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Activist First, Model Second: Adwoa Aboah Talks Mental Health & Activism

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Adwoa Aboah is bringing about a new look to the modeling industry. Aboah’s shaved head, freckles, and jeweled tooth set her apart from some of the supermodels that we have seen before. After her cover debut on British Vogue, Aboah who is 25 years old has fronted campaigns for Chanel, Burberry, and Revlon. She has also won the British Fashion Council award for coveted Model of The Year, which was given to Kate Moss and other amazing supermodels. In may she stayed at the Met Gala alongside Donatella Versace and Cindy Crawford.

With this lengthy resume, Aboah says she no longer puts limits on herself. She grew up in London with a Ghanian father, she thought there was no room in the fashion industry for girls like her, but that has proven to be false!

The journey to get to where she is today has not been easy Aboah said that she lived completely in fear as a teenager. She suffered from anxiety and depression to the point where she started using drugs like ketamine to cope. overcame insecurities, anxiety, and depression. Aboah went on to pursue her career with lots of unsolved internal issues which went on to a failed suicide attempt that left her in a comma in 2015.

Aboah entered treatment and discovered the power of therapy:  “Having a frank conversation about what’s going on in your life helps you stop feeling alone.” She went on to co-found Gurls Talk, an organization that aims to create spaces for women to come together, both online and in person, to discuss mental health, body image and sexuality. “In the beginning, there were small things. Maybe it was not feeling attractive at school,” she says of her depression. “But what we concentrate on in Gurls Talk is that these small things need to be as important as the big things.”

Aboah says that her activism for mental health is more than just a trend. “Before I even decided that I wanted to model, I decided that I would take on the responsibility of activism,” she says. In a speech at the start of London Fashion Week in February, Aboah spoke out against sexual harassment and exploitation in the fashion industry. She called upon fashion insiders to “help change the system that has allowed such rampant abuse of power.” Speaking to TIME, Aboah—who has never been a victim herself—added: “If we can keep constant pressure, all of those monsters will be pushed out” she tells TIME.

Aboah calls herself an activist before a model. She plans to continue advocating for mental health and women all around the world by bringing Gurls Talk to Ghana.

 

XOXO
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