#Okay100Women

PHILOMENA KWAO

OkayAfrica's 100 Women celebrates African women who are making waves, shattering ceilings, and uplifting their communities.

Philomena Kwao is a London-born, New York-based plus-size model of Ghanaian descent. She is known for her closely cropped hair, chocolate hue and curvaceous body. Kwao has modeled in international campaigns for brands such as Torrid, Nordstrom, Lane Bryant and Evans. Additionally, she nabbed a coveted feature in Sports Illustrated and has high-profile interviews with Elle Magazine, New York magazine’s The Cut where she speaks about inclusion.


Kwao exemplifies both beauty and brains. She has obtained a degree in economics and a Masters’ degree in international health management from Imperial College London. She was discovered as a Masters degree student in 2012, and pursued her modelling career thereafter. Currently, Kwao is signed with Models1 in the UK and JAG Models in the USA. She also began her own charity called The Lily Project where boys and girls counsel with mentors via the internet. When asked about her goals for her modeling career she is quoted as saying, “Ultimately I would like to use my voice to advance healthcare access around the world."

—MB

Interview

Interview: Wavy The Creator Is Ready to See You Now

The multidisciplinary Nigerian-American artist on tapping into all her creative outlets, creating interesting things, releasing a new single and life during quarantine.

A trip canceled, plans interrupted, projects stalled. It is six months now since Wavy the Creator has had to make a stop at an undisclosed location to go into quarantine and get away from the eye of the pandemic.

The professional recording artist, photographer, writer, fashion artist, designer, and evolving creative has been spending all of this time in a house occupied by other creatives. This situation is ideal. At least for an artist like Wavy who is always in a rapid motion of creating and bringing interesting things to life. The energy around the house is robust enough to tap from and infuse into any of her numerous creative outlets. Sometimes, they also inspire trips into new creative territories. Most recently, for Wavy, are self-taught lessons on a bass guitar.

Wavy's days in this house are not without a pattern, of course. But some of the rituals and personal rules she drew up for herself, like many of us did for internal direction, at the beginning of the pandemic have been rewritten, adjusted, and sometimes ditched altogether. Some days start early and end late. Some find her at her sewing machine fixing up thrift clothes to fit her taste, a skill she picked up to earn extra cash while in college, others find her hard at work in the studio, writing or recording music.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Wizkid, Alicia Keys x Diamond Platnumz, Manu WorldStar, Maya Amolo, La Dame Blanche and more.