Will Philomena Kwao Become Britain’s First Black Plus-Size Supermodel After Winning Modelling Competition?

Talent Management has just checked out the May issue of Cosmopolitan and a great shoot with a black plus-size model caught our eye.

Philomena Kwao's modelling efforts on Style369.com
Philomena Kwao's modelling efforts on Style369.com

Talent Management has just checked out the May issue of Cosmopolitan and a great shoot with a black plus-size model caught our eye.

With both plus-size models and black models still being a minority in the fashion industry, you can imagine our intrigue stumbling across a model rocking both these rarities in an eye-catching swimsuit spread.

So, we did a little digging and found out a little more about this curvy stunner. Named Philomena Kwao, the 22-year-old is the winner of nationwide modelling competition 14 + Model Search, run by plus-size clothing brand Evans.

We found out that has Kwao not only demonstrated an interest in modelling from a young age, having been crowned Miss Ghana UK in 2008, but the beauty also wants to prove that pursuing a modelling career doesn’t mean your education has to suffer – impressively, she has a first class Economics degree.

Kwao recently revealed how she would like to use modelling to empower women: “I hope to use this as a platform by which I can hopefully empower girls and young women like myself. I also want 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 maybe and get an education. Your education doesn’t have to suffer!

“I also want to help spread the message that there is beauty in everything: every shape, colour, size, and height … whatever. We are all beautiful.”

Having beaten thousand of entries, the size 16 model, who’s from Kent and of Ghanaian heritage, now has dreams of becoming Britain’s first black plus-size supermodel. And those dreams may just come true. Since her competition win, she’s not only signed with a modelling agency, but has starred in Style369’s campaign images and numerous fashion features, including, of course, the Cosmopolitan beach shoot that caught our team’s eye in the first place.

Shelly Vella, fashion director of Cosmopolitan UK said: “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.

“The industry is definitely progressing its attitude to curvier girls. 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.”

While we’ll admit there are a fair few plus models in the US industry at the moment, disappointingly, there are barely any from Britain. Let’s hope that inspiring, curvier British models such as Kwao will help change attitudes towards body size in the UK.