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Philomena Kwao

Model and humanitarian

Standing at a statuesque 5'10, with a flawless melanin enriched complexion, cheekbones designed by the ancestry of West Africa and a perfectly cropped Afro, the Ghanaian British beauty, Philomena Kwao is the perfect canvas and model for the fashion industry. Her regal unapologetic natural beauty reflected on billboards, magazines and major fashion campaigns around the world has led her to be one of the most sought after young curvy models. Throughout her burgeoning career, Philomena has graced the pages of the most coveted publications in fashion. In 2016 she was the only African model alongside Ashley Graham for the Sports Illustrated"Swimsuits For All" #swimsexy groundbreaking AD by Joe Dziemianowicz. She has adorned other mainstream magazines such as NY Times, Essence, Cosmopolitan UK, Pride Magazine UK, USA Today and global campaigns for MAC, Torrid, Lane Bryant, Nordstrom andEvans UK. A born leader and young social provocateur, Kwao is a staunch advocate for representation in fashion and often candidly talks about embracing her natural state of beauty and encourages young girls, to transcend the narrow and often exclusionary beauty standards perpetuated by the fashion industry. An avid writer, Philomena has authored a children's book titled The Queen In Me, which will celebrate Afrocentric features and emphasizes the need for change in the portrayal of beauty for black children at an early age. Additionally, she has also lent her voice to the issue of diversity in the beauty industry with her powerful piece, 'Is my black not beautiful', where black women, more specifically black women of darker skin tones are left behind. An unwavering philanthropist at heart, Kwao primarily advocates for issues around maternal health and woman's rights. Currently she is the global ambassador working with Women For Women International to support the most marginalized women to earn and save money, improve health and their economic well-being. Headshot by Rafael Clemente ​

Is My Black Not Beautiful?

We want options. My younger sisters want options. And it just doesn't seem fair. It's hard to pin point who exactly is to blame. If you take a look around the problem isn't only is fashion; it's in music, it's in film and it's on TV. Darker skinned women just aren't represented anywhere, especially not in the UK.
02/02/2016 17:57 GMT