#ShesGotVERVE - Why We Love Adwoa Aboah

Adwoa if you’re reading this (that would be amazing) I want to thank you for responding so kindly and promptly to my daughters’ IG message. You give a fuck. That’s a beautiful thing.

Adwoa Aboah

Model and Feminist activist Adwoa Aboah

I had everything, but I felt nothing

In 2014 after several attempts at rehab for treatment of her addiction and depression Aboah tried to kill herself. She was 22 years old.

I just felt more and more tired, but I thought, ‘I’ve got to keep up the pretence, keep it together

A stiff upper lipped Brit Aboah was raised and educated in an environment where discussions about emotions let alone mental health had no place and those brave enough to bring it up were subjects of ridicule.

I came from a privileged background, which I am entirely grateful for, but it played a part in my feeling that I couldn’t complain about my own emotions… I never felt like my feelings, emotions, and problems were important enough, and as a result, I never felt comfortable discussing them with anyone.

Although her first visits to rehab were unsuccessful they weren’t without some profound learning experiences. Including the revelation that talking with other women about the universal experience of being born female is one of the most effective types of therapy.  

When you talk, you realize that the pains and worries you feel are universal; you no longer feel alone in your sadness…….You relate and find comfort in the fact that there are other women going through the same things as you are.

In 2015 Aboah started an instagram account as a forum for women and girls to share thoughts and stories. Today GURLSTALK IG now has over 95.6K followers.  

The goal is to get women to speak openly about their experiences. often they aren’t looking for answers or a solution, they just want someone to talk to. That is exactly what it is all about. I want women to talk about their experiences without fear or judgment….

Since then her vision has expanded beyond Instagram. The website GURLSTALK  is a platform Aboah created to embolden girls to share their stories about eating disorders, sex, mental health, addiction and “just whatever we want”.

I couldn’t believe talking was that simple, I thought it would be something so complicated

On July 1st 2017 GURLS TALK held its first ever day-long festival. The event was free thanks to a partnership with Coach and help from Dazed. The day was free and open to the public with Aboah kicking it off in an inspiring talk that set the tone for what was a day full of workshops, pop-ups, and discussions. With over 700 women attendees the event was by all accounts a huge success and Aboah hopes to make it an annual event.

I call myself a feminist and I’m proud to say that, but I think the modern-day feminist can be anyone. It can be a model on the cover of a magazine, it can be a mother of five, it can be a working woman, a woman who chooses to stay at home, a woman who decides not to shave her armpits in protest—it really can be anyone drawn to the idea of equality.

#ShesGotVERVE

Article by Anna Quick-Palmer