You can say that Adut Akech has become one of the fastest rising models in the fashion business: Walking the runway for high-end brands like Fendi and Versace and making history as Chanel‘s second Bride. And only last week, fronting the Maison Valentino’s Born in Roma fragrance campaign.

In a new interview with Elle magazine, the Sudanese model talks about what beauty truly means to her, her self-care routine and how she maintains her flawless skin.

The British Vogue‘s Faces of Change 2019 September issue cover girl says that beauty to her is not pretending to be someone else.

Beauty to me, now, is about just expressing myself and being exactly who I am, doing what makes me feel the most beautiful, not caring about what anybody thinks.

She says that she maintains her glowing skin by minding her business and drinking lots of water.

Drinking water and minding my business. No, but seriously, my skin is sensitive, and being a model definitely does not help it. From the use of different makeup and all these chemicals and everything that goes into our faces every day, my only goal is to save my skin.

Adut tells the publication that her number one self-care routine is exercise.

I’ve learned to listen to my body and my mind and when that happens I take a break. I love exercising when I feel stressed out or when I’m exhausted. I know it’s crazy that I’m working out when I’m exhausted, but it makes me feel good mentally. I love doing a lot of cardio. I love running, I love writing. I will just tell my agents I need a break, take a week off. Then, once I feel like I’m good again, I’m back at it.

She says that she has always been aware of the lack of women of colour in beauty campaigns and that fronting Valentino’s fragrance is a message to the industry that black women are beautiful.

The biggest thing for me is that I get to be a representative of dark skin women and women of colour, and show them that we are beautiful. And that we could be faces of some of the fragrances for the biggest brands in the world. And I did it.

Click here for the full feature in Elle.

Photo credit: Elle