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Stephany Amado



I, Stephany Melanie Amado Lopes, better known as Steh, was born and raised in Terra Branca, Praia, Cabo Verde. I am 23 years old and I am a professional model in New York where I currently reside.


I started my modeling career at the age of 13 due to the lack of black representation that existed in my country at the time.


I wanted to change this sad reality so that the next generations do not feel so much the impact that representation (or lack of it) has on the life of a black child.


My first experience was when I won a Miss contest at the high school in Várzea (Escola Secundária Cónego Jacinto Peregrino da Costa) and soon after I was invited by a Cape Verdean stylist who lives in France (Cindy Monteiro) to participate in a fashion show.


At 14 years old, she barely knew how to walk in high heels and it was she, together with her mother, who trained me and inspired me with their comments to believe that I would still go far in this career. A million possibilities popped into my head as I continued to train and study to be prepared for that show (even because I was a young Maria and fashion had never been part of my dreams because as a child I had never considered myself beautiful - that lack of representation that I mentioned above).


I felt an explosion of emotions on the day of the parade that to this day I can't explain - from the sparkle in the eyes of the girls who were there to my parents who, being from another generation, had never believed in this as a profession for me.


After that the doors started to open and I struggled to knock down the ones that were under lock and key. I worked on radio stations, on Cape Verdean television, covered fashion events for RTP Africa such as AME (Atlantic Music Expo) and the Kriol Jazz Festival, paraded in major shows produced by my first agency (Vaiss Models) and did numerous photo shoots with local artists and designers - all under the age of 16.


At the age of 17 I emigrated to the United States of America where I finished my studies. In my luggage I carried a suitcase full of dreams and the hope of achieving my goals as a model.

It was very difficult to adapt to the language, culture and climate, but my resilience did not allow me to give up.


Today, at 23 years old, I am reaping the fruits that I have been planting since I was 12 years old.


Last year I was blessed with signing a contract with renowned modeling agency Marilyn Management Inc. Since then I’ve worked with big brands like Khiel’s, L’Oreal Paris, The Folklore, Sotheby’s, R13, Wearpepper and Macy’s.


I’m often the only black model in castings/jobs and I get sad when I think that we still have a lot to fight to change this reality.


Recently (September 3, 2022) I was crowned the first Miss Cabo Verde International. It is a huge honor and responsibility for me to represent my country.


It’s another challenge that I face with all my courage because, in more than 60 years of existence of this beauty pageant, there has never been a winner from any country on the African continent. It is a great responsibility that I carry for myself, for my country and for my entire continent.

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