Agencies: Models 1 in the UK / Jag in the US
Claim to Fame: The poreless beauty was the face of the trendy plus-size retailer Torrid, who recently made a stand by showing at New York Fashion Week, which predominantly celebrates straight size models and brands.
There has been a ton of speculation by the media about the reasons why plus-size models are routinely left out of major beauty campaigns. Model Marquita Pring was one of the first with her Maybelline Campaign in 2017. When plus-size models in beauty campaigns finally becomes more mainstream, we are sure Philomena Kwao will be at the top of casting agents list.
Plus-size modeling usually places emphasis on a woman’s curves but it’s Kwao’s practically poreless face that makes her one of the most sought after names in the business.
Before reaching out to the top power brokers in fashion was as easy as firing off a direct message, Kwao, who had never even thought of modeling, was discovered when a friend decided to forward her pictures to an old-fashioned model search.
There is not a blemish to be found on her face and it’s evident in many of her images that editors have opted not to retouch them because they realize doing so would be a complete waste of time.
Her beauty is versatile.
In a picture taken on the red carpet at a Sports Illustrated party she appears almost doll-like as long lashes frame her brightly shining wide eyes. In an ad for Eloquii she manages to make what has become her signature cropped cut look whimsical and girlish.
Being from the United Kingdom, Kwao had never even heard of the term plus-size until she became a model. She was completely insulated from the rises of careers like Emme’s that shifted the industry in the 90s and only really began to understand and feel the brunt of the separation that the editorial and retail sides of the fashion industry implements once she started going out for jobs. Previously she was too busy pursuing her education to think about what categories others placed her figure in.
She is unafraid to speak out against colorism, advocates for The Lily Project, and in a post on her blog declared that while it’s great Mattel is looking to celebrate different body types she doesn’t need a toy to affirm that she’s beautiful.
In a recent Torrid campaign, she looks completely at home atop a bright pink flamingo in a Palms Springs swimming pool with her fellow models looking like she knows she exactly what she deserves and that getting it will only be a matter of time.