“Know first who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly”. TV/Radio Host and actress, Naa Ashorkor seems to live by this quote.The tale-teller and radio’s golden girl has seen praise and acclamation from all who have seen on TV or the red-carpet. It’s no surprise her wedding received so much attention and views last year. We speak to her in an exclusive interview about fashion,her wedding gown and her lifestyle. Enjoy the read and the photos too.
NAA ASHORKOR: Good Afternoon, welcome to Star Fm.
Thank-You. We are Nathan, Nii and Mel. From Perucci. A fashion ,art and lifestyle blog.
NAA ASHORKOR: Well, you are welcome but why are you talking to me? (laughs) I am not a fashion icon.
Our bad but you are Google’s most searched Ghanaian celebrity (actor) for 2014, apparently because of your wedding dress last year so that puts you under our fashion radar. That makes you a very fashionable person and we felt we owe it to our audience and followers to ask you some questions on your views on fashion and lifestyle.
NAA ASHORKOR: (laughs) Well, I’m flattered.
Can you tell us what went into the making of the gown, how it was created and why you chose Pistis amongst all the fashion designers,labels and fashion houses across Ghana and the worldwide??
NAA ASHORKOR: Well, to answer what went into the making of the gown, it’s simple, I wanted to look royal. I’ve had a picture of my wedding in my mind since I was like 12, I had an idea of how I wanted everything from my wedding gown right down to the little bride’s gown to look like. I remember seeing Kate Middleton’s wedding gown and it kind of looked like what I had been imagining for myself. I don’t know if I should say it was Kate Middleton inspired, I don’t think so, but then that was the dress I had always dreamed of. So that’s pretty much all the thinking that went into my look that day. I wanted to look like a princess, like royalty.
Wow, so then, why Pistis?
NAA ASHORKOR: I have been working with Pistis for about seven years, ever since they started operating in Ghana in 2007/2008. I had just started working with Charter House and they wanted me to style Miss Malaika delegates. I decided to see new designers, so I talked to Pistis, I hadn’t heard about them back then, I also talked to Bridget Merky and then African by Nana. Pistis in particular had very beautiful finishing. When you pick a dress made by Pistis the insides look like that of a dress sold on the streets of London. The insides are beautifully lined. If you want to alter a Pistis-made dress, your tailor would have to remove layers of linen from the insides. They really tailor beautifully and I have worn their clothing ever since. I just knew they would be the ones to make my wedding dress, and back then they weren’t even doing bridal. At the beginning, I wanted something big, with a belt at the waist and sleeves, Sumaya took my idea and modified it, and I liked the way it turned out. She actually made the dress three times, the first two prototypes in fabric, so I could try it on and she would make alterations over and over. This way the wedding gown comes out perfect, ready to be worn. It was a lot of work for her, especially because she was nine months pregnant at the time. But I knew she would pull it off and she did.
You’re spotted in very stylish outfits on and off screen. You must be very passionate about fashion.
NAA ASHORKOR: I’m actually not. I just wear what I’m comfortable in. I don’t go out of my way to go with what’s in vogue. I have a style and I stick to it. I don’t wear loud clothing. I think there is a lot of beauty in simplicity, you know, less is more, the less you try the more glamorous you look.
Describe your personal style in three words.
NAA ASHORKOR: I like simple. I like classy and more often than not I like to look decent.
Do you have a stylist?
NAA ASHORKOR: No, I don’t. I style myself, but Pistis makes most of my clothes and because she knows me personally she knows what I like. Like the dress she made me for last year’s music awards. The red dress beaded at the neck and waist. So many people went to her that year and she made them something nice, and when I saw my dress, I was like this dress is so me. It’s exactly what I would buy if I walked into any shop and saw it. She really knows me. It’s good when you work with a stylist who gets you and not someone who is trying to put their style on you.
You are seen rocking African prints on and off screen. What is your view on African prints? Do you think it’s overrated?
NAA ASHORKOR: I like African fabrics. Almost all the clothes I have are prints. They are beautiful; I actually don’t like the new in-vogue prints; the really loud ones. I prefer the subtle ones, the new ones that look old. I think the more we wear African prints, the more we will appreciate it. And right now, it’s appreciated a lot ever in the history of Ghana. I think the trend started when ex-president Kufuor introduced the traditional Friday wear .And that’s a good thing because our designers are making money now. Back then we just go to them for church clothes. Now banks have African prints, everyone has African prints, people wear them to weddings these days, back then people wear already-made clothes to weddings, and people are even using African prints in their wedding gowns, even shoes, bags and chairs. And we are exporting more, which is very good. I think African prints should be encouraged.
Talking of encouragement, you do a lot of it when you talk about your designers on your show. Will you say you gave name and rise to these designers?
NAA ASHORKOR: I don’t think I can say that. They play their part too. If they did a bad job I wouldn’t go and sit down and talk about them, so it’s their good work that really speaks for them. I love when people comment on my Instagram that “Naa, I love Tales From The Powder Room, but I watch to see what you’re wearing so I can make one”. Comments like that make me happy because there is nothing better that promoting your own. And I’m happy to wear a Pistis dress and promote it on TV, social media and even on radio. I don’t know what a fashion icon is, but then I know that I appreciate good designers like Madeleine Moude, Pistis, and African by Nana. It’s like this, I know that you’re working hard for me and more often paying for it, so what more can I do than let everyone know that you did this and more people hear about you and come to you to make their clothes. It’s a hand-go-hand-come situation.
