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Lorna Asante talks about her modeling, fashion and style

UK-based Ghana Lorna Asante is a determined model on the rise.  With her flawless smooth skin and likeable looks, the 5.10ft model is currently in the process of re-registering with the popular Mahogany model agency. She started modeling college fashion shows in 2001 and has developed more passion for the industry since.  After taking a […]

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lornas gallery 052copyUK-based Ghana Lorna Asante is a determined model on the rise.  With her flawless smooth skin and likeable looks, the 5.10ft model is currently in the process of re-registering with the popular Mahogany model agency. She started modeling college fashion shows in 2001 and has developed more passion for the industry since.  After taking a break from active modeling to pursue a career in childcare, Lorna is set to embark on a rigorous comeback.

Lorna’s role models include Tyra Banks, Gisele Bundchen, Iman and Heidi Klum. According to her, she doesn’t do any job that involves nudity, but has been involved in several editorial and runway modeling.  With her adorable and wholesome looks, she has been used in many lifestyle and fitness campaigns for hair and makeup, hands, legs, and eyes.  She would also love to present fashion and entertainment shows, do music videos and try out acting in the new future.

I caught up with Lorna to find out her journey, inspirations her opinion on African fashion, her love for children, her aspirations and more.

Ameyaw Debrah: What inspired you to get into modeling?

I love creativity, travelling, meeting new people, innovation and fashion, therefore a combination of this inspired me.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been some of the major jobs you have done?

Waltham Forest Queen’s Welcoming, Pageant, Diamond Touch in association with Sleek hair.

Ameyaw Debrah: What is your opinion on modeling in Africa?

Brilliant so long as one is not exploited on in terms of nudity and sex, but apart from that bring it on! My auntie has actually bugged me to come and try African modeling and I agree so I have made up my mind to go for it.

Ameyaw Debrah: What’s your opinion on African fashion in general?

I love our rich print fabrics. The core to which it has been designed is amazing! It’s very sad that some African people, including myself, cannot represent in our own clothes and tend to go for European looks.  I respect designers such as Christie Brown who can incorporate western and African design to create richness and haute couture elegantly. I have now started wearing it as a mate recommended a tailor, whom I have used for some dresses/suits. I love it!

Ameyaw Debrah: Do you think African models back home can make it internationally?

It depends, if they are business minded, focused and “in control” yes they can make it. The sky is your limit basically. You take opportunities wisely and perseverance pays off. Modeling is a temporary career and you will be rejected by many. But along the way, remember to pick up skills, learn, be strong and you will also be adored by many.

Ameyaw Debrah: What should young girls aspiring to become top models do to ensure success?

They need to be in control of themselves, respect themselves in terms of dignity/professionalism. They should not go for just anything called a job just to make money and lose “everything else within”. They must do what the Romans do. I say this because for example, the Europeans produce portfolio for clients to view when scouting for models, therefore they must be professional in this sense too. It’s very expensive – I remember mine cost me my monthly salary but it was worth it.

Ameyaw Debrah: What have been your highlights so far?

The highlights so far are modeling for Diamond Touch magazine and modeling for friends when they need to use a model in anything from hair and make up. I also very much enjoyed my time in pageantry such as Miss Ghana UK. I am in talks with a few African designers to model their designs and I have managed to contact one of my favorite companies, Vlisco for future work with them which I very look forward to.

Ameyaw Debrah: What else do you do aside modeling?

I teach in early years because I believe in investing in the future generation and I want to give something back to my community. I also supply childcare services to various homes and schools. I love kids and have had over 500 of them in my care so far. I love designing as well and do this as a hobby with my IT “geekness”. I also interpret/translate for firms and local authorities across England – Twi to English and vice-versa. My new venture now is recording voiceovers for children’s book.

Ameyaw Debrah: if you could change anything in the world what would it be?

