Five Minutes With… Adwoa Aboah
What is the one thing you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?
I would have told myself – and actually I still tell myself – that, I’m not sure when or where, but everything will fall into place eventually. There’s light at the end of the tunnel so you’ve just got to keep pushing through.
How did the idea for Gurls Talk first come about?
It was an idea that I’d had for a long time, that came from that need to have someone closer to my age to have frank and confidential conversations with, so that I wouldn’t feel as alone as I did as a teenager. There was no one at school saying things like, “You might take drugs, drink, lose your virginity to someone that you wish you hadn’t”, and giving the space to talk about it. When I was at Cottonwood – the rehab centre I went to in Arizona – with other recovering addicts, we all put our differences aside, we were speaking to each other and building each other up. There was no guilt or shame. It was group therapy and that’s essentially the concept I’ve taken for Gurls Talk. But the point of Gurls Talk is that it doesn’t have to get to that point and it shouldn’t get to that point, like it did for me.
What are you most excited for at the Gurls Talk x Coach Festival this weekend?
I can’t wait to see friends and family and all the Gurls Talk people that I’ve met along the way, and new faces too. There’s so much amazing stuff going on too. I can’t wait to hear the professor Kathryn Abel speak, and also the sexuality panel with Hari Nef.
Who is the woman – or women – who has inspired you the most?
There are so many! One of my aunties inspires me beause of how easily she shows her emotions and she isn’t ever afraid to cry. My mum, for her work ethic – she might not show her emotions in public very much but she’s a total power woman. My grandma, who watched four of her children die before her, she’s a powerhouse. They’re all proof of how much we as people and as women can cope with and survive. My friends too – Cara, Jazzy, all of them – and also my Gurls Talks girls, for their honesty and bravery. They’ve all overcome a lot to be in the place they are now.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I have quite a few. I have a big sweet tooth, staying up all night to binge-watch a box set, and chain smoking.
Do you have a secret talent or surprise party trick?
It’s not a secret – I’m literally one of the best dancers in the world! I mean, not everyone would necessarily agree with that. I’m a bit of an attention seeker so I’m always looking for a table or some height to get up on and dance.
Who would play you in the film biopic of your life?
What is the most treasured item in your wardrobe and where/when did you get it?
I’ve got a lot of jewellery that I love – whether it costs a pound or whatever, it’s all precious to me. But my most treasured piece of clothing is the red and yellow Prada coat that I bought when I got sober. Rihanna has it too. That’s the thing that I wouldn’t want to lend to anyone!
What song or album could be the soundtrack to your life?
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, without a doubt.
Where is your favourite place in the world and what makes it so special?
My house, in London, on my sofa. I’ve lived here for 25 years, and that sofa has been where I’ve had serious conversations, happy conversations, lauhs, boyfriends, friends, family, non-boyfriends, everyone has sat with me on that sofa.
What was your life goal aged 10?
I was quite chilled really, but I thought I wanted to be a runner.
And what is it now?
Eventually I want to be able to open a Gurls Talk centre. I’d really like to have children – that’s a big thing for me. And I’d love to do a Ted Talk.
The Gurls Talk x Coach festival featuring talks, panel discussions, pop-ups and workshops is on Saturday July 1 at 180 The Strand. Head to Gurlstalk.com for more information.