Hollywood star Ben Stiller and supermodel Adut Akech are putting the spotlight on an issue close to both their hearts: refugees.
The pair has filmed a short video for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s new #EveryoneCounts campaign discussing Adut’s journey from war-torn South Sudan to Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya and eventually to Australia.
“There were those days that, you know, our family would be scared that there was a group of people coming to try and kill us,” Adut tells Ben.
“I remember those days when our families would just be packing and everybody was panicking,” she continues.
Adut who is now one of the most recognised names in the modelling industry, has walked countless runways and graced Vogue covers around the world, was only 8 when she left the refugee camp and made it to Adelaide with her mum and siblings.
“I remember when we first landed actually, we were in the car, we were driving home and to my mum, I was like, ‘now that we’re here I’m going to promise you I’m going to go to school. I’m going to finish school, I’m going to make something out of myself. I’m going to buy you a house and I’m going to buy you a car and I’m going to make you proud.'”
Adut explains that it was her mum who fought hard to move her family to Australia and she is extremely thankful: “I don’t know if I would still be alive today.”
Meanwhile, Ben Stiller who became a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2018 has been meeting with refugees around the world and sharing their stories on social media.
During his chat with Adut, he reminds us that everyone deserves a chance at a new life: “There are so many people who’ve had your experience in the world, I mean millions and millions of people, and not all of them become supermodels,” he tells Adut.
“But I think it’s important for people to understand that like a ‘refugee’ is not, like what does that mean? It’s just a person who has been put in a certain situation.”
View this post on Instagram
It’s an honor to visit Congress this week with @Refugees to share the incredible stories – and the humanitarian needs – of Syrian refugees 8 years since the start of the crisis. Join me live. https://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/the-humanitarian-impact-of-eight-years-of-war-in-syria #WithRefugees
“You don’t have to be a supermodel or an actor to help refugees. Everyone has a role to play,” Ben writes in an Insta post.
The pair also share a laugh about how nerve-wracking it can be to walk a runway – because of course, Zoolander counts!
Ben recalls making a surprise appearance as his movie character during a Valentino show: “I’ve never been so nervous….and I was like, oh my god, I hope I don’t fall!”
You can learn more about Ben and Adut’s work with UNHCR here.