Canadian fashion model, Winnie Harlow, talks to teens at a TEDx event regarding her chronic skin condition, vitiligo, and how it created her “mold” of what beauty is.
Vitiligo is caused when an individual’s immune system believes that melanin (pigmentation that is responsible for a person’s skin color) is a disease and causes discoloration of the skin.
Harlow, whose birthname is Chantelle Brown-Young, talked to the audience about struggling with vitiligo in school. She mentions being alienated by her family and classmates.
“I found two girls who really wanted to play with me,” she told the TEDx audience, “…but after a few weeks of being in that school and having those ‘friends’, all of a sudden I didn’t have them.”
After being told in 2nd grade by the two girls who she believed were her “friends” that their parents did not want them hanging around her because they “might catch” her skin condition.
The result? Instead of being bullied, Harlow turned to being the bully.
She began, “I became the bully and it’s not better on one side than the other,” in regards as to why she switched from being the victim, “I kinda took lead from those people who were bullying and I said, ‘Cool those are gonna be my friends now.'”
Eventually Harlow realized that she did not fit with the “bullies” or the people “being bullied” and created her own mold. Beauty ot her is found within everything around her, and inspires her to be herself.
“I find ‘beauty’ in everything,” Harlow said, “that’s so cliché…but I feel that there is beauty in everything.”