Supermodel Aweng Ade-Chuol has taken a stand against the homophobic abuse she received after getting married to a woman last year, by appearing on the cover of Elle UK magazine with her wife.
The South Sudanese supermodel and nail artist Alexus posed for the stunning cover as part of a shoot for the magazine’s January issue.
The couple is pictured kissing on the cover.
In the accompanying interview, Aweng spoke candidly about the homophobic abuse and the effect it had on her mental health.
Same-sex marriage has been constitutionally banned in South Sudan since 2011, and Aweng faced severe backlash from her community after her wedding in New York last December.
She said the reaction to her wedding made her attempt suicide.
She told the magazine: “We got married and the whole world, literally the whole of my community, were wishing that I passed, in a way… A few months later, I attempt [suicide].
“It was really absurd, because subconsciously I felt I was maybe drained by the fact we’d got married. It’s still a discussion now, like, ‘How dare she marry a woman?’ You can’t control what people say, and there were tabloids and newspapers back in Sudan… It was a whole thing.”
At the time she received the homophobic abuses, Aweng took to Instagram to reveal the mental impact it had on her, saying: “Completely torn. I cannot get up today. I will check in next week. This world continues to fail every version of my existence. Rest in strength. You screamed for help & the world watched.”
In a later post, Aweng revealed that she had attempted to take her own life two months previously.
She wrote: “I attempted suicide two months ago today. And I just want to say, that I’m in a much better place. And no one had to know that – but it’s good to get it out of my chest. I feel well enough to. Especially today. I am thankful for life.”