I would like to change corruption in Africa and create a system where everyone is treated fairly and with dignity. With a salary package that will enable civil servants/workers to stop taking bribes.  This would make sure that when things like injustice/rape occurs, the law (which hopefully would have been more effective and direct), would deal with this matter with utmost significance and rule accordingly to bring offenders to a deserving punishment. I would also touch on HIV/Aids, an issue so dear to my heart. I will change the perception that some Europeans have of Africa as a “Third World “. I find it insulting and shameful. Who even has the power to brand nations but God? I believe Africa is full of richness in any sense. We have style, swagger, soul, wealth, even unknown to us.  I would also put an end to all suffering by children. They should never ever be allowed to suffer .These are little angels who are innocent and do not deserve that.

lornas gallery 072Ameyaw Debrah: What is your training or exercising regiment like?

Oh I love walking! I probably walk like at least 2 hours a day. If I don’t, I feel as if my legs are swelling, maybe psychological but it feels very uncomfortable especially since I have had a knee operation. I love swimming too and although am not very good at it, I am learning. I enjoy going to the gym too for the treadmill.

Ameyaw Debrah: Any special diets or habits to stay in shape?

I love wholesome foods, i.e. brown bread, wheat, seeds. I am not allergic to anything and I eat almost everything. I love African kebab and Fanta so much that I could live on that, just throw in my favourites, watermelon, grapes and pineapple. I am a big fan of fruits and veggies and cannot live without it. I must have a fruit a day otherwise I crave for it. If you can, don’t eat heavy foods after 6pm – as is typical of Africans – because it does not digest properly before sleep. I usually eat in bits but before you know it I have eaten it all. Stick to brown sugar and avoid fatty foods.

Ameyaw Debrah: What impact do social networks like face book have on your job?

Social Networks are a great shout out points. Yes I have found it very useful as all my friends now know that I want to get back into modeling and will keep me informed of any shoots. In terms of work, yes a couple of designers have shown interest in me modeling their products.

Ameyaw Debrah: What’s the weirdest thing anyone ever told you on these platforms?

Someone told me that he wants me to be his baby mother. I freaked out considering the fact that there was not even a hiya! So silly

Ameyaw Debrah: Who is your favourite photographer?

Expression photography, Rodney Quarcoo I think. I saw a few of his work, and he is good!

Ameyaw Debrah:  What’s your favourite food?

Kebab and jollof rice, fried yam and plantain with turkey tail, and Chinese

Favourite African fashion designers?

I love Christie Brown-Ghana, Sika Designs-London, love Afrik Fashion, Shadders-London

Trendiest fashion accessories of the moment

I love the African prints out now, even the big shops have them in all types of sequential dresses, tops, hats, purses etc. I also love clutch bags such as ones made by Diva Delicious, Kua and Mingle in USA .

Casual or formal wear

Both – I tend to be a bit formal all the time now as you will never know where you will go next.

Thongs or full panties

Full panties for comfortably and thongs for sexiness

Natural or synthetic makeup

I do natural almost all week accept maybe Sunday to church, if am going out or meeting friends. I go to work natural.

Leather watch or metallic watch

Incorporation will be nice but right now I have a metallic watch

Shoes or flip flops

Shoes for formal/corporate events otherwise flip flops all the way,

Roll-on or Deodorant spray

Roll-on lasts longer than deodorant spray. I use both all the time. I prefer the new Sure Women. So good!

Razor or waxing

Razor, I haven’t tried waxing yet except my eyebrows.

Braid, perm, natural hair or extensions

My hair is now natural but I normally braid or put in extension, well it’s time saving really.

Make up or no-makeup

When needed only otherwise natural

lornas gallery 075Tattoo or piercing

Piercing because I think its less painful…..ok maybe not, it’s just hot!

Beer or vodka

I am alcohol free

Cocoa butter or Vaseline

Cocoa butter

Beads or chains

Beads, they are hot and am currently wearing one. It shapes a female nicely

African print or Western fabric

I must admit, I barely wear African prints but I love them so both! I want a good seamstress, that’s the issue

Big handbags or small hand bags

Gosh big bags, I don’t do small bags; I carry the whole world with me. My friends even nicknamed me “walking supermarket” but it benefits them so yeah, I have from medication to tape measure to pads.

