It’s not every day that a woman gets the chance to go from the classroom to the pages of a major women’s magazine–while simultaneously charting new territory–but that’s exactly what 22-year-old British beauty Philomena Kwao is doing.
On an off chance, the size 16 UK native and Ghanian descent entered a nationwide model search sponsored by the plus-size clothing brand Evans, in collaboration with Models 1 and Style369.com. After being one of five girls to make it through to the final of the modeling contest, not only has Philomena signed with a new division of Models 1, she’s been featured in a ton of fashion spreads, including a beach-inspired Miami shoot for the May issue of Cosmopolitan.
While living the life of a model sounds like a dream come true, Philomena says she’s not after the fame and fortune, she wants to be a figurehead for young girls today who sometimes may become disillusioned by “the glamorous lifestyle.”
“I want to show them that you can really do it all if you try; that is to pursue your dreams, whatever they may be and get an education,” she told the Daily Mail. “Your education doesn’t have to suffer!”
She adds, “I also want to help spread the message that there is beauty in everything: every shape, color, size, and height … whatever. We are all beautiful.”
The fashion industry has grown considerably more accepting of plus-size models, but that trend has largely been in the United States and not so much in Europe and other countries. Shelly Vella, fashion director of Cosmopolitan UK would like to see that change.
“The industry is definitely progressing its attitude to curvier girls,” she said. “Healthier body attitudes and a backlash against REALLY skinny models have led a fair few designers to rethink the models they send down catwalks, and magazines to appraise their approach to their fashion pages.”
The fashion director also thinks Philomena has what it takes to make plus acceptance stick.
“She has an incredible face and body, not to mention a professional and driven personality. She will excel, whatever she decides to do. Personally I would love to see her front a beauty campaign.” So would we!