We had the good fortune of connecting with Gifty Boakye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gifty, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started modeling when I was just 16 years old so at that age I was not only impressionable I was hungry for success , which at the the time meant money, game, buying my mom a house, you know that kind of thing. Soon after I moved to Nyc still in my teens and going in and out of agency go sees, casting calls I quickly noticed how under represented black women, dark skin women, African women were in the fashion industry. One thing about me I’ve always been proud of my features, took me some time to grow into my skin ( imagine that) but my Ghanaian roots have always inspired me to stand out. Later in my career I went in for a NYFW casting for , Michael Costello, I was told my was was amazing but I’m a bit too curvy . I was a 4/6. It hit me then that there should be a market that celebrates my African hips , height , skin etc and like that NVTIVE was born.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was a model before I started modeling. My personality, my features .. I think I wore heels everyday for 4 years in high school, no exaggeration anyone reading this that went to TC Williams high will tell you. The girl was extra and I loved it. So when I graced my first real runway in Washington DC at 17, it came naturally to me. Fast forward 10 years later the industry has changed so much and there is a level of respect that I wish more models received today. I was a baby in Nyc starting out, them moved to LA during off seasons all while going to school. It was hard and the lifestyle didn’t help .. I would do from Russell Simmons mansion party in the Hampton’s to class. Like I was on the scene. Living , working and studying in Nyc where your beauty is more sought after than your ID, I can honestly say It was God that kept me. He really has kept me grounded and he is the reason for my success. There is still so much more to do but he is the reason I’m here living my absolute best life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ooou that’s tough, I love Nyc and I love food. When I first moved to New York, I would always take my friends that came up to Webster Hall. I was VVIP in there , trying to impress my friends LOL like there could be a line around the block but Shawn, my fav bouncer always walked us right on through. Later I started to do the meat packing scene, so we like do dinners at my fav Catch, Bodega Negra is amazing, The standard then head to Avenue , and always ended up at 1Oak. Now with all that’s happening in the world so many places being closed , you’ll probably find me and my friends at Phillipes, chill private vibes until everything opens again The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Wow! So many people, but I’m going to say Shireen Lewis the Founder of a non profit called SISTER MENTORS in Washington DC. I started with Dr. Lewis at age 11, and in the program I was paired with a mentor , all the mentors were women of color studying for their Masters & Doctrates. Every month early Saturday morning Dr. Lewis showed us what we can be as little black girls. She took us on volley tours, to etiquette courses at the St.Regis, SAT prep courses. My mom a single mother, was also a great example , and she and Dr. Lewis kept me together all through middle and high school, until today.
Linkedin: Gifty Boakye
Facebook: Gifty Boakye
Other: TikTok @giftyb_
Photographers @twinsdntbeg @ eimmavisuals @dfams