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Exclusive Q&A with Ghanaian Engineer and Model, Nana Jukwa

Nana Jukwa Someah-Kwaw has made a name for herself as an individual who effortlessly synchronizes diverse passions, creating a symphony of remarkable achievements. From her groundbreaking work in engineering to her dazzling presence on international runways, the multi-hyphenate Ghanaian has always left a lasting impact.

Jukwa's journey began with a commitment to understanding engineering's complexity. Building on her final-year research, she used her internship at Cirrus Oil Services Limited to analyse the spike in particles. Her dedication and talent earned her respect in the traditionally male-dominated engineering industry. It also encouraged significant players in the mining industry to adopt and apply her research.

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Despite her achievements in engineering, her journey extends to fashion. Her graceful presence on fashion runways such as Milan Fashion Week, International Fashion Week Dubai, and the Glamour West Africa Fashion Show underscores her innate elegance and style. Collaborating with renowned brands like Turban by Twisthead and Savanna Creations, Nana's portfolio extends to international skincare campaigns, further showcasing her enthusiasm for beauty and poise.

Yet Nana Jukwa's narrative is not solely about individual achievements. It's about empowerment, advocacy, and embracing one's unique identity. As Vice President of the Women Economic Forum's Ghana Chapter and Young Female Board Member for Pilot International, Nana is at the forefront of breaking gender barriers and fostering inclusivity. She has gained recognition from prestigious platforms like Accenture's Gender Mainstreaming Awards as a positive role model for West Africa.

In a captivating chat, Glamour caught up with Nana Jukwa for an intimate dive into her skincare regimen, relaxation rituals, and lifestyle choices that fuel her boundless drive.

Glamour: How do you adjust your skincare routine according to changes in weather and environmental conditions?

Jukwa: I keep it simple when it comes to skincare. It makes it easier to navigate what to take out or include when the season changes. But one thing that I always have in my routine is my SPF. In summer, I use a water-based, oil-free moisturiser to prevent my pores from clogging, and in cold weather, I opt for thick, creamy moisturisers to combat dryness.

Glamour: As a model, you often apply and remove make-up. How do you ensure your skin's health and cleanliness when wearing make-up frequently?

Jukwa: It is ironic how models always wear and remove make-up but often audition with a bare face. It tells you that keeping your skin healthy enhances your make-up. When I take off my make-up, the skin underneath stays with me. So I am always cautious about taking my make-up prep seriously.

Importantly, I apply a moisturiser that sits well under make-up before I use my primer, and then I go through with my make-up. However, during the day, I ensure to take off my make-up regardless of how tired I am, using Nokware’s natural botanical oils like coconut or jojoba. I am also a fan of using all-natural, effective skin products. One such product is L-ascorbic acid powder (a form of Vitamin C). I love its magical work on my face. It promotes collagen production, improving the texture and quality of my skin. It makes my skin look radiant and youthful, reducing the appearance of dark spots. I make the most of my make-up-free days because it allows my skin to breathe.

Glamour: Can you share daily skincare routine? How do you ensure your skin stays healthy and radiant, especially with your busy schedule as an engineer and model?

Jukwa: Consistency is key when treating my skin. For my daily routine, I cleanse my face with my Teiva goat milk and papaya soap, using a konjac sponge. I exfoliate with its 3-in-1 deep cleansing scrub and mask. Then follow with my Teiva rose water toner, use my small countertop home steamer to steam my face, and use a blackhead remover when necessary. I apply my clarifying facial serum, then moisturise. I always wear sunscreen during the day to protect my skin. Additionally, I try to drink plenty of water and get enough sleep to support overall skin health. With my busy schedule as an engineer and model, I do this religiously.

Glamour: What are your must-have skincare items when on the go, and how do you adapt your routine while traveling?

Jukwa: I always have a travel-sized cleanser, moisturiser, and sunscreen. I adjust my routine by simplifying it and focusing on hydration and protection.

Glamour: Do you incorporate traditional Ghanaian skincare rituals or ingredients into your routine?

I have a few favourites. One popular ingredient is shea butter. I love using unrefined shea butter, known for its moisturising and nourishing properties. I also enjoy using African black soap, which helps to cleanse and exfoliate the skin gently. These traditional ingredients have been passed down through generations, and they indeed help me maintain healthy and radiant skin.

Glamour: Many struggle with finding the right foundation shade or make-up products for their skin tone. How have you navigated this challenge, and do you have any advice for others?

Jukwa: Finding the perfect foundation shade for dark skin types can sometimes be like searching for a needle in a haystack! But what if I told you the solution for me was simple? Where all I had to do was seek. The quote “seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” is a well-known phrase from the Bible. However, it’s not just relevant to religious contexts; it has universal truth.

Once upon a time, finding the perfect shade was a struggle. It reminded me that I do not have all the answers, and asking for help was a natural and necessary part of the learning process. And it was a good time to knock on the door of a professional.

So yes! I consulted to better understand my shade based on my skin tone. I also wanted to be enlightened on my undertone and finish. However, lately, a lot of attention is directed toward the darker shades of make-up products, which makes it easy to identify your shade. My advice? Always swatch and consult the experts.

Glamour: Engineers often have demanding schedules. How do you manage stress, and what self-care practices do you prioritize to maintain your overall well-being?

Jukwa: Managing stress as an engineer can be a balancing act. I prioritize self-care by taking breaks, practising mindfulness, and indulging in hobbies like traveling and cooking. Personally, taking care of myself is just as important as meeting deadlines. I find what distresses me, and I make time for it!

Glamour: What is the one beauty or self-care mantra you live by, and how has it influenced your life journey so far?

Jukwa: Sailing through the realm of beauty and self-care, one mantra I hold dear is ‘’beauty shines from within’’. This mindset has positively influenced my journey by reminding me to prioritize self-love and inner well-being. Tending to my mental and emotional health has had a ripple effect, enhancing my overall beauty. True beauty radiates from a happy and healthy heart.

Glamour: Social media can sometimes project an unrealistic image of beauty. How do you use your platform to promote authenticity and self-acceptance?

Jukwa: On my platform, I use the word of God to promote authenticity and self-acceptance. I share scriptures and messages that remind my followers of their inherent worth and beauty in the eyes of the Lord. It’s a reminder to embrace our true selves and not be swayed by worldly standards. It becomes a two-way street where my followers also get back to me. For me, feedback is about listening actively, taking the time to analyse, and helping them in the best way possible if necessary. It allows me to see what they can change to improve their focus. I motivate people and show them areas for improvement, not the opposite. It brings us together, and there is a healthy communication flow.

Glamour: Taking care of oneself goes beyond skincare. What are your favourite ways to relax and unwind after a hectic day or week?

Jukwa: After a demanding week, the idea of a weekend getaway with my younger sister is always a breath of fresh air. The car ride is consistently filled with laughter as we recount the stressful week and talk about our plans. With no set agenda, we spend our days exploring nature, taking leisurely walks, and even attempting spontaneous adventures.

The evenings are for relaxation. We indulge in hearty home-made meals, savoring each bite without the rush of our usual routines. The absence of deadlines, emails, and phone calls creates a sense of freedom that allows us to unwind.

The weekend getaway reminds me of the importance of stepping back from the demands of daily life. It is a lesson that amidst our busy schedules, there is immense value in carving out time for relaxation and quality time.

Glamour: Looking back on your journey, what advice would you give your younger self about skincare, beauty, and self-care?

Jukwa: If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self not to brush off skincare; it’s a real game changer. Beauty is more than skin deep, “So take care of yourself inside and out, put your best face forward, and let your unique beauty shine like a star!”

Words By Paatakyi Richardson

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