Fashion of Thursday, 2 August 2012
Source: Adeyemi Adebayo Victor-GhanaWeb
Grace Sarfo Kantanka is just 22 years of age and the runway is already her playground, at present, she is the Model of the Year in Ghana, whose status has put off fear as she has had to battle inferiority complex among her peers, both in the changing room, on the runway and amongst those she sometimes feel she had won their trust.
There are privileges and setbacks, thus, Grace opened all to GhanaWeb without holding anything back. She spoke on the deal which she had to appear on the front cover of an international magazine and hell has since broken loose because she came out nude. ‘Professionalism was at play out there’, she told us.
She couldn’t hold back the lack of respect she faced and yet many more coming models still face same.
Having come into the modeling scene in 2008 after watching and getting inspired by her mentor, Belinda Baidoo, she has since never looked back and thus three years later, in 2011, she bagged the Model of the Year Award at the maiden edition of the Ghana Fashion Awards. A big boost to her passion…the dark sleek beauty spoke of different issues that have built her steadfastness and zeal to push further when we caught up with her...one on one!
It’s been over a year now, but we will still have to say congratulations on your award as the Model of the Year at the last Ghana Fashion Awards 2011. How has the feeling been so far?
The feeling has been great and appreciated on every passing day. I am been so grateful to God and the organizers for the entire concept.
What led you into modeling?
I was watching the TV one day sometime in 2008, then this young lady by name Berlinda Baidoo was just talking about modeling and how she has made it and how she has been relegated to the background because of her color…and then she inspired me with the words of never giving up on your dreams and aspiration. I was triggered that day because earlier on when I decided to do this, my peers do tease me with my dark color and here I was watching Berlinda talking on the advantages of my color. Then soon I was introduced to her by a cousin and the rest they say is history now.
Psychologically, has modeling affected any aspect of your life, family or relationship?
Yes it has. Modeling has brought me this far. I am very passionate about it when I talk about this and as well I cry when I get to say that it almost marred my family relationship with my mum. She is a strict Pentecostal Deaconess and you can imagine the kind of looks she may probably get from people around when they get to know that I am the lady on the bill board posed semi nude. It has somehow hinted my mind on it but this is just professionalism and it is what I do as a career and I guess she understands as well as I have cautioned my approach to certain shoots I do now.
Some of the platforms and countries you have graced as a model?
I have been on over 25 runways and yet I still feel that there is more to do. I am just still starting my career but I have been on the FIMA in Niger and the late Gaddafi’s birthday celebration in Libya which was courtesy of the renowned Alphadi from Niger. I have also been on the Be Bold Fashion Show, Canoe 53 Sails, Ghana Fashion Train, the Launch of Glitz Magazine, and many more.
Will you do anything to meet your client’s requirement as a model?
Professionally yes. As I just told you that I have had to go on a photo shoot for a magazine without anything on. Well that is my job and after that nothing else. Luckily in my case, it was a lady who was the photographer.
[Cut in…]Would you have rejected if it were a male?
I am not saying that I would have ran out of the studio had it been a male, but I am just pointing out that I have grown to understand what professionalism is and I apply it in my career.
Why did you leave your seat at the Ghana Fashion Awards before your name was mentioned, was it fear of losing out?
No. I was just tensed, that’s all. This is my first major award for my hard work in the last four years and I guess you know how the feeling is like.
What are some of the challenges you have had to face as a model?
I have had to face a great deal of prejudice among some peers. My color has really brought me tears and smiles. When I was growing up, my peers do tease me with my dark color and even now that I am matured, I still face a lot of that even from those I feel should rather encourage me but that’s life though. Along all these challenges, I must confess that my dark color skin has brought me this far. I really thank God and appreciate his hand work in my life. Apart from my skin color, models aren’t respected here in Ghana and it hurts. I want to see a time that credence will be given to model.
Do you want to say that no model has become ‘big’ whilst practicing in Ghana?
Can you name anyone of them who have made it big on the world stage coming from Ghana? They all go outside Ghana and then make it there before coming back home. Ghanaians don’t respect models and it is high time we give some respect to the passion that has also put us on world map. We have great models that have done Ghana proud, from the likes of Berlinda Baidoo, Pearl Amoah, Selassie Shirley, Kate Mensah, Hamamat, etc.