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Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku on her phenomenal career and life as an activist

Naa Ashorkor Mensah-Doku has always been the relentless and stunning Ghanaian girl who will smash any ceiling and make space for other ladies.

As a woman, she has come into her own endearing herself to many people across Africa.

Having first stolen the hearts of many with her impeccable hosting skills as the host of Youth-Oriented show, ‘New Generation’, she transitioned to the silver screens with a supporting role in a Sparrow Productions movie, ‘Scorned’ and chalked a leading girl role alongside Jackie Appiah and Lydia Forson in “A Perfect Picture”.

Critics described the movie as the birth of new age Ghanaian cinema, snagging several awards including best actress role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards.

A storied broadcaster, public relations officer and entrepreneur, Naa continues to blaze the trail in several fields refusing to let labels and challenges draw her back.

With a 2.2-million-strong following on social media, Naa Ashorkor has led some game-changing projects that focus on women empowerment, girls in STEM, postpartum depression and motherhood.

I speak to Ashorkor on her success, challenges and aspirations for the new year as she hosts the 3 Music Awards in a few days.

This is the second time I will be speaking to Naa Ashorkor for an interview.

The first was at the onset of my career as a fashion journalist when she had a fairytale wedding and was the talk of the internet.

She was quite graceful with a young enthusiastic journalist to dissect her brand and her private life. 7 years down the line, I’m back again to dissect her brand for Glamour.

This time we’ve both matured in physique and career but little has changed about the character and values that have made her a phenomenal TV Star.

She’s still hard working, goal-oriented, focused and glamorous.

Immediately, I enter the room where she is seated on the floor helping her friend and stylist, Sumaiya prepare for a Club House session for Women Designers, she looks up and smiles at me then beckons me to join her.

I quickly notice something distinctive about Naa, she is the embodiment of glamour and this is not defined just by the trend-setting clothes she adorns herself with. It’s indeed her spirit, soul and her experiences that makes her a woman of glamour.

We quickly erupt into fits of laughter over a joke she shares then switch into a rather serious conversation on the COVID-19 which she contracted a few months back and her recovery. She is honest in her responses as we talk about life, career, marriage, her two energetic sons and losing a new job and landing a new one while still being the people’s glamorous girl.

Glamour South Africa sits with this Glamorous Actress and host who is impacting the lives of women in the world with her platform in an exclusive interview.

You went public with your COVID-19 status at a time when there was so much stigma around the virus and a lot of conspiracy theories. What motivated a very private person like you to make such a daring move?

It was tough. Coming from a healthy and fit stage of my life to experiencing a life-threatening condition. I felt it was an opportunity for me to use my influence to create awareness about the virus as at the time, there were a lot of conspiracy theories and doubt about the existence of the virus.

Coming out to speak about it was not a difficult decision.

I was shocked when I got it. I don’t have any underlying health conditions, I eat well, and I work out frequently. Catching the virus made me realise that no one was safe, anyone could catch it, I just had to speak up about it.

I’m really glad I shared.

I am glad I could help with the education about the virus from a survivor's point of view. It truly was an insightful time in my life.

Thankfully, You’ve recovered since your first announcement. What has changed about your body??

I have fully recovered, thankfully,

I gained a ton of weight while I was sick. Some of my symptoms were; having an insatiable appetite that had me craving and eating chocolate cake, constant hunger coupled with insomnia.

I could barely exercise, because my energy levels were at an all time low - consequently , I gained some weight which I'm still trying to lose.

Radio Presenter, Actress, Model, Activist, Humanitarian, PR and Events Host. How has the journey been since your debut on TV Africa’s New Day??

My journey has been steady.

I have gone from point A to B steadily and I’m still going and growing from the experience at every point. I have met some really amazing people and had the humbling opportunity of mentoring several young ladies.

Do you miss your life before the ‘fame’??

My life hasn’t changed much, I still have the same friends, still do what I used to do.

There isn’t much to miss really. I am the same Teshie girl I’ve always been.

As a mother of two, what is the one lesson you’ve learnt about motherhood??

Women are amazing.

Being a mother is the most beautiful and most complicated thing that has happened to me.

One thing I’ve learnt is that there is so much they don’t tell us about motherhood especially when it comes to the physical and mental health of new moms.

That is why I am determined to use platforms like “When Baby Comes “ to educate new parents about postpartum depression, postpartum body image issues etc

‘When A Baby Comes’ is your newest baby. Lol!! How did such a deep and insightful platform about postpartum depression, family life, breastfeeding and body positivity come to be ??

My personal discoveries and the shock motherhood brought to me as well as some interactions I had with new mothers.

It opened my eyes to how little information about such experiences is out there and I wanted to create a space where mothers felt comfortable to share their struggles and seek support from other moms .

Name 3 women who have impacted your career positively? And what is the one thing you admire about them?

Sumaiya - Pistis Ghana

I admire her honesty, resilience, her ability to adapt and grow in any situation.

Apeafa Nfojoh - TV3

I appreciate her friendship, her ‘can do’ spirit and her thoughtfulness

My Mom & sisters (Sharon, Stephanie &Paula) -

All that I am , is the direct results of the upbringing my mother gave me. I admire her graceful demeanour, her kindness and her resilience. My sisters are the backbone, I don't know where I'd be without them. They make it possible for me to be -me.

As a role model who inspires young girls all over Africa, what are some of the measures you think should be put in place to ensure young girls make it to the top especially in STEM??

Practical stem education is key. Last year I worked on the GH4STEM JUNIORS challenge which featured 65% of girls; I believe the percentage of involvement can be improved further through support learning in communities, constant encouragement and practical learning processes to get many young girls interested in STEM.

What’s your fitness routine??

5km daily morning runs, crossfit for 30 mins 4 times a week and swimming once a week.

You are easily on the best-dressed list at any Red Carpet event across the continent. As a modern African woman who loves everything style and beauty, what is glamour to you??

I take it very seriously so I allow my stylists to do their work and I comply. Pistis has grown with me and seen me grow since 2009. They know me well and I trust them completely.

Most people around the world remember you for your stellar role as Akasi Duah in Sparrow Production’s ‘The Perfect Picture’ back in 2009. 10 years later you got to play the role again in the sequel which is currently on Netflix. What was it like going back on the set?

I was all nerves.

The pressure was intense and also I had just given birth to my second son and was recovering and breastfeeding. It was very nice to reconnect with the cast, we had all grown and were more experienced.

Those experiences helped create a great movie that had people fall in love again with our characters and how much they had grown.

What activity will be you doing more in 2021 as part of your self-care?

I am learning to try to incorporate a spa day into my schedule once a month. So far, I am not doing great. Lol

Interview: Yaw Tollo

Production Company: Cypress Ghana

Styling: @PistisGhana

Makeup @loox_artistry

Haïr: @silverhairgh styled by @hairmechanicghmechanic

Jewelry: @ellacadie

Photography: @chocolateshotit

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