Since she fled South Sudan as a refugee 18 years ago, Mari Malek, aka DJ Stiletto, has enjoyed much success as a model and DJ living in New York City. Mari is also the founder of Stand For Education, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing access to education for underprivileged children and empowering girls. Mari is so invested in her cause that part of her DJ bookings benefit Stand For Education.
As a result of the intensifying civil war in South Sudan, Malek escaped with her mother and two younger sisters. They spent four years in Egypt where they applied for asylum and were granted refugee status. Mari and her family were first sponsored in New Jersey and eventually relocated to California. On a walk to school one day in San Diego, Malek was discovered by a modeling scout and the rest is history.
In 2006, Mari moved to New York to pursue modeling, which led to her being the first internationally known South Sudanese DJ. Mari now uses her platform to spotlight an often ignored plight, rebuilding the lives of women and children whose lives have been torn apart by the violence and inhumanity of war. She feels fortunate to have learned from her experiences and aspires to create similar empowerment opportunities for women and children.