Teiko Dornor, a London-based Ghanaian is one of Africa’s rising stars. As a plus size model, Dornor has trailblazed to break barriers in the often exclusive and discriminatory fashion industry. In celebration of Ladybrille’s Anniversary issue, we honor Ms. Dornor with the moniker of Modelpreneur! She is a powerful combination of beauty, brains and business savvy! From her almond shaped eyes, inviting lips and statuesque hourglass silhouette, there is a regality and mysticism about Dornor’s beauty.
Dornor started modeling as a favor to her friend and designer Tina Atiemo. Whether by divine intervention or chance, her emergence in the fashion industry is unmistakable. Nonetheless, launching her modeling career was quite daunting; Dornor was consistently confronted by blunt suggestions that she shed size. The volatility of working as a model sharply contrasted the overbooked schedule of her student life. Unlike the high marks she was accustomed to receiving in her law studies; her success in fashion was somewhat intangible. Struck by the absence of faces and figures like herself, Dornor capitalized on this forgotten yet lucrative niche market.
The plus size model industry is competitive and more so for an African woman. A plus size model faces certain challenges beyond those of her mainstream counterparts including not fitting into sample sizes. Still, Dornor continues to persevere and set precedent. She has set her sights on becoming the face of a premier fashion house, couture line or international fashion campaign.
Although celebrating her curves was challenging, Dornor credits her faith in God as inspiring her high self-worth. Dornor’s positive and peaceful spirit is seductive. Her optimism is strengthened by plus size models such as Whitney Thompson recently emerging as America’s Next Top Model. As African fashion evolves, Dornor has dared producers and designers of Lanlam and Zambia fashion weeks to insist on using models beyond the prototype featured in Western fashion runways. Refacing fashion is desperately needed, as runway models perish competing to achieve nonsensical weight standards and negative self image is prevalent among young women. The recent campaign to ban underweight models first promulgated by Spain is a critical step in ceasing casualties. Dornor’s vision? One day fashion will promote an array of models, shapes and silhouettes such that virtually every woman is represented.
So what’s next for this exquisite enchantress beyond global domination? Since 2006, she and her business partner Joi Onyeukwu founded Miss Plus Africa. Dornor has used this platform to promote her two passions: reshaping the notion of beauty and reconstructing the image of Africa. The pageant is a vehicle to raise the consciousness of her audience and raise capital. There are more projects in the pipeline for this young lady, so watch out for her! Teiko Dornor is indeed a symbol and celebration of African beauty. She is the international brand for curves and command. As is proclaimed in Ghana- ‘Onyame Adom” (by God’s grace), this Modelpreneur will continue to shine!
Article by Nana Danquaah Osafo.
First Published June 2008