There was once an era once when supermodels served as muses and nothing else. We are not living in that era. Thanks to the rise of social media and an overall desire for more transparency and honesty, there's a whole new league of models in the fashion and beauty industries that possess much more than just enviable bone structure. Instead, they use their platform to advocate for the causes and issues close to their hearts. Adwoa Aboah leads this pack. The U.K.-born model has walked for the likes of Calvin Klein and Fendi, and her face has graced the covers of American and British Vogue, but that’s not why her hundreds of thousands of followers look to her as a new type of beauty icon.
Aboah has been open and vulnerable about her struggles with depression and drug addiction in the past, and in the process, not only normalized the conversation surrounding mental health, but also did something about it—she started her non-profit Gurls Talk as a safe haven for young girls to discuss topics surrounding mental health, sexual identity, race, and more. It’s no surprise Revlon tapped her to be one of its ambassadors and to front the brand’s “I Can. So I Did.” campaign, along with fellow ambassadors Ashley Graham and Gal Gadot. The campaign centers around the brand’s new PhotoReady Candid Collection ($11), a set of products that tout skin-enhancing finishes and benefits and are meant to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Byrdie got an exclusive first look at the images, shot by legendary photographer and director Mario Sorrenti, and campaign video featuring Aboah. The short clip is just nine-seconds long, but Aboah’s words resonate: “What's ‘out’ is everyone else's opinion. What's ‘in’ is everything that makes me feel like...I’m ready.”
What does being candid mean to you?
[To me, being] candid means being authentic and true to yourself. It’s so important for my mental well-being to be honest and true to who I am.
What was your journey like, coming to this place where you are able to focus on yourself and not let others affect your self-image?
Finding my tribe in Gurls Talk is honestly when I began to fully understand more about who I was and to feel comfortable in my own skin.
You've been outspoken about the importance of mental health. What's one thing you do for your mental health every day?
Self-care is so important for my mental health. Exercise and my involvement and conversations with the Gurls Talk community are big acts of my daily self-care.
To you, beauty is:
The art of self-expression and celebrating what makes you unique.
If you could share one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I would tell myself that I don’t think things get easier but that as you grow, but you get stronger with time. Things may look scary, but there will be a day where you wake up and feel less scared, more confident and you will love yourself.