Adwoa Aboah is one of the most in-demand models of the moment, having graced the catwalk and fronted a number of advertising campaigns for some of the world’s biggest designers. However, the model has revealed that she wasn’t always so confident about her appearance, particularly when she was at boarding school.
“I looked different to all the other girls: everyone was blonde and blue-eyed,” Aboah told The Evening Standard of her experience at Millfield school in Somerset. “It was, ‘This is how you dress. This is how you do your hair, and you put loads of foundation on and wear high heels.’ And I was like, ‘F**k, I don’t know even how to be this person.'”
The model – who has been open about her struggle with drug addiction and depression – admitted that her insecurities stemmed mainly from her lack of romantic attention or her feelings of being different, despite being scouted a number of times when she was young.
“I felt very unattractive at that school,” she added. “I based my worth on how many boys fancied me. And even though back in London my parents’ friends were like, ‘Oh your daughter’s so beautiful, would she like to model?’ that didn’t matter. It was the kids, and the boys, and the fact that I didn’t have blonde hair. That’s all that mattered to me.”
Aboah has used her former insecurities (and the drug and depression struggles she went on to face) to help empower young girls everywhere through Gurls Talk, an online platform she founded that encourages young women to open up about mental health, body image, addiction and sexuality. She tells The Evening Standard that this is her number one priority over anything else right now.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.