Favorite color of clothing

Fuscia,Turquise, blue

Favorite perfume

Hugo XXL, Paco Robanne-Lady Million, Boss-Orange, D&G-Light Blue, Nacisco Rodriguez, Gucci-Guilty, Burbery weekend, Empario Armani-Diamonds, Calvin Klien-Beauty, Obsession, Contradiction, Diesel-Fuel for life, Chanel Chance, Givenchy-Play for her, J.Lo-Miami Glow.

Favourite Makeup

Mac Studio Fix Nw40, Mary Kay foundation 607, Mary Kay Bronzer, Lancôme blusher, Benefit Hoola blusher, Benefit Dr Feel Good cream, Mac glass gloss lip shine.

Favorite fashion designer

Chloe, Gucci, Prada, Armani, Ted Baker, Ralph Lauren, Abercrombie & Fitch, Guess, Cavallaro, Versace, Vera Wang, Anna Sui, CK, Oscar De La Renta , Victoria Secrets, Roberto Carvalli, Gucci, Chloe, Dior, Diesel, Pringle, Celine, Chanel, Jean Paul Gautier, Emporia Armani, and Fendi

Favorite shop

Harrods, Selfridges, high street shops like T.K.Maxx

Favorite hand bag

All shapes from designers: Lulu Guinness, Mui Mui,Colious, Prada, Gucci, Celine, Fendi, SAC &Co, Paul Smith, Roberto Carvalli, Meli Melo, Chameleon, Mulberry and Charlotte Reid

Favorite pair of shoes

D&G, Prada, Gucci and Christian Louboutine

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Asari Music highlights new single ‘Like Dat’, balancing college with music and more

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Week-in week-out I get to interview one of the many faces in showbiz and this week on Ameyaw Meets, Asari Music is the one. She’s a young, upcoming and very talented Ghanaian-American singer – who in case you haven’t heard, is out with the hottest song you might hear all week. (more…)

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People & Lifestyle

I single-handedly popularized Shea Butter in the United States – Margaret Andega

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According to Margaret Andega, a Kenyan entrepreneur in Atlanta, she was the driving force behind the commercialization of Shea Butter in the US during the late 90s. (more…)

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He went from cooking on Instagram to owning a food truck in Atlanta and more… the story of Quabena’s Kitchen

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The COVID-19 pandemic birthed many opportunities for people all over the globe. For one Ghanaian living in the US, the pandemic reconnected him with his passion which has now become a full-time job.

Quabena’s Kitchen shared with me his story about how he went from cooking for family and friends, to sharing content of his cooking on Instagram page at the height of the pandemic, which has now transformed into a thriving catering business in Atlanta, Georgia.

Quabena’s Kitchen services now include a food truck providing Ghanaian and West African delicacies to Africans and non-Africans alike, with ambitions of a restaurant on the cards!

Watch this exciting story on Ameyaw TV below:

Read Also: The chef behind Fufu Pizza is about to open Afro-Fusion Cafe in Atlanta

 

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The chef behind Fufu Pizza is about to open Afro-Fusion Cafe in Atlanta

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US-based Liberian professional chef, Chauncy Yarngo caught the attention of the world with his amazing creations such as fufu pizza, fufu taco, plantain burgers and more. (more…)

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Fashion

Why Ghanaian-American Jeffrey Ampratwum is the menswear expert to watch in fashion!

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At the start of the Victoria era, early 19th century – the English began to tone down the royal style dressing of the French army, namely those adorned in prestigious regalia and heavy embroidery. It was a sign of English nationalism and sparked a new wave of appearance in men. A few decades later, the suit was born and heavily influenced those in Italy and America. The British and the Americans have a rich revolutionary history, of course, and coincidentally the British colonized the African country – Gold Coast – until 1957 when they declared their independence and changed their name to Ghana. 

