With Resilience, Top 50 Model Mamuor Majeng Overcame Adversity

Mamuor Majeng‘s modeling journey is one of perseverance, resilience, and a touch of fate. Hailing from South Sudan, Majeng was scouted in his village via social media while pursuing a potential music career. The model has had a traumatic and challenging past to overcome as a child soldier in the South Sudanese Civil War, stating that it taught him “the importance of peace. I saw many terrible things during the war and it made me appreciate the value of living in a peaceful world.” Majeng, initially hesitant to take up modeling as a career, with time, embraced the rare opportunity and has since made it to Models.com’s Top 50 Rankings this past March. He has recently worked with renowned brands such as Balmain and Vivienne Westwood, was featured on the cover of M Le magazine du Monde, shot by Luis Alberto Rodriguez, and has also been catching the attention of street-style photographers for his unique sense of style. While hopping from one far-flung destination to another, Majeng credits his unwavering faith with keeping him grounded amidst a busy schedule. Models.com caught up with the Balmain muse about his scouting story, how he overcame adversities and highlights from his modeling career thus far.

Balmain Spring/Summer 2023 Campaign by Ben Hassett | Image courtesy of Elite World Group

Could you take us back to your scouting story? How were you first scouted, and where were you when you were discovered?
I was in my village in South Sudan, and at the time, I had some experience using social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. I used to make music and dance videos then post them on my social media accounts. That’s when an agency contacted me, but I wasn’t interested at first because I thought it might be a scam. However, I eventually talked to the agency and learned more about the opportunity. They asked me to come to the city to get my passport, and I decided to go for it.

What was your parents’ reaction to your career choice as a model?
I didn’t tell my mother about the modeling opportunity until after I had received my passport and was preparing to travel. When I told her, she was upset because I was the eldest child and the man of the house, and she worried about me leaving. She thought I might forget my responsibilities and forget about my family. However, I promised her that I would do my best and help take care of the family financially, and I kept that promise.

I was informed that you were a child soldier. Can you tell us a bit more about your experience and how you managed to survive and cope with that?
It was a difficult experience, but it taught me a lot about the importance of peace. I saw many terrible things during the war, and it made me appreciate the value of living in a peaceful world. Now, whenever I face a problem, I remember the lessons I learned during the war and focus on finding a peaceful solution. I don’t give into depression or mental health issues as much because I believe that having peace of mind is the key to overcoming any challenge. Although the war was a bad experience, it also taught me some valuable lessons that I carry with me to this day.

That’s a really great perspective that you have now, looking back at it. So what are some tips or insights for other survivors of conflicts who may struggle or cope with similar experiences?
One tip I would give is not to chase your dreams too hard. You may want to experience everything, but you don’t necessarily need to. Don’t follow what the majority of people are doing, and don’t get addicted to social media. If you focus too much on chasing your dreams, you may end up killing your soul, and the dream may never come true. Interestingly, the people who achieve their dreams are often those who don’t obsess over them but instead focus on doing the opposite. It’s important to follow what you truly want to do rather than what others are doing. Don’t rush or chase after too many things.

What family values keep you grounded while you’re traveling around the world?
To stay grounded while traveling, I always stay connected to my culture, my spirituality, and my people. I keep in touch with my faith and talk to God regularly. These things keep me grounded and centered no matter where I am in the world.

You recently walked for Ann Demeulemeester‘s show, and you’ve walked for them four times. What was it like walking the F/W 23 show with Ludovic de Saint Sernin as the brand’s new creative director? And how was the feeling backstage?
Oh, it was a great show. Ann Demeulemeester always puts on a good show, as always, and this season, Ludovic created one of the best collections for Ann Demeulemeester. So it was really nice at the fitting, and even from the fitting, I could feel the vibes.

Ann Demeulemeester F/W 23 Show | Image courtesy of Elite World Group

Do you have any top highlights from that? Anything that stood out for you?
Yeah, I saw some of the high-heel boots last time, and I really liked them, so I tried them on. Even I thought, I don’t know whether I’ve inspired them or something because I was wearing some nose rings last time, and then I saw them use similar accessories backstage for the show.

So you just made it to models.com’s Top 50 rankings in March. What would you say motivates you to keep striving in your career?
What motivates me to keep going is enjoying every single step that I take. It’s about showing people, not telling them, that I really enjoyed it. If I’m backstage, I’m just there vibing, putting all my music on, dancing by myself, whatever, I just dance by myself. I just show people how I’m enjoying this thing. And then this is how I push myself to keep doing it over and over again.

Speaking of things that you enjoy, what other interests do you have aside from modeling?
Aside from modeling, back at home, I used to do dance and a little bit of music. But now I don’t really do dance, and that might be because I have another job that is more professional.

Would you create your own music as an artist?
Yeah, I can create my own music. I was trying to create some lyrics and even tried to record some, but I deleted them because I didn’t really feel the vibe, when I was doing music, it was all about problems and fighting and all this. Then I just said, “No, I’m not into all this anymore,” so I stopped as the music no longer resonated with me.

Balmain Spring/Summer 2023 Campaign by Ben Hassett | Image courtesy of Elite World Group

Your first campaign of the year was with Balmain for their Spring/Summer ’23 campaign. What was it like working with Ben Hassett and Orlando Pita for the first time?
That was one of the best things that have ever happened to me in New York because when I was going to New York on the 27th, my shoot was supposed to be on the 28th, but they canceled the shoot and rescheduled it for the 29th, which is my birthday. I checked into my hotel, and my agency told me, “Mamuor, the shoot has been rescheduled to your birthday. They know it’s your birthday, so they’re going to be super nice to you.” Then I went on set, and we started working. Even before we began, they said, “Happy birthday, Mamuor. We know it’s your birthday.” We were shooting all day, vibing, having fun on set, and by the last picture of the day, they lit up candles, brought out a cake, then sang Happy Birthday. I was so happy.

We’ve been noticing your street-style looks. How would you describe your personal style? And what’s your style inspiration?
When picking out outfits, I like to make things a little bit complicated and confusing. For example, wearing something, even if it is something small that is hard for people to see the majority of the time.

So when you’re not modeling, what mostly takes up your time?
Right now, as I’m a model, if I don’t have a job to do, I like to just stay at home. I’m not the type of person that goes to parties when I don’t have anything to do. I prefer to stay at home and relax. I don’t watch movies or TV shows either.

RENAISSANCE Couture by Beyoncé x Balmain by Louie Banks | Image courtesy of Elite World Group

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