South Sudanese model Ataui Deng moved to the United States in 2004. Four years later her modeling career started when she signed a contract with Trump Models. Since then Ataui has walked the runway for Zac Posen, Lacoste, Christian Dior and John Galliano. She also appeared in magazines such as Teen Vogue, V Magazine and appeared on the cover of French Revue de Mode and shot campaigns for Kenzo and Benetton, among others. Emily Sandberg and I recently caught up with Ataui.

Tell us how you were discovered.

I went to a modeling expo with my family in Dallas. It was there I met Duane from Trump and he signed me.

What challenges have you faced, if any, as a model of color?

I haven’t faced any challenges so far. As a model of color designers have a tendency to put me in bright colors which I don’t mind.

What have you discovered about yourself through modeling?

That I was born to do this.

What are your goals for the future?

I’d like to keep moving forward and one day try designing shoes.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?​

I think they’d be surprised to learn that I’m a free spirit.

What was the last book you read?

The Wisdom of Compassion by the Dalai Lama.

What do you love most about New York City?

I love the diversity and the culture.

What are you most grateful for?

I’m grateful for the amazing people in my life.

Ataui Deng is represented by Trump