Fashion model, Portia Gana, has condemned the practice in the Ghanaian modelling industry where some models are offered modelling jobs in exchange for sexual favours.
The plus size model who talked about some of the shortfalls in the Ghanaian modelling industry in an interview with Showbiz said although the industry was in its development stages, there were still a lot that needed change.
“I have had some wasted-time meetings where people contact me with the impression of getting me gigs only for them to start talking about taking me out for dinner and other things.
“However, my policy is very simple and straightforward in situations such as these. If we are not discussing business and gigs, then I don’t want to interact with you,” she said.
The curvy model added that in the bid of these unscrupulous men to entice her to go along with their bidding, they tell her a fair number of the established models have done similar things in order to get ahead in their careers.
“Some of these men tell me they have pictures and videos of the models to prove what they are saying. They tell me that it is the only way to succeed as a woman in the industry.
“However, what I take away from this is that if they have videos and pictures of some of these ladies then they would do same to me,” she said.
Portia, who was born in Ghana but left for Canada at an early age, said she got into the modelling profession entirely by accident.
“I came to Ghana during the Christmas holidays in 2011 and a friend took some pictures for my Facebook profile and he thought they were so good he used them to generate traffic on his site.
“Then when I came back to Canada, an American magazine pushed me to use the pictures to enter a model contest where I finished top five out of about 30 contestants even though my pictures were not professional like the others.
“This peaked my interest but until then, I was more of a behind – the – scenes person but that made me stop shying from the spotlight”, she added.
Portia, who has worked with brands such as Mina Evans, Aya Morrison, Cohen’s Closet, Biola, Brentwood, Eyesta, Orijin Dedo. Adora’s intimates in Canada, Ghana and Nigeria said her parents have expressed mixed feelings about her decision to go into fashion.
“I was studying to be a plastic surgeon and even went through pre-med before I decided to go into modelling and that’s been hard for them but I know they will get over it,” she said with a laugh.
The 27-year-old said one of her reasons for coming back to Ghana is to establish her own fashion brand and modelling agency with a focus on models who do not fit the stereotypical slim body size and stature people have come to expect of models.
“My vital statistics are 38-29-45 and even in Canada where I began modelling, agencies had difficulty finding a niche for me. My size is considered plus size for runway modelling but for print and photography which is my primary field, the categorisation is much higher. I have had directors tell me I either had to gain more weight or lose weight in order to fit a specific category,” she said.
“I had the biggest boobs back in high school and I was always trying to hide it by wearing oversized clothes until I realised there was no point in doing that. I believe our bodies are beautiful and God given as such, we have to love ourselves instead of trying to hide or force ourselves to fit a specific size”, said Portia, who is the Face of Peini Skin Care.
Source: Daily Graphic