Fashion website Refinery29 names Ghanaian-British International plus-size model Philomena Kwao as one of six inspiring women redefining typical body types.
The website spoke to women who are “redefining body types and so much more. Aside from spreading messages of body positivity, they’re making cool things happen every single day, often while overcoming crazy odds.”
The website adds: “More than redefining body types in their own right, these women are inspiring younger women to do the same — no matter what numbers the labels on their clothing read.”
A former Miss Ghana UK 2008, Kwao’s modeling career started some three years ago, when a friend secretly entered her in modeling competition organized by curvy clothing brand Evans in the UK.
She won beating thousands of other contestants becoming Britain’s first black plus size model. She won Rising Star award at the 2012 Ghana UK Based Achiever (GUBA) Awards.
Philomena is currently the brand ambassador for Torrid, a plus-size fashion brand.
How do you reach younger women through your work?
“Mainly, young girls who are bigger than your standard size, or women of color, or girls who haven’t found a place of acceptance of their beauty — who haven’t found any real role models to look up to — they’re the kinds of girls who message me on social media. How I embrace my natural hair is a big [topic].”
How would you describe your body?
“My body is Philomena. It’s me. I don’t really have any words that I use to describe myself, because sometimes, when you use words, you bring negative connotations with those words.”
What are you looking forward to in your career?
“I originally wanted to work in health development for the U.N. That is still something I want to pursue — working with different charities and projects to make sure I give critical issues a voice. I’m looking forward to working with sustainable development and maternal health.
“Right now, I’m the brand ambassador for Torrid. The brand has been breaking boundaries when it comes to racial diversity and in fashion, with what women can wear. If you want to wear short-shorts, wear short-shorts. If you want to wear a bikini, wear a bikini. Be yourself, be beautiful in the way you know how, and don’t allow anyone else to tell you otherwise.”