Destiny Owusu, also known as “Ohwawa,” is considered one of the new emerging faces of ethnic beauty. This melanin queen is a model of Ghanaian descent from Virginia, gracefully creating a noteworthy platform with her captivating image in the commercial and high fashion world.

Known on social media for her signature hashtag #IsYourMelaninOnFleek, Ohwawa has been independently managing her career on a large scale, even scoring major business deals through her popular Instagram account. She’s been featured in various articles and visual projects from Dolce & Gabbana’s recent viral make-up campaign to walking in the VFILES runway show during New York Fashion Week.

This young lady is the representation of what it means to embrace and empower the essence of Black beauty. Ohwawa’s entire look is stunning, the magnitude of her visuals grow with media exposure each day and her promising future embodies ethnic beauty in the modeling industry.

What inspired you to begin your profession and when did you officially start?

An unexpected photo shoot with a friend of mine who was also a photographer inspired me to begin modeling. We did a random photo shoot; mind you, it was my first time actually doing a photo shoot. After I received the images and posted them on my social media outlets, the feedback I got was crazy. Everyone loved the images, they went viral, photographers from all over were asking to work with me—it was great! I officially started taking it seriously right after that shoot, which was three years ago.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far and why?

The biggest highlight of my career so far was walking in VFILES show during Fashion Week. It was my first time walking in a show ever and I was so proud of myself.

How has your life changed since you began your journey and what are you expecting next?

My life has changed so much ever since I took modeling seriously. I’ve met and worked with people I thought I would never come across before, been found on major blogs and social media pages, and I’ve been blessed to book major gigs all by myself. I’m expecting to finally get signed this year. It’s time.

What characteristics do you believe are important in order to be successful and why?

I believe you have to be humble, hardworking, have proper time management, be patient with everything coming your way and believe what’s for you will be for you, network like crazy, and last but not least, have a true passion for what you do.

What advice could you offer to those pursuing a career in the entertainment industry?

My advice would be to never give up. I know it sounds cliché but trust me, giving up is easier than sticking it out and holding on. If you truly love what you do then do it and don’t worry about what other people say or think about you. Irrelevant people and their opinions don’t matter, all that matters is that you perfect your craft and prove to yourself you’re great. I think people are too worried about what others may think about them and that’s the problem; people always want to prove someone else wrong and shove it in their face and that’s not the way to go. You’re giving away too much energy to people that are complete strangers to you when you should be putting all that energy into yourself and your work.

What prominent individuals in entertainment would you compare yourself to and why?

I don’t compare myself to anybody in the industry. I am my own person and I only focus on myself and what I can do to make me a better person, artist, model and influencer.

How did you feel you contribute to the innovation of art?

I think I contribute to the innovation of art in so many ways and my photos explain it all. Photography itself is art, a model posing and expressing emotion is art, incorporating different materials/objects to make my photos come to life is art. The message I’m trying to perceive through my work is one loving the skin they’re in. So many young girls, young dark skin girls are ashamed of their skin tone and wish they could be lighter. I want to show these girls that our melanin is nothing to be ashamed of, we should take pride in our chocolatey skin because lots of people would die to have it. Another message I want to bring to my audience is Black models in general. I want the industry to show more diversity in every way they can, I fight for a spot in the fashion world so other beautiful Black women who aspire to be a model won’t get discouraged. I want us all to win, we can’t win without putting up a fight first and showing this industry that yes, we too are beautiful.

Model: Ohwawa
Photographer: Arantes Stephen
MUA: Emma Bahi
Stylist: Dashauna Gibson