Torrid introduces international beauty, model Philomena Kwao, as the newest ambassador and spokesperson for the fashion brand for young women who wear sizes 12 to 28. Together with Torrid, she is redefining what it means to be a ‘pretty face’ and empowering women of all sizes to wear what they love.
Philomena never expected to become a fashion model. Growing up in London, the daughter of Ghanaian parents, she excelled in academics. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and later, a master’s in international health management. Most recently she founded the Lily Project, a mentorship program that connects young girls to today’s brightest minds to make a positive impact on their lives.
Her modeling career began only two years ago, when a friend secretly entered her in a competition in the UK. To her surprise, Philomena eclipsed thousands of hopefuls and was dubbed Britain’s first black plus-size supermodel. It wasn’t long before her stunning looks caught Torrid’s eye and she was being whisked off to photo shoots in New York and Hollywood.
“When Philomena began modeling for us, we were blown away by her intelligence and passion for helping others… on top of being drop-dead gorgeous,” said Lisa Harper, Chief Executive Officer of Torrid. “We know real beauty when we see it. And this is it.”
Being recognized as a standard of beauty still amazes the self-professed former tomboy. Fan mail often brings her to tears, as women describe not having a role model their size or shade of skin—until now. “Torrid has given me an amazing opportunity,” she explains. “I can reach out to different girls and help them realize that they are beautiful too.”
Philomena eventually plans to use modeling as a platform to raise awareness of women’s health issues in developing countries. In the meantime, she is fast becoming an inspiration to young women everywhere. “Modeling and healthcare are two totally different things, but I feel like I’m reaching my end goal, which is helping people. Self-esteem is part of health, after all. Slowly but surely, I think that’s going to make a big change as well.”
So much more than pretty face, Philomena proves that all women, no matter their size or background, can be seen as beautiful, not to mention make the world a better place.