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Ebonee Davis: 'My goal is to empower black people'

EMPOWERING EBONEE: The 25-year-old model wants to change the world

Q: What were you up to in London when you visited in earlier this year?

A: I [had] just signed a modelling contract with Select Modelling Agency in London so I went to meet the team and make my introduction into the UK market. I also went to host my first Breakfast With Ebonee event.

Q:The Breakfast with Ebonee event was an intimate meeting with a group of inspirational black women from London, what made you want to do this?

A: I hosted Breakfast with Ebonee because it is my goal to connect black women across the diaspora and engage in discussions centered around healing and empowerment. My own personal journey of self love and evolution inspired my publicist Koshie Mills to create and curate the event on my behalf.

My journey was a rough process and I found myself isolated and shut off from the world as I worked toward deprogramming self-sabotaging behaviours that had been engrained in me from childhood, removing myself from spaces and relationships that no longer served my growth and adjusting my choices to align with my aspirations. If I had a community like the one I am working toward creating, I wouldn’t have struggled so much and felt so alone. I want to give that to other black women who may be experiencing the same thing.

Q: Chidera Eggurue aka The Slumflower, Cassandra Lokko and Fisayo Longe were among those in attendance. How did you decide on which women to invite?

A: The women chosen to attend was a collaborative effort between Koshie and I to have young black creatives and influencers in the industry represented at the gathering to share our stories and empower ourselves and our audiences.

Q: You've spoken about issues around inclusion within the modelling industry and the wider impact these have outside the industry. What are some of the improvements that you think need to be made now?

A: Quite honestly, I am tired of trying to force or even ask for change within the fashion industry. For me, it’s no longer a matter of asking for a seat at the table, it’s a matter of building my own. It is my hope that the industry continues to expand its narrow idea of beauty but I don't want my success as a model or human being to ever be contingent on someone else’s choices.

The goal now is to empower black people to create for themselves. With the internet and social media, there aren't the same limitations there were in the past; the days of gatekeeping are over. If there’s something you want to do, get out there and do it. Don't wait for the industry to make space for you. Make space for yourself.

Q: You're an inspiration to many women and young girls. Who are some of the women who inspire you and why?

A: Oprah inspires me the most because she is a woman who speaks openly about the adversity she overcame and the value of using your past trauma to illuminate the path for others. That’s what I want to do. I want black kids around the world to know that it’s okay to be themselves and that there is power in sharing their stories and walking in their truth. There is nothing shameful about being black.

Q: What exciting projects have you got planned or coming up that you can tell us about?

A:I am currently writing a book and working on a documentary that will center around identity, mental heal and healing generational trauma. I am so excited to share my story and hopefully inspire others to do the same.

Q: You're known for wearing your natural hair in real life and in campaigns, tell me about your relationship with your hair now and why it's so important for it to be visible in mainstream modeling?

A: From the time I started wearing my hair natural in 2016, I have made it a priority to express myself authentically rather than allowing industry standards to dictate how I present myself as a model.

A lot of my growth has been spiritual and that spiritual growth has manifested into my physical experience. My natural hair is the physical manifestation of my soul’s expansion and evolution.

The decision to wear my hair natural was my tipping point into consciousness. I had to de-programme my mind and the limiting beliefs I had about myself so that I could actually be myself. That’s what it’s all about, having the courage to be yourself in a world that constantly makes you feel inadequate.

Black people need to know that it’s okay to be themselves and that they are good enough. That’s why I decided to wear my hair natural and stick with it even after being told that I wouldn't work and that I would lose jobs. It was the best decision I have ever made in my life.

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