You may not apperceive her name, but affairs are, you’ve apparent Philomena Kwao‘s beauteous face. The Ghanaian-British beauty, wnow resides in Brooklyn, is a accepted plus-size model. She has formed for a advanced array of brands like Swimsuits for All, Lane Bryant, MAC and Nordstrom, and appeared in publications like Cosmopolitan UK and the New York Times.
“It’s been an absurd ride,” says Kwao in her absorbing British accent. And that’s an adumbration because it was a acquaintance wgot her into the industry while she was in college, active in London, and focused on actuality a student.
“There was an agency, which is still my bureau appropriate now, they’re alleged Models 1, and they captivated a archetypal chase antagonism to acquisition their abutting additional model,” she says. “And she absolutely anticipation I would win so she submitted my pictures, and afresh they alleged me and I went in. I absolutely concluded up adequate the antagonism and adequate a arrangement with them.”
That was about eight years ago. And aback then, she’s gone from clay for brands in the UK to booking all sorts of gigs actuality in New York. And while abounding models don’t use their acclaim and access to do abundant added than actualize aces amusing media profiles, Kwao uses chastening to activity conversations about issues impacting Atramentous women and men about the world. Her speaking articulation may be agreeable, but she isn’t abashed to use it to footfall on a few toes.
We talked to Kwao about the emphasis of speaking up, additionally about the ups and downs of aperture doors as a plus-size Atramentous changeable model, absorption her accustomed hair, the “Lupita effect” on her career, and why we as the Atramentous association accept to alpha all-embracing assorted bodies and shapes afore plus-size Atramentous women can win in the industry.
MadameNoire: I apperceive you said you now alive and assignment in New York. What are the differences amid the New York and London markets aback it comes to plus-size modeling?
Philomena Kwao: Oh, there are above differences, which is why to added my career, I had to move to New York. In London, I formed consistently at first, I assumption because I was a novelty. Bodies were absorbed in the change of this Black, dark-skinned, plus-sized archetypal with a baldheaded head. There was a lot of fizz and a lot of media coverage. But at the aforementioned time, the additional bazaar in the UK consisted of alone two brands, which were Evans and Simply Be. So in adjustment to get added work, I had to move to New York. And afresh aback I aboriginal got to New York,
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