Taking a career from one point to the next is one of the hardest things to do. It involves a lot of transitions, new experiences, and an adjustment period. Luckily for international model and creative, DENG, his entire life has prepared him for entering unfamiliar territory and thriving despite all of the obstacles that are presented before him.
Known for being associated with Kanye West x adidas, Coco and Breezy, Opening Ceremony, and a host of other brands, Deng has proven himself to be a dynamic model since starting his modeling career in 2012. His photographs have been featured in publications like Complex, Vogue, GQ, NYMAG, Highsnobiety, and Essence, just to name a few. He’s also used his talents in styling and production work with BOSCO, Cyhi the Prince, Sean Garett, Sonny Digital, Metro Boomin’, Made In TYO and other names in entertainment.
Currently living in New York City, Deng is a South Sudan native who relocated to Atlanta in 2006. He describes his integration into American society as “a culture shock.” He had to learn how to socialize with American high school kids while trying to get used to American culture in its totality. While in college, he began modeling for local brands in Atlanta such as FRESH.i.AM and Wish, eventually causing him to gain exposure to a broader audience and notable brands.
In 2014, he decided to utilize his ability to create something positive out of a negative experience. The result became Culture Cartel, a media and production agency serves as a platform for creatives to express lifestyles through creativity. The agencies goal is to use content production and event curation to promote cultural tolerance and defy cultural norms. It also introduces new and exciting aspects of culture to the world.
Often times some of the most unique and interesting people, who have something of value to offer, find themselves as minorities in society. Drowned out by all of the noise created by the rest of the population, their voices are seldom heard and sometimes silenced. Having been through a war, growing in the hood, and becoming a stranger in a new country Deng knows all too well what that feels like to be a minority with a small voice.
By creating Culture Cartel, he’s decided to give a voice to those who normally don’t have an opportunity to speak. Another great part of the agency is the fact that it allows Deng and his creative friends to work closely together as a team. They also are able to maintain their separate creative autonomy in the process.
Deng sees himself and Culture Cartel eventually evolving to into a force that is recognized in fashion, sports, and the global community. One of his future initiatives is to establish a youth soccer camp, which goes perfectly with his affinity for the sport. He’d also like to one day travel back to Africa, especially since he hasn’t been on the continent since relocating to the United States.
Currently, he’s is working on establishing VAIN in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami. Starting in Atlanta, VAIN is a celebration and cultural experience that brings together some of the most innovative creatives that are making their mark. Held monthly in Downtown Atlanta at Studio No. 7, the event has become a staple in Atlanta creative community. It attracts creatives of all levels and gathers them to commune under one roof.