She is one of the most in-demand models in the world, known for her edgy sense of style and her passion for activism.
And Adwoa Aboah, 28, has penned a powerful open letter about being pushed to ‘a dark breaking point’ by ‘quietly hiding her insecurities and internalising her shame,’ while gracing the September 2020 cover of ELLE magazine.
The British star opened up about mental health, the Black Lives Matter movement, and asserted that she felt she ‘wasn’t white enough, nor Black enough’ during her teenage years.
Powerful: Adwoa Aboah, 28, has penned a powerful open letter about being pushed to ‘a dark breaking point’ while gracing the September 2020 cover of ELLE magazine
On her experience as a teenager, Adwoa confessed: ‘I’d watch from the sidelines as certain friends flourished in social situations, all carefree and glowing, while I quietly hid my insecurities and internalised my shame.
‘I, like many others before and after me, never felt as though I fit in. I wasn’t white enough, nor was I Black enough. Boys weren’t into my braids, so I conformed – painfully relaxing my hair, which didn’t win them over either.’
On her experience at school, she admitted her strong desire to ‘be like everyone else’ but failed many exams.
She wrote: ‘According to school standards, I wasn’t academically strong, pressure that was only made worse by my dyslexia and the multitude of exams I failed.
Real talk: The star opened up about mental health the Black Lives Matter movement, and asserted that she felt she ‘wasn’t white enough, nor Black enough’ during her teenage years
Candid: Adwoa revealed that, when she started out in the modelling world, she simply ‘put on a façade’ in order to try and get through, but eventually this way of living took its toll
‘I wanted so much to conform, to be like everyone else – something that today would be a massive detriment to my career but, at the time, was my deepest fantasy.’
The British beauty revealed that, when she started out in the modelling world, she simply ‘put on a façade’ in order to try and get through, but eventually this way of living took its toll.
Adwoa explained: ‘When I started receiving more attention and external validation, I hoped these superficial markers could carry me through.
‘If I can just put on a façade and keep the messy feelings inside, I thought, they’ll magically disappear. Instead, they followed me into adulthood, compounding over time and pushing me to a dark breaking point.’
Mental health matters: She admitted that ‘the messy feelings inside’ they followed her into adulthood, ‘compounding over time and pushing her to a dark breaking point’
Speaking to the class of 2020, she wrote: ‘Between a global pandemic and the fight for racial justice, these are unprecedented times and I am floored by the strength and resilience that I’m seeing from your generation.
‘You have been unapologetic and fearless leaders in the quest for equality and have stood up for the most marginalised communities, demonstrating that, indeed, All Black Lives Matter.’
Giving advice to the next generation, she urged: ‘Speak up and find spaces that let you do so without judgement or shame. I previously did the opposite.
‘I learned to not talk about things: the fears I had, that we all have. I wasn’t able to articulate them. If I had opened up back then, I would have realised that these things were natural.’
During this climate, readers are able to get ELLE UK delivered to their door, either by purchasing a single copy via www.magsdirect.co.uk/elle, or subscribe today and get 6 issues for £15 at www.hearstmagazines.co.uk.’
Aboah is one of the freshest faces in today’s modelling industry, starring in global campaigns, walking in shows for some of fashion’s biggest names and appearing on numerous international covers.
She joined British Vogue as Contributing Editor in July 2017 and was the inaugural cover star of British Vogue’s December Issue the first issue under Editor Edward Enninful’s ‘New Vogue.
In 2017 Adwoa was named the British Fashion Council’s Model of the Year, a prestigious accolade awarded to the person who has had the most global impact on the industry that year.
The model added that: ‘All I hope is that some little girl out there sees this and realises that her wildest dreams are possible if she puts her mind to it. I hear you and see you, this doll is for you,’ she concluded.
The next generation: Giving advice to the class of 2020, she urged: ‘Speak up and find spaces that let you do so without judgement or shame