A magazine for Africans and friends of Africa...Our Voices, Our Vision, Our Culture

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Amanda Annan
By Ezinne Ukoha

British model Amanda Annan is as breathtaking as she is ambitious. Her background certainly explains her exotic looks. Her father is Ghanian and her mother from Martinique. She was raised in London and it was there at the age of 17 that she was discovered. While holding down a part-time gig at a clothing store, a make-up artist approached Amanda at the gym and after inquiring about her background, exclaimed that she was working on the wrong side of her profession – she needed to be in front of the camera. She promptly hooked her up with an agent at the then top agency, Unique Model Management. That pretty much jumpstarted her remarkable career taking her literally all over the world.

Her striking features and enviable rapport with the camera has made her the favorite for fashion shoots in the world’s most glamorous cities, London, Paris, Milan and New York. When asked about the challenges of being a fashion model of African descent, Amanda is realistic and speaks with candor, “there is still a tendency to use fewer black models and more caucasians, so skin color is still an issue.” She also cites the fact that Naomi Campbell has managed to break all the barriers in the modeling world by maintaining her place as the only true black supermodel. Somalian born Iman also made Amanda's list of African models she has grown to admire and respect.

 

But Amanda Annan is ready to expand her horizons and put her budding acting skills into some good use.  “Modeling can be time-consuming, and as an actor you are constantly working on yourself, using yourself as a vessel.” Now at 28, and still displaying that youthful appeal she is eagerly looking forward to future projects that will put her in front of the camera in a different capacity.  

She is currently based in Los Angeles, but shuttles back and forth to London where she has a TV hosting gig with Brit Celeb TV, It’s the perfect format for Annan who gushes about how she “loves people” and enjoys interviewing actors and celebrities alike. She also has managed to parlay her unique communication skills into the world of documentary. She teamed up with Virgin Impessario Sir Richard Branson to document their charity trip to Kenya where they spent extensive time with the Masai Mara tribe, an indigenous people of that region and the mission was to help re-build a school that was in otherwise intolerable condition.  In the process they were able to equip the students with much needed necessities.  Amanda got quite passionate when discussing this life altering trip; “there were 10 of us staying at the Game Reserve, and [we] were able to get dormitories built and beds were provided, we basically revamped the school.” The documentary is currently in post-production and the hope is that it will be showcased at one of the yearly film festivals or featured on the cable network HBO. The end result of this incredible undertaking was that money was raised for the sole purpose of providing education to African children. Not a bad way to use your looks to get what you want!

 

This is definitely just a small slice of Amanda Annan’s dedication to charity work. After all, she is also the niece of Kofi Annan. No doubt this has helped inspire her desire to give back – in a BIG way. She is also hugely involved in CAMFED  (Campaign for Female Education), an organization dedicated to raising money to provide education for young women in 5 African countries who do not have the means or access to get quality education. Annan stresses the importance of this organization because of how instrumental it is in improving the quality of life of these young girls.

“We provide money, uniforms, school fees, and hostels to help the quality of life for the girls and especially to help relieve the financial burden of their parents so they are more apt to encourage them to stay in school.” This program has produced doctors, lawyers and professionals in every major field. And they in turn, have founded their organization, CAMA, and as the alumni of CAMFED their mission is also to give back.

 

Amanda also started her own charity, ETC (Educate the Children). She hopes to use it as a vehicle to emphasize the importance of education and provide this option to disadvantaged kids. Annan makes it very clear that that charity work is something that should come naturally and not be forced. When asked which celebrities she thinks play their part when it comes to giving back to their community and the world at large, she exclaims that Angelina Jolie is “amazing!” her hubby Brad Pitt also makes the list, along with the “Big O” (Oprah) and Nelson Mandela. But she still believes a lot more could be done by celebrities, given their privileged status. “Charity has to be about passion and a lot of celebrities are not sincere. I can’t name a lot of them that do great things, maybe athletes because they have a need to give back.” “They try, but they can do a lot more to be catalysts for change”.

 So what does a supermodel whose second job is making a major difference in the world do to chill out and re-boot? She heads to the one place in the world where she is the happiest  - Parrot Cay in Turks and Caicos. “Its phenomenal!” “It's like a dream, I could stay there all day.”  

 Amanda Annan has managed to create a healthy balance of conquering the competitive world of high fashion and dedicating her time to meaningful pursuits of justice for those who have no voice. She hopes to continue to excel in both arenas and hopefully land a TV hosting deal here in the United States. And that’s something to look forward to. Its about time America discovers its Model citizen in Amanda Annan.   

 

 

 

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