On my radar: Adwoa Aboah’s cultural highlights


The activist and model on the brilliance of Billie Eilish and the TV show that has her doing backflips
British-Ghanaian fashion model and activist Adwoa Aboah, born in 1992 in London, has featured on the covers of Vogue and Time and has a Barbie doll designed in her honour. In 2015, she founded Gurls Talk, an online community for all women to discuss mental health, body image, addiction and sexuality. Gurls Talk recently launched a podcast with guests including Serena Williams and Jorja Smith.
1. Book
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
I’m an avid reader, so Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other caught my eye in the bookshop. It’s phenomenal. Even though the stories cover different eras and places, her ability to form such solid characters really spoke to me as a woman of colour. And because the stories were set in England, it felt really close to home. She tackles so many of the challenges that women face today but in a beautiful non-cliche way. She’s a professor at Brunel — that’s where I went to university – and I felt a moment of pride.
2. Music
Billie Eilish: No Time to Die
Billie Eilish doing the James Bond theme song at just 18 years old is something that needs to be celebrated. It’s great to watch her check these huge accomplishments off her list. No Time to Die is great — I saw her perform it at the Brits and it was beautiful. There is something about her that is really authentic. She’s risen to fame while she’s navigating through her teen years, and that has its problems but she’s really honest about it all through her music. I’m a fan of her energy.
3. Film
Queen & Slim
This has the whole package; the music, the way it was shot, the direction. Jodie Turner-Smith is the star and is a new face in acting. It’s nice to see someone being given the chance to shine. I love how the film explored the romance between men and women. Women are moving forward in major ways and don’t need what we used to from men because we have our own independence. But I love that the film explores this idea of letting go of the ego. I’m all for fresh new things and this film really felt like that.
4. Fashion
Paloma Elsesser for Fendi
I haven’t really got involved in fashion month this past season; it can be a trigger because it’s based so heavily on what we look like. There’s rejection involved. But [plus-size US model] Paloma Elsesser has been a shining light in all of that. To see her killing it on the Fendi catwalk has been great. I just hope that it isn’t tokenism and they’re including her because they care and not just because they want to be part of the conversation [on inclusivity]. She deserves to be up there with the other girls. Anything she’s part of, I want to be part of too.
5. TV
Cheer (Netflix)
Cheer had me on my sofa trying to do backflips. It’s a docu-series about competitive cheerleading and it made me so happy. I love the community that it was highlighting. I think everyone should watch it. I’m passionate about women at the top of their game in terms of sport, because I do a lot of sports myself. I felt inspired. I also got to meet the cast and had such a fan-girl moment. It’s talent at its best. I’m obsessed with people who are obsessed with what they do.
6. Movement
The Harvey Weinstein verdict really put into perspective what is important. Seeing women you don’t know finding the strength to stand up and share their story, you have to find a connection in that. I’m happy that justice has been served for those individual women. But it’s also a win for those who are all still out there and now feel like they can come forward. It doesn’t matter about how powerful a person is, courage tops it all. A new time is on its way. Maybe this is a new era.

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