Ophelia Baa's Story
The mission is not only to create garments that allow women to express themselves and feel confident but to also empower them to stand tall and grasp all opportunities.
Meet Ophelia, she was born into a Senegalese, Ivorian and French heritage and her mother and father always educated and bathed her cultures. And equipped with her strong connections to her culture fashion was close to her heart, she embraced female identity she religiously took interest in London and Paris Fashion Week, cutting out Vogue and Elle in her notebooks or on the walls of her room dreaming of one day featuring in them. Whereas her main focus was school and athletics, which was unheard of in her home country as women weren't pushed into educated, let alone athletics.
From seeing inequality she wanted to be a role model for the next generation of women in Senegal and Ivory Coast. Due to her lack of confidence and mentors and role models, it prevented her from going into the fashion industry and becoming a model. She also knew fashion was ruthless industry, as a result, she stayed in education and pursue her other passion, athletics.
Where ever Ophelia went she was reminded of fashion, then at the age of 19 she saw how women were coming up together, organising fashion shows and realised this was her time! If As time went by, she realised if she put her mind to it she could do anything in this world and only she was stopping herself, not society.
You may think, Ophelia had it easy but before starting her career, she did not consider herself "beautiful" or "desirable" due to her height, which was seen as average during her childhood and adolescent years. At school it was often called "broom" and other unflattering nicknames and the worst same when a boy even one day refuse to be in a relationship with her because "she had no breasts".
Modelling opened up doors to help other women and gave her confidence, in return, be a role model for other women and an opportunity to embrace who we are rather than conform. Being an individual, determined and grasping all the opportunities, even after many rejections she succeeds on her personal mission to reflect black women in the fashion industry in her own way.
Now she feels good, confident, at peace, beautiful. She defines herself as a fighter, and she never thought she was where she is now. She would never have thought about facing life and its hardships and getting out of it.
What is your #NoteToSelf and message to women, woman to woman?
"Embrace your features, my lips represent my french and African culture which I love. Your identity is something you need to learn to embrace and be proud of."
From speaking to Ophelia, we learned opportunities don't just come to us, we have to fight. And only we can see our own true potential and beauty, not others. How can we expect to love ourselves, if we don't love ourselves?