Ama Elsesser DAZED100 2020
Courtesy of Ama Elsesser
“I would work on a redistribution art project, commissioning other black queer artists to make work

Ama Elsesser

Age - 20
 Los Angeles, United States
@amaelsesser
Ama Elsesser
“I would work on a redistribution art project, commissioning other black queer artists to make work

Ama Elsesser is following in big sister Paloma’s body positive footsteps by using their platform as a model to advocate for change. Ama first turned heads when they appeared in Jonah Hill’s period skater film Mid-90s. Since then, they’ve starred in a major Ugg campaign, and shot for Savage x Fenty. Having come out as non-binary in January, they’re now turning their attention to raising the profile of other black LGBTQ+ artists alongside their burgeoning modelling career.

Ama’s inclusive, familial outlook on life means they don’t want their career to only be about themself. Rather, they are always thinking about how to uplift others – whether through collaborating on video art projects or simply cooking good food for people. “I feel so grateful for everyone who made me feel affirmed in who I am, and I feel lucky I can make work now that can give that feeling back.”

How did you start doing the work you do, and what inspires it?

Ama Elsesser: Since I was young I have been obsessed with transformation, and modelling now is a way to recreate and show different versions of yourself. I am comforted by being able to be in someone else’s image, and being (other) characters makes me feel less uncomfortable in myself. Outside of modelling, the “work” that I am interested in personally has a lot to do with my own queerness and wanting to make more room for my peers, or other people that share parts of my identity. Earlier this year, I found out I have a young member of my family who is also non-binary which felt super comforting and wonderful for me to have that connection within my blood family, and so I am in the beginning stages of working on a project involving them and myself and the queer communities we have in different parts of the country.

When it comes to your work, what are you most proud of?

Ama Elsesser: Thinking about how truly displaced I felt growing up compared to how authentic I feel in every part of my identity now, makes me so proud of myself. 

“I feel so grateful for everyone who made me feel affirmed in who I am, and I feel lucky I can make work now that can give that feeling back” – Ama Elsesser

What creative or philanthropic project would you work on with a grant from the Dazed 100 Ideas Fund?

Ama Elsesser: I would work on a redistribution art project, and would split the money with other black queer artists who aren’t as visible as me. Directly giving money to disenfranchised artists creates literal change, and so does giving them a platform for their work that otherwise might not be seen. It would be amazing to have an opportunity to discover and meet more black queer people through the internet and share their art with the world.

Aimee Cliff

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