"I think If you don't like being in your skin it doesn't matter how many times people say you're beautiful, or how many jobs you get, or whatever it is," said Aboah.
You might not know her by name, but you probably recognize Adwoa Aboah's sleepy gaze, freckles, and low-cut hair from your favorite fashion mag. The model is one of the latest stars to strip down in front of the StyleLikeU lens for their "What's Underneath Project" video series.
Although the 23-year-old is used to being in the spotlight, the project, which explores the theme of true style as self-acceptance, made her nervous.
"I am quite nervous. I'm not sure it's about taking the clothes off though. I think it's just about what kind of questions you're gonna ask," she told producers.
Aboah disclosed some candid details about her personal struggles with self-hate and recalls forming an addiction to drugs as a London teen in boarding school. Surprisingly, modeling didn't do much to alter her self image.
"I think If you don't like being in your skin it doesn't matter how many times people say you're beautiful, or how many jobs you get, or whatever it is. I just didn't want to be Adwoa."
She only recently found the inner strength to push back against negative personal perceptions of herself, but she's making up for lost time and paying it forward with a new project "Gurls Talk". It will create safe spaces in schools for young women to open up about anything.
WANT MORE FROM ESSENCE? Subscribe to our daily newsletter for the latest in hair, beauty, style and celebrity news.