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."