If we raided your closet right now, what are we likely to find most?
NAA ASHORKOR: (sarcastically) Clothes! (laughs) Well, I guess you’ll see lot of African prints, you’ll see more dresses than tops and trousers.
What about shoes, flats and heels?
NAA ASHORKOR: I wear a lot of sandals. I wear heels when I have to. (laughs) But I really like to go with what’s simple, you know. I wear a lot of flats, even to events, like A Night of A 1000 Laughs. I wear heels when I have to glam up. So I have a lot of shoes but I hardly wear them. I get used to wearing one and I keep wearing it. I know it’s not a good thing but I guess that’s just the way I am.
You seem to have a very perfect face, what do you do to look this good.
NAA ASHORKOR: (laughs) I don’t have a perfect face! But then I can make it look perfect. I really don’t do anything. When I have something coming up, like a film, stage play, Music Awards or hosting Miss Malaika Grand Finale, then I get facials, I scrub my face, I scrub my lips with Vaseline And Sugar, I literally sleep at the spa(laughs). I have my own spa care kit at home, by Kanshi. But on a regular day I don’t do anything special.
And your hair?
NAA ASHORKOR: My hair? It depends. I wear fake hair (laughs). I get hair usually from Amber Hair. I used to get hair from Royal Court Hair. But I get great hair from Amber Hair. It’s by a Nigerian , Cynthia and she has a Ghanaian business partner, Gifty, so they supply me with hair. It’s been great, their hair is good and when I wear their hair nothing goes wrong.
What are your favorite trends this season? What is your must-have for this season and what won’t you be caught dead wearing ever?
NAA ASHORKOR: Well I most certainly will wear pencil dresses. I think it is a trend now because most women are now wearing pencil dresses. Back then it was pleated and gathers. I still like pleated, you know, my mum used to make me pleated clothes growing up. Sometimes I just like to look like a little girl again. Also, I must have side pockets in my dress, I like to put my hands in my pockets, sometimes it makes the posing easier, you know. I really don’t enjoy carrying handbags around. Even my wedding dress had side pockets. I particularly like Pistis because they always give me my pockets. I can get very moody when you make me my dress without side pockets. Because sometimes I don’t like to carry handbags on the red carpet because they make your photos cluttered and steal attention from the dress you’re trying to promote. Also, I guess I will not be caught dead wearing a blonde afro wig.
What fashion item can’t you leave your house without??
NAA ASHORKOR: Well, I guess, my make up?
NAA ASHORKOR: Actually sometimes I go out with no makeup on, but if I leave the house to come to work, for example, I cannot leave without my foundation.
Where do you shop?
NAA ASHORKOR: I buy most of my clothes from Pistis. They make some stuff that are not African prints, like tops, jackets, skirts and dresses that are not African prints. So aside the things I use on TV, I buy from them. Aside that I buy from Spentlove in East Legon, and the rest of my clothes, I get them overseas.
Paris, Milan, London. Which of these three is your favorite destination to shop?
NAA ASHORKOR: Of the three, I’ve only been to London but I would love to shop in Paris. They have such a high sense of fashion. I don’t think there is anything in the shops of Paris which is not fashionable. When someone shops from Paris, you can see it on them. Like some of my friends who shop from Paris. When you see them you just go like wow, that’s cool stuff. So I guess I’d like to shop from Paris.
If you ever get invited to meet President Obama in ten minutes. How would you look?
NAA ASHORKOR: Well, I guess I’ll hold my hair up in a bun; I’d wear a block colored dress; pencil dress of course, a three-quartered sleeve and a cock heel.
Naa,Who are the three stylish women you take fashion inspiration from??
NAA ASHORKOR: Michelle Obama. She’s my top-most inspiration. Locally, I’d say Omotola, the actress. The third is not a real person, she’s a character. I don’t know how Kerry Washington dresses in real life, but I love the way Olivia Pope from “Scandal” dresses. I like her fashion sense.
Who will be in your top three most stylish men?
NAA ASHORKOR: Well, once again I’d go with another fictional character. Harvey Specter from “Suits”. His real name is Gabriel Macht. Secondly, I’d say Mai Atafo Inspired. He’s so stylish. Third, will be K.O.D. I think he’s very stylish.
Okay, let’s talk about Miss Malaika, how do you pick the clothes for the girls?
NAA ASHORKOR: Each girl is different you know. It’s quite the challenge. For those who know the kind of dress they want, it’s pretty easy. For those who do not, you look at their body type, kind of clothes that will look nice on her. Sometimes I just leave it to the designer. I just tell them to make something casual, not too short, and should be colorful and it always turns out great.
Okay. Let’s play our two word game. You are allowed to choose one amongst the two. Perfumes or body splashes?
NAA ASHORKOR: Perfume
Short hair or long hair.
NAA ASHORKOR: I like long hair but I don’t like to leave it long. I prefer to hold it up.
Bags or purses?
NAA ASHORKOR: Bags
Shoes or bags?
NAA ASHORKOR: Shoes!!
Heels or pumps?
NAA ASHORKOR: I’d probably buy heels, but will I wear them? I’d wear them on T.V. Will I go out with them? Probably not?
Sunglasses or watches?
NAA ASHORKOR: Definitely watches.
Thank you, Naa, for giving us your time to chit-chat about your fashion outlooks and style,your inspirations and especially the wedding gown! We really do appreciate you giving us this wonderful opportunity.
NAA ASHORKOR: It was a pleasure.