 

As part of an independent Ghana, a host of individuals began to exercise new freedoms and venture out of the country into new territories. Many Ghanaians set their eyes on American travel and a wave of trail blazers left the country and settled in the infamous New York City. For most, it was an opportunity to plant new seeds in the hopes that their children would be afforded even more opportunities for a prosperous life.

 

One of these children of the diaspora is Bronx-born Jeffrey Ampratwum. The only child to Kate Bampoe and Eugene Asante-Ampratwum Mpere, who met in the Bronx after immigrating from Ghana. The dynamics of having African parents and being raised in a heavily eclectic environment gave rise to Jeffreys style and prose. More importantly, we can honestly say that there are only a handful of Ghanaian-Americans living in the states that can exhibit a special presentation that reflects both their African heritage married with the esthetic of their nationality. We recently caught up with Jeffrey to discuss how his early influences provided him with a framework to now become such a strong force in the menswear industry in fashion.

 

Jeffrey. 

AD: Jeffrey, Ɛte sɛn?

 

Jeff: Haha, Eye.

 

AD: I had to test your Twi really quick! You know most Ghanaians who are born in the states dont have a clue about the language unless its spoken fiercely in the home.

 

Jeff: You are 100% correct with that. Ha. But for me, I was lucky in that my mother took me to Ghana before I even knew how to use words. So, in actuality, Twi was the first language and vocabulary I learned, and in essence, English is my second language. So, Im really decent when it comes to using Twi. Im a cheat code! But keep that quiet. Ha.

  

AD: How much of the remnants of the Ghanaian culture factored into your approach to your style and presentation?

 

Jeff: When I was younger and in school, particularly in the Bronx – it wasnt always your proudest moment to be from Africa or to say your family was African. Part of the silly embarrassment was perhaps from the narratives that were spinning on television. Americans were being indoctrinated with visuals of feed the children” which only highlighted the extreme poverty in a few Africans countries. The images and broadcasts were all the same, for decades. So called philanthropist and humanitarians took camera crews into ravaged areas and televised starving children for us to see here in the states. I believe that had a profound effect on young boys and girls born from African parents.

Jeffrey

However, as for me – I always looked at being dark skinned and being deeply rooted into my African culture as a super power. I liked the idea of being different, even though all the kids in all my classes were also children of immigrants. They just couldnt grasp the concept of it at that time. So, from there, it was showtime. My Uncle, Joseph Ken Mintah – was the pioneer as the first in the family to travel to the states – he had extreme style. My mother also is very detailed with her sense of jewelry and fragrances. I adsorbed it all. 

 

AD: Did you start dressing in traditional African attire? What do you mean exactly?

 

Jeff: Not exactly! But, being an only child really allowed for me to sit deep in thought for long periods of time. Being left-handed allowed for me to be extremely dexterous and detailed. And being raised solely by my mother further allowed me to pay attention to the importance of clothing and accessories – as she dressed herself each morning. It was the ultimate cocktail and I was already drunk with creativity. I started customizing all the clothes I had. By no means were we wealthy, so I had to manage just a few outfits for school.

 

My styling began when I would turn 5 outfits into 15 – so essentially, a 5-day school week became New York Fashion Week for me. I would airbrush my sneakers, turn Old Navy sweaters inside out for a fleece appeal, and cuff my jeans in 4 different ways depending on my footwear. This soon became a bad habit and made me late for school many mornings.

 

AD: You see, if you are late to school in Ghana back then – you might as well have sat by the road to hide from both your mother and headmaster! What was college like for you then?

