs with modeling agency after viral Instagram photo". 11 November 2017.
  10. ^ "This 19-Year-Old College Student Signs Major Modeling Contract After Her Photo From Howard Homecoming Goes Viral".
  11. ^ "Secrets of the Supermodel Trade". Business of Fashion.
  12. ^ "This South Sudanese college student is now a top model at Prada, thanks to the internet".
  13. ^ "8 Models to Watch This Season". 9 February 2018 – via
  14. ^ Pike, Naomi. ""This Is Bigger Than Me" - Anok Yai On Being The First Black Model To Open Prada In 20 Years".
  15. ^ March, Bridget (August 8, 2018). "Anok Yai On Making Fashion and Beauty History". CR Fashion Book.