For many years, it was widely believed that fashion models are supposed to look a certain way. However, thanks to the courage and determination of people like Winnie Harlow, the entire fashion world is starting to change.
Born Chantelle Brown-Young, Winnie Harlow got her moniker from a clever combination of Winnie the Pooh and Jean Harlow – two major sources of inspiration in her life. She is a beautiful fashion model who has been making waves in the world of beauty and modeling, due to her skin condition, vitiligo. While vitiligo (classified as an autoimmune disorder) does lead to discoloration of the skin in patches — it has becomes what makes Winnie stand out on runways and the covers of the best fashion publications.
Winnie’s stunning and unique appearance is only