In our seminar two weeks ago we talked about iconic people in the fashion world from a couple of centuries ago. We then tried to find their equivalent in the industry today. One lady we talked about was Juliette Recamier, a poster girl of her generation. We learnt that Juliette, a French socialite, was a little bit different to most women during the 19th century, not conforming to tight corsets and petticoats, and instead opted to wear empire line dresses whether this was fashionable or not. She’s noted as being an intellectual as well, instead of just being a pretty face, and ran in similar circles as important political influencers and notable literary people. The first person that sprung to mind when I heard of Juliette was Adwoa Aboah – a model that wants to change the face of supermodels, and someone I consider to be the poster girl of our generation.
Adwoa Aboah is a 25 year old British model, born in London. Her English mother, Camilla Lowther, is a successful fashion agent, whilst her father, Ghanaian born Charles Aboah is a popular location scout. Her upbringing by two people heavily involved within the fashion industry is probably where Adwoa’s interest in fashion and modelling comes from. However, like Juliette, Adwoa isn’t here to conform to society’s expectations of women. Juliette ditched corsets, and Adwoa has ditched conventional beauty standards – and I couldn’t love her more for it.
Not too long ago Adwoa struggled with depression, and drug addiction. At this time, being a model was the furthest thing from her mind. After seeking help, and learning to embrace what society deemed ‘odd’ about her (including her naturally ginger afro which she hid under hats for two years, until eventually shaving her head) Adwoa was ready to take on not just the fashion world, but the whole world, including the uncomfortable, painful parts, which some people aren’t willing to talk about.
Adwoa’s first Vogue cover, a Vogue Italia edition shot entirely by Tim Walker in December 2015, was sold just a couple months after a suicide attempt that left her in a coma for four days. Following treatment, the Vogue cover ended up being a positive change in her life and was the first step to Adwoa Aboah part two, a successful model and activist. Since then she’s been on the cover of Vogue numerous times, including the iconic British Vogue December cover by the newly appointed Edward Enninful. This came two years after her first Vogue cover and it’s safe to say Adwoa transformed into a force to be reckoned with in the space of those two years.
It’s not just the fashion industry she’s conquered, she’s becoming a notable person when it comes to millennial activism. She’s joined in with the Time’s Up movement, and has done work with Save The Children. Adwoa has also, along with her friend Holly Gore, founded an organisation called ‘Gurls Talk’, an online community that primarily encourages young women to have a voice on feminist issues in the 21st century. Gurls Talk is inclusive of everyone, with people being encouraged to join in on discussions about mental health, sexual assault, social media and body image (to name a few) in a safe space on the internet. Gurls Talk (a website I highly recommend you check out) has also held events in both the UK and America, with the people attending discussing whatever issues are close to their hearts, making sure no topic is off-limits. This is an incredible organisation for women, and proves Adwoa is so much more than an unconventional beauty, and unlike many models is out to do good in the world.
All in all I’m here for Adwoa and her unapologetic attitude. I think she’s the change the fashion industry needs, less slogan t-shirts on runways, and more models standing up for people who don’t have a voice. I’m ready to see more people like her on the cover of magazines, and I think it’s about time that models become role models, instead of just being super models.
Until next time,
Images sourced from Lipstiq, British Vogue, Pinterest, Konbini.com and GurlsTalk.com