Around this time last year, Out relaunched our Out Weddings section, as an Instagram project. That now-weekly series featured members of the LGBTQ+ community recounting their recent, emotion-filled vows, with beautiful imagery. To kick it off, model Aweng Ade-Chuol shared photos of her City Hall marriage to her wife Alexus. Now, the two are sharing a kiss on the cover of Elle UK.
Aweng is an in-demand face in the industry — most recently she booked a Ralph Lauren holiday ad with her wife alongside others like Robbie Rogers and Greg Berlanti. But inside the feature, she pulls the curtain back on what life has been life since getting married.
Soon after the New York nuptials, there was backlash in South Sudan, where the model was born.
"That is really baffling to me, and I’m still processing it," she told Elle UK. "We got married and the whole world, literally the whole of my community, were wishing that I passed, in a way… A few months later, I attempt [suicide]. It was really absurd, because subconsciously I felt I was maybe drained by the fact we’d got married. It’s still a discussion now, like, 'How dare she marry a woman?' You can’t control what people say, and there were tabloids and newspapers back in Sudan… It was a whole thing. For me, it was like, with the political climate that’s going on, you really think that my marriage is the most significant thing in your life right now? It was saddening, because it was the happiest day of my life, and they couldn’t let me enjoy it."
Aweng had opened up about her suicide attempt this summer, posting about it to social media. It left her in the hospital, and in the feature she acknowledges it was not only her that was impacted, but her wife as well. The pair have grown closer since. She has since joined therapy and has had many reach out to her, thanking her for sharing her story as they experience similar things.
The 22-year-old, spent much of 2020 stationary in Long Island, but now she's ready for a change. She (as well as her wife and two poodles) is headed to London to live for a while. And then, who knows.
"‘My 23rd [birthday,] that’s going to be different," she said. "I want to have it in Dubai. I want it to be dramatic. I’m a very dramatic person, and 2020 didn’t allow the drama. 2020 stole the show, but now I’m taking it back."