 

Jeff: Right! Ha. It grew legs during my undergrad. Now all the pretty girls were around, I had more freedom to come and go, and more importantly – I had a stage to showcase my style. I joined a student club in the SEEK Program, and soon became the President and started hosting a string of events based around fashion. 4 years and a bachelors degree later, there were 6 fashion shows and 3 beauty pageants under my belt. Huge successes. I started to doubt my real educational reason for attending college, which was to become a dentist. Fashion was dancing on one shoulder and dentistry on the other. But somehow, I figured out how to still involve the two. My best buddy, Kenny – whom I met at the college on the road to become dentists – made it through. So, I live vicariously through him. And now, coincidentally – together we’ve developed a brand – a service of bespoke mens luxury shoes and women’s handbags, and ready to wear womenswear shoes as well. Named, Kenjeffreys. It is serendipitous because all of the products are sourced and handcrafted in Haiti and infused with Ghanaian culture. As Kenny is from Haiti, we properly employ artisans within the community and focus heavily on our social impact.

Following undergrad, I then began at FIT as student, really just trying to test my styling hand – and to learn more about the industry. While there, I came across extremely talented and knowledgeable fashion professionals that have really guided me. Namely, Sadia Seymour and Joseph DeAcetis. Both wildly experienced, patient and embedded with a wealth of information. Respectfully in womenswear and menswear. You cannot beat that, and I am grateful for it.

 

AD: That is strangely unique and admirable. Talk to us about how all those experiences and inspirations give rise to the Jeffrey or Che we see today and ultimately, where that places you in your field of fashion and menswear.

 

Jeff: Sure. Great point. I have been indoctrinated by the basic principles of creativity as an adolescent – with respect to clothing. That is extremely hard to shake. Innately, styling was my ultimate form of communication, seeing that I was a shy introvert. So now, I still revert back to those same feelings…. the feeling of home, warmth, memories, great food and innocent fun. My approach now is exactly the same in the sense that when I am dressing, styling or designing for someone – I am taking into account their entire repertoire and holding a mirror in front of them which reflects the items that they love most. It is a skill that perhaps only empaths are only able to exhibit.

 

Having the ability to read into thoughts and connecting with the motivating spirits that drives people – is a gift. I ran the New York City marathon three times, and the 2nd time I ran it in a tuxedo! It was my ultimate homage and pledging of allegiance to fashion. Ha.

WhatsApp Image 2022 05 18 at 2.20.33 PM

I also believe my extensive traveling experience has aided to the arsenal. Recent trips to Ghana always resets a creative instinct with me, as I look around and arrive back to a place of self-awareness. It feels right. My cousin Harry knows where to be to capture the real essence of the land. And, coincidentally enough, I am often back and forth to the UK as well. Savile row in London, England -as you know – is a menswear connoisseurs Disney Land. It is the traditional hub for the world’s best tailored-bespoke suits. Naples and Florence are a close second. However, sartorially, the British have etched their names in the fine-art making of the suit. I do though spend most of my time in Brighton, UK. Its where my love is and also like a second home for me. The culture there is infused with various styles and the community is inviting. The Duchess of Brighton-Hove, Lady Donna and her amazing friends will assure that you have a great time! 

 

AB: Finally, talk to us about your styling approach with respect to specific talent that you work with.

 

Jeff: Definitely. This is perhaps an area you cannot teach. It is learned with years of experience and even reading the room wrong most times. I tell my fashion students often that they have to continue shooting airballs at the basket. Get out the miss shots, now – and properly learn your subjects. For example, if I am styling a celebrity for the red carpet – several nuances are to be considered before arriving at a dress or a tuxedo. Such as, what stages in life is your talent currently in, how body conscious are they and what are they most nostalgic about. These (and some of my other secrets that I cannot give away) are the pillars to nailing great style, image and presentation.

WhatsApp Image 2022 05 18 at 2.20.33 PM 1 

If I am shooting for a magazine in a studio – its party time. If you are not dancing as a model or grooving as a photographer, you are are in the wrong business, per say! Haha. With me, you are very liable to hear everyone from Bob Marley, James Brown, MJ, and Jay-Z to Queen, Lady Gaga, Biggie, Nas and Beyonce all on the same playlist. I say that to say: I enjoy what I do in fashion, and I will always represent the joys of that. I believe that is what makes me an enigma in this industry. Always professional however, but make it subjective and inject areas of your creativity wherever you can. Particularly in menswear – I keep a very intimate and close pulse on traditional, casual and street styles of these sub genres – and study them gravely like the science they are. That all still comes from sitting deep in thought as I did
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Baaba Lin chats about her new single ‘Famame’, going solo and RnM amid more juicy bits

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US-based vocal sensation from years prior, Stephanie Baaba Lindsay recently made her official mark as one of the new and exciting voices to ignite the Ghanaian music scene under her new alias Baaba Lin and we couldn’t help but reach out for a session with her to play catch up on today’s episode of Ameyaw Meets.

The new song ‘Famame’ slots in an Afrobeat release which immerses listeners into the joys of one deeply in love, and tops it all off as the kind of dashing debut one would expect from a familiar face like Baaba Lin’s. All in all, it’s a smooth song effortless in reminding fans what they have been missing out on; the rebranded star’s radiant vocals!
But before all this new buzz, Baaba Lin was already a star. She was a part of the female group, RnM together with Denise, January and Tasha – the underdogs who went on to win the first ever Vodafone Icons “Divas Edition” back in 2011. The group also earned relevant nominations for “Best Group” at the 4syte TV Music Video Awards (2012) and Ghana Music Awards (2013) which made it the resounding success story of its time.

Today, the same legend lives on and Baaba Lin seeks to be the industry’s next underdog, and we get to ask her about her new debut ‘Famame’, going solo and what lies ahead for her this year amid more juicy bits.
Dive into the interview below and share your reviews with us after listening to ‘Famame’ here: https://linktr.ee/baabalinofficial

1. Hello Baaba Lin. Kindly, introduce yourself and brand of music.
Hello, I am Baaba Lin and my brand of music is Afrobeat & Afro-fusion.

2. And out of nowhere you’re out with a dashing new single ‘Famame’ to kickstart your solo career. Tell us everything there is to know about it.

Lol, it wasn’t out of nowhere. I took a hiatus from music after I had my son and just wanted to focus on him during his formative years, but I never left music. I was always writing and recording and waiting for the right time to return as a solo act.

3. How many years has this move to go solo been in the making?

I would say about 5 years, because I had always thought our group was going to get back together at some point, because we were great together, but I also realized that distance as well as our individual lives evolving will make that difficult. So, I started thinking of the solo route.

4. RnM was a big deal in its day, as some will remember. Mind giving fans closure on why you feel it disbanded after so many years? You all still talk?

Awwwwww, first of all, I would like to say, I love and appreciate our fans. I’m sure we all do as a group and I want to thank them for their continued love and support after all these years. It’s remarkable and I hope they will continue to support us individually. RnM disbanded like I said earlier, due to distance and our individual lives evolving. I was in the States, Tasha was in and out of Ghana and January was in and out of Ghana as well, so it was quite difficult scheduling around each other and thus we had to move on but with love and yes, we all still talk to this day and support each other. I love them so much.

5. Between then and now there’s been lots of lost years. What was going on all this while behind the scenes?

Well, I was being a mom, recording, writing, working and performing at small local events, you know, just lowkey.

6. The Ghanaian music scene may seem so familiar to you, yet so different to the likes of us and with streaming being a game changer, next to plenty new faces. How do you think you’d fit in?

The Ghanaian music scene has definitely advanced tremendously since our time because streaming platforms and social media wasn’t as big and prominent as it is now and there’s so many amazing artists out as well which is remarkable and I love that for us because it makes us as artist want to work harder and be better with our craft. So, I believe I will absolutely fit in just fine because it motivates me to hone in on my craft and keep bringing my audience and Ghanaians great music.

7. Before you go, what’s the remainder of 2022 looking like for you? More releases, features, an EP?

2022 is not yet over so expect more releases. I’m working on my EP but I don’t know if I want it out this year or next year either way, I will keep everyone posted and they can keep up with me on all my socials – Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, but it’s coming. And God willing a video as well. Fingers crossed.

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