How a Sudanese Refugee Became an Indomitable Model: Mari Malek (StyleLikeU)

Mari Malek has overcome adversity and carved multiple careers for herself including being a successful model, one of New York’s sought after DJ (going under the moniker DJ stiletto) and her role as an advocate for encouraging educational programs for South Sudanese women and children.


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Malek’s story is one of inspiration and courage – one full of setbacks, but she vows to not let that define her as a person.

In a video feature titled ‘What’s Underneath’, Malek strips down to her lingerie as talks about leaving South Sudan, life in Egypt, coming to the US, motherhood and relationships. View the video and the description below:

In our second What’s Underneath video in honor of Black History Month, we feature the activist-DJ-model Mari Malek. Mari was born in war-torn Sudan, has lived in the projects of New Jersey, and has faced extreme harassment due to the dark color of her skin. Though she has endured struggles that few of us will experience, Maria has never strayed from her true self: “Fuck everybody who thinks I should suppress my identity. Fuck fear. It’s time for the world to look at one another not as black race or a white race but as a human race.”

Thank you, Chantelle Lingerie, for sponsoring this episode and for providing Mari with a personal bra fitting and the lingerie shown in this video. For more info about Chantelle, please visit:

About ‘What’s Underneath’ asked a select group of individuals to participate in a project in which they will remove their clothes to honor how style is not the clothes you wear. To learn more, visit Read more at

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