The Modeling Life of an Engineering Student

They say the sky is the limit. Although inherently encouraging, this sentence sets a barrier to how far we can reach. Because the sky is the further the naked eye sees, we assume that is it the furthest we can go. However, this dooms unreachable all the breathtaking parts of our universe that sight cannot reach. The same goes for our aspirations. At an early age, the world teaches us that we can only go as far as our sight therefore imprisoning us in a box. Fremah Abina Prempeh is one of the courageous souls that broke the bars of her predestined prison and used them as swords to battle her way in life. In fact, she was expected to go as far as the eye of a promising African girl can see: engineering, law, medicine, business… But she decided to reach further and pursue her modeling passion, on top of setting herself up for a rocketing engineering career. She agreed to walk us through the fulfilling journey of igniting both her flames.

Name: Abena Fremah Prempeh but I prefer to be called Fremah.

What is you major?

I'm in my sophomore year of chemical engineering at Arizona State Uniersity.

Where are you from?

I am from Ghana, a beautiful coastal country in West Africa.

What inspired you to become a model?



Growing up, modeling never crossed my mind. My tall and slender figure never attracted positive remarks. My feelings were frequently hurt by the amount of uncalled-for negativity I was getting for being “too tall” or “too skinny” in a society that expects cookie-cut curvy women. However, after high school, I started getting random positive attention. About six months before I moved to America to pursue my studies, more and more people were approaching me about modeling. I started seeing my figure as an asset and not a liability. Eventually, the inspiration was there; I just needed somebody to see in me what it took me so long to realize. I finally got that opportunity when I moved here, people saw in me more than I could ever imagine.

What is the fashion industry like for an aspiring black model?

The fashion industry is difficult to evolve in as a non-white model. During my short time as a model, I have come across designers who bluntly discriminated against darker skin models. Their choice was more angled towards caucasians and sometimes hispanics. However, I am unbothered by their prejudice. I believe that my skin is a blessing and I have had to work with people who truly appreciated its wonders. To my knowledge, if you turn down all this melanin in the name of racism, it is your loss and not mine.

What was your first modeling gig like?

It was unbelievably exciting since I was just starting to build my portfolio. I embraced all the new things and got to meet people in the industry for future opportunities.

What is your calming ritual before a gig, if any?

The ritual is prayer... It builds my confidence to levels I could not attain on my own. To stay calm before a shoot or show, I like to imagine myself in casual scenarios in order to tone down the stress. I find very soothing to imagine myself walking on my way to class for example.

Do you prefer the runaway or photo shoots?

I love doing both. I am comfortable in the runaway because I am aware of the fact that I have the ideal height for it. I love shoots because my features can rock any look. That's my mantra in the industry: the height to neutralize and the looks to kill.


If you could meet any fashion figure, dead or alive, who would it be?

Coco Chanel honey! I would not have it any other way.

How do your family and friends feel about you modeling?

They have been supportive and deserve a warm thank you for that!

How do you balance school and modeling?

Balancing classes and modeling are not a piece of cake. It took me a long time to learn to dance on that thin border between them and I am proud to say that I just found my balance. I focus on school work all week in order to free my weekends. This way, I can model from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

Do you see yourself in a professional modeling career in the long term?

If the opportunity presents itself, I could pursue a professional modeling career. However, completing my chemical engineering degree is my main focus, at this point. As much as I enjoy modeling, I consider it as a collateral activity. I am not scared to let both flames burn within me, but I want to keep my focus on my undergraduate career.

What are stereotypes of the fashion industry that turned out to be false?

Models are often portrayed as unintelligent wax figures. A lot of people seem to think that beauty and brains are exclusive features. They doubt that you can slay those Louboutin’s on Saturday and ace that Calculus test on Monday, which is completely feasible. I have learned to treat them as background noises because I know I am intelligent and have met likewise women in the industry.


Any last words?

I urge people to not give up on their dreams. The sky is not the limit. Just like your mind, there is no preset limit to who and what you can become.