Yaya Deng is one of the most popular young models and actresses in Australia.
Twenty-six-year old Yaya was born in Nairobi to South Sudanese parents who had fled the genocide in their home country in the early 90’s. At nine years of age, Yaya, her mother and four siblings secured refugee status in Australia.
Calling Sydney home for the last seventeen years, Yaya grew up in western Sydney, attended Sydney University and in 2014 decided to enter the reality TV show, The Face.
Her appearance on the Foxtel show was the catalyst to a career in modelling and acting.
Within six months of being crowned runner-up on The Face and with very little acting experience, Yaya secured a role on the US feature film, Gods of Egypt. Directed by world-renowned director, Alex Proyas, Yaya was in the enviable position of working alongside Hollywood heavy weights such as the late Chadwick Boseman, Gerard Butler and Geoffrey Rush.
On set, Yaya performed all her own stunts, was mentored by Chadwick and soon realised she had an innate love for acting. Since her Hollywood debut Yaya has undertaken acting training with some of Sydney’s most talented teachers and casting directors.
Forging a career as one of Australia’s most popular models, Yaya has fronted campaigns for Westfield, Neutrogena, P.E. Nation, Le Specs, MYER, Zimmerman, David Jones, Camilla, Peter Alexander, and Helen Kaminsky.
In 2019, Yaya undertook a trip that was to change her life, to visit Sudan, the birthplace of her parents, for the first time. She immersed herself in the local culture, spoke the South Sudanese language Dinka, reconnected with family and friends, and learnt the local culinary customs. Yaya found the entire experience cathartic and enlightening and returned to Australia with a newfound love and zest for the fashion and entertainment industry.