Zoe Ghertner/Jo Malone London
British model Adwoa Aboah is not only a well-known face in the modeling industry, she's a well-known voice in mental health activism. And now, Aboah, 30, is partnering with luxury home and personal fragrance brand Jo Malone London to further both her and their work on this important topic.
Aboah — who founded Gurls Talk, an online community where young women are free to discuss issues such as mental health, education, self-care, and relationships — has been vocal over the years about overcoming depression, bipolar disorder and struggles with self-image. She says speaking publicly about her personal journey was something that "naturally happened" and was ultimately a necessity.
"I was looking for a self care that wasn't necessarily involving myself. And by that, I mean I was looking for ways [of] bettering myself without concentrating on myself," she tells PEOPLE. That ultimately lead Aboah to focus on charitable work and to immerse herself in new groups.
"Putting my intention into [the] larger topic felt like something that I should do," Aboah says. "I knew that my journey was an individual one but it wasn't one that I could [go through] by myself. I knew that I needed a community of like-minded people."
Jo Malone London
As Aboah continues to dedicate her platform to advocate for and break down stigmas surrounding mental health, she's now also found a welcome collaborator in Jo Malone London.
The model and global brand ambassador says working with the iconic U.K. brand — which is supporting global and local charities ahead of World Mental Health Day — has been a "genuine partnership" that she wasn't initially expecting.
"Because of the work they've been doing around mental health for so long [The brand is celebrating 10 years since the launch of its' charity candle program which benefits Fountain House. More on the brand's charity mission can be read here.], and everything that I do with Gurls Talk, there's just so much alignment not only aesthetically, but morally. And that's something that's really exciting."
While the partnership means the model has even closer ties to her favorite scent, English Pear & Freesia, and favorite candles, Glowing Embers and Red Roses, Aboah says it's also helping her reflect on her beauty journey.
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Jo Malone London
The model admitted that she previously didn't have "the best kind of [feeling of] self worth," especially being a part of the fashion and beauty industry where she originally didn't feel a part of or seen.
"I think when you're trying to fit into something that isn't inclusive of you, it plays a very kind of detrimental part in the way you view yourself," Aboah explains.
In time, and thanks to having her Gurls Talk platform to turn to during bad days, Aboah says she's redefined what self care looks like for herself, which includes believe in and doing things that make her feel confident and beautiful from the inside out.
"We spend a lot of our time and I think our younger years trying to fit in, but I love being individual – even if it means making mistakes," she says before sharing pieces of her routine.
"There's something I love about the ritual of getting ready in the morning or getting ready for the evening. Whether it is for someone else or just for yourself," Aboah continues. "And I feel like applying one's perfume or, as a black woman, the hair wash day, there's something very sacred about those particular things. And that feels like self care."
Jo Malone London
Aboah adds that she's recently become very strict about carving out time for herself and being aware that if she doesn't, she could burn out. She says it can be easy for a lot of people — specifically those struggling with mental health like herself — to forget to look after yourself.
Now, the model urges others to figure out what self care means to them and learn how to not sacrifice that for anything.
"I think I just realized that I couldn't do everything. And I couldn't be everywhere and I couldn't show up for everyone," Aboah tells PEOPLE. "I definitely think there's part of me that has probably kind of battled with being a people pleaser and not wanting to disappoint people, so I think not overstretching myself is a big part to play in my self care."
"In our younger years, definitely in mine, my kind of validation was found in other people's ideas of me, and the way that they perceive me," she notes. "And now, it definitely comes from within and the way that I look at myself and feel about myself."