Why Adwoa Aboah has taken over Stylist this week

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The model and activist is the second star to guest edit Stylist as part of our 10th birthday celebrations. Here’s what to expect from her takeover… 

This autumn, Stylist turns 10. Double digits. A whole decade of exploring what it means to be a woman who wants more from their world – whether that’s delving into the curse of night time anxiety, covering women’s rights around the globe, or challenging the hypocrisy of middle class cocaine use. We’re proud to have had a strong feminist ethos ever since we launched in 2009, meaning that we’ve never promoted diet tips or suggested that finding a romantic partner should be a woman’s first priority. Most of all, we want women to feel seen, heard and celebrated by Stylist.

So when it came to deciding how we should mark 10 years of Stylist, we could think of no better way than inviting 10 remarkable women – each of whom embody the Stylist ethos in a different way – to guest edit an issue. First up was actor and activist Brie Larson, whose takeover in February saw the Captain Marvel star commission, edit and approve articles on everything from tarot readings to trans rights.

And our second guest editor is another individual who sums up what it means to be a Stylist woman: Adwoa Aboah. The London-born model and activist is an outspoken voice for mental health awareness, who talks candidly about her own experiences with depression and addiction. As well as working with causes and charities including the Time’s Up movement, Save the Children and the Justice for Grenfell campaign, Aboah also founded Gurls Talk, a supportive online and offline community for young women to discuss everything from mental health to sexuality and body image. And she does all this alongside her day job of starring in campaigns and shows for fashion houses like Burberry, Versace and Chanel. Phew. 

Adwoa Aboah and Gurls Talk members on the cover of Stylist

“Adwoa embodies everything Stylist stands for and what it means to be a remarkable woman,” says Ella Dolphin, CEO of The Stylist Group.

“Not only is she a global fashion icon, she’s using that recognition to tackle inequality and injustice in an authentic and practical way. Adwoa and the other incredible guest editors we’ve chosen for our anniversary year reflect our commitment and dedication to celebrating women and championing those that need a voice.”

Aboah used her takeover to reflect on her heroes, unearth her passions and explore issues that fascinate her, from the working lives of NHS nurses to the art of drag make-up. For the issue’s cover stars, she chose six members of Gurls Talk – one of whom also interviews her, addressing subjects from the authors who inspire her to the one thing she’ll never change about herself.

Among the issue’s guest contributors are author Matt Haig, who discusses the ways men can break through their own ‘glass ceiling’ when it comes to talking about mental health, and journalist Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, who uses her column to defend sex workers’ rights

Suddenly our battered black umbrella seems so plain…

Aboah spent two months creating, commissioning and approving every article featured in her takeover, in addition to creative directing the issue’s fashion and beauty shoots.

“Taking over Stylist has been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate all the things I love and I hope that anyone reading it gets as much enjoyment from it as I had making it,” she writes in her editor’s letter.

“This issue is dedicated to all the beautifully different girls out there, to the countless people who inspire me and the courageous people who speak their truths, no matter the stigma or however taboo the world might deem it to be.”

See everything from Adwoa Aboah’s guest edit of Stylist here.

Images: Sarah Brick for Stylist 

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Moya Crockett

Moya is Contributing Women’s Editor at stylist.co.uk and Deputy Editor of Stylist Loves, Stylist's daily email newsletter.