Dorothy Tenkorang: overlooking capable black model?

“I’m still confused as to why the colour of my skin determines whether I am a good model or not” dorothy-tenkorang4.jpg6th March 2009: A female model’s clothes, shoes and handbags can be more important than a man in her life. That may sound strange but it is true. If you doubt it, then ask Dorothy Tenkorang, a London based model from Ghana. Dorothy affirms this with smile and a tone that may leave you wondering whether she means what she is saying or not. If you’d like to find out, contact her, but don’t say I tell you.

Any man hoping to have a special place in Dorothy’s life should know that he has to be very understanding. Dorothy says this of her ideal man. He has to be “Preferably someone that understands that my clothes, shoes and handbags come before him.”

Jokes aside, Dorothy is a bubbly, ambitious, hardworking and trustworthy person. Some say she is a little bit stubborn at times.

She has been a model for almost a year now, and has been enjoying every bit of it. “I remember going in for my casting with the agency, nervous as ever especially as there were queues of girls clutching portfolios all hoping to be selected.”

Dorothy didn’t anything to show apart from herself. “I was ecstatic when I was handed the contract,” she says, adding that “I have a lot to achieve but I’m proud of how far I’ve come in a year and I’m determined to work even harder.”

Asked why she chose to become a model, Dorothy says: “Simple really, I love clothes and the freedom of expression that modelling allows. To me, modelling is acting without the script. It allows me to portray an array of characters while wearing fabulous clothes!!!”

She also loves the challenges modelling throws at models. “In the morning you could be dressed as a dolly advertising a dress, in the afternoon you could be emulating a rockstar advertising jewellery. It’s the fun of having the freedom to bring whatever you have been asked to advertise alive,” she says.

Dorothy is happy of being a model, “I’m doing something that I really enjoy.”

dorothy-tenkorang5.jpgAt times she has a habit of focusing on what’s next, “What magazine would I like to be featured in next? What Fashion Show would I love to book next? What’s next, what’s next, what’s next!” Her friends who easily notice when she is taken up by thoughts of what next, always advise her to stop and enjoy the moment. “I’ve been fortunate to work with models that a year ago I was at home admiring the quality of their work,” she says.

Dorothy holds that for one to be successful in life, he/she must first of all believe in him/herself, be “surrounded by positive people” and network.

Dorothy’s Theatre Studies have allowed her to enjoy whatever role she is given. “I’d describe myself as a method actor (going into the character’s mind), becoming the person and creating a lifelike performance. I think acting caters to my split personality syndrome (which my friends and family insist I have). I can be an array of characters and blame it on the criteria of the photoshoot, the fashion show or the character I am trying to portray. Modelling keeps me sane,” she says proudly.

Dorothy is at the moment satisfied with her “fast metabolism.” She has, however, been warned that this does not last forever! “If all else fails, plus size modelling as it’s highly unlikely I’ll be going on the cabbage soup diet.”

Asked what she’d like to achieve in life, Dorothy says: “I’d just like to be able to look back and know that I worked hard, laughed while doing it and have something to show for it. I’d like to think that I’ve learnt from every mistake made and would love to be a positive role model for others.”

And to the young people aspiring to become models, Dorothy has some advice for you. “Do it for yourself, don’t do it for somebody else. Know what type of Modelling you want to do and see if you fit the criteria. Know what you are comfortable with. Never do something you are uncomfortable with. Do your research about the industry, be prepared for the hard work, have a laugh and enjoy it. You only live once.”

Dorothy is particularly mad at racism in the Fashion industry. “I’m still confused as to why the colour of my skin determines if I am a good model or not. I thought it was about being able to bring the clothes alive and self expression! I’m not here to promote positive discrimination, I don’t believe a model should be used just because a ‘black face’ is needed. If a black model is capable of doing the job why is she or he being overlooked?” she asks.

Dorothy is committed to fight racism in the industry with all her resources. “Like it or not, we will keep highlighting the fact that racism is accepted in the world of fashion. Things are changing and will keep changing. We are not going anywhere…”


Full name: Dorothy Tenkorang
Age: 23
Place of birth: France
Parents’ country of origin: Ghana
Height: 5’9
Dress size: 8
Weight: 57 Kg
Eyes: Dark Brown
Hair colour: Black
Educational background: A Levels – Theatre Studies, French and English Literature.

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By Stephen Ogongo

Blonde model is Miss Ukraine Universe 2009

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