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Creating change and impact with BT Models: In conversation with Nana Ama Bosompemaa

They say challenges provide opportunities, and people who can find solutions to these challenges tend to become authors of change and progression. The fashion industry is a contributor to the creative economy around the world.

Year after year, we’re exposed to people with great potential who are poised to take on the industry as designers, models or stylists. However, the lack of opportunities or platforms to project these people have seen many give up on their dreams.

The challenges faced by people have also influenced people to be the change they hope to see.

Starting as a model during her days in a tertiary institution in Sunyani, a regional capital for the Bono Region in Ghana West Africa, she would go on to build what has now become one the largest modeling and fashion agencies in Africa in BT Model Agency.

BT Models the brain child of Ghanaian fashion entrepreneur and one-time model Nana Ama Bosompemaa has scouted, developed, secured placements for models on and with some of the biggest runways and fashions brands across the world.

Her experience as a model which encompassed many challenges influenced her decision to create an agency which would in turn create better conditions and outlets for models so they do not give up on their dreams or taken advantage of.

Here, Nana Ama Bosompemaa shares details of her upbringing, chasing her dreams and the decision to create BT Model Agency.

Glamour South Africa: For starters, who will you say Ama Bosompemaa is?

Nana Ama: The first child of her parents, a graduate of Sunyani Polytechnic with HND marketing certificate, she is a young entrepreneur, the CEO of BT Model Agency and also the project director for Worldwide Consulting Partners

Glamour South Africa: How would you describe your upbringing and what a core childhood memory that you live by till date?

Nana Ama: It was as normal as every child in Africa’s upbringing. We didn’t have much but it was good. A core memory would be getting to spend time with my dad after he returned from work.

Glamour South Africa: Growing up did you always know you were going to be working in the Fashion industry?

Nana Ama: Not at all. I had other ideas but not really anything on fashion. I was a tomboy growing up but that was just it. I did try out for a beauty pageant later in life though.

Glamour South Africa: What will you say was your introduction to the fashion industry?

Nana Ama: During my days as a student of the Sunyani Polytechnic studying for my marketing certificate, I decided to join a beauty pageant “Miss Akwaaba”. It was not something I had pre-planned to do, I just wanted to try something for fun and that is what I went for. The rest theys ay is history.

Glamour South Africa: How will you describe your early days as someone who was working in the industry? What were some areas you started with?

Nana Ama: It was very difficult financially taking into the consideration what needed to be done, the grounds to cover, people to meet and everything in between. Gaining a market share for models to work was also another hurdle but eventually things worked out. One area we started with training. We made sure we gave the models the basics in how to walk, poses and how to carry themselves on and off the runway as well as infront of the camera.

Glamour South Africa: BT Models. What informed the decision to create it?

Nana Ama: We created BT to help ourselves as models because we felt we were being cheated. As a mentioned earlier, the industry is a financially consuming venture and if you are careful people will take advantage you. Looking at the hurdles we faced in the beginning trying to secure jobs and collaborations, it was needed that we create an environment where we could protect ourselves and the models we work with.

Glamour South Africa: Looking at BT Models today and what it was back then as reference, how could describe Ghana’s fashion industry?

Nana Ama: We have gotten a better in lot of areas but then again, we still have a lot to learn. The industry keeps a evolving every single year. We need to strive to meet the world standard of things and how they are done. While the Ghanaian industry is also evolving, there is also so much we can do looking at how standards and trends keep pop up and changing in other parts of the world.

Glamour South Africa: What will you say are some challenges or highlights of running an agency like BT Models?

Nana Ama: It is a very long list of challenges. There is the issue of finances where we always need money to fund one thing or the other. There is also the challenge of networking. It is not easy meeting and connecting with others in the fashion space. One other challenge is visa complications. It stifles a lot of progress when it comes to traveling outside for business.

Glamour South Africa: You have worked with some of the biggest brands across the globe. How do you deal with the politics that comes with the business?

Nana Ama: I try to keep to myself as much as possible. My sole focus is on myself, brand and business. I do not deal with any politics because I do not allow it to enter my hard-earned brand.

Glamour South Africa: There is a difference between the industry in Ghana and the diaspora. What will can suggest can be done to bridge the gap between both worlds and foster more collaborations?

Nana Ama: A lot, we need to start from the root. Back to the drawing boards and taking our time to train and understand build the right structures. If we take our structures seriously and ensure models and everyone in the industry goes through the right training, we can able to connect with brands out there and bridge the gap. But we need to first build from the roots and make our industry viable.

Glamour South Africa: You seem to be a very private person. How are you able to balance and separate yourself from your business such that, one does not necessarily conflict with the other?

Nana Ama: I like to keep to myself; I know my place and role and I stick to that a lot. I know what to do, the when and the where. I do my best to not mix up my personal life with the business and that is how it has always been.

Glamour South Africa: If there is any fashion enthusiast out there who wants to enter the space, what pointers can you give them on how to navigate the space?

Nana Ama: You have to be prepared. You have to be financially, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually strong and ready because this job is not for the weak. It can be exciting and fun but it can be very consuming and demanding.

Story by Nana Kojo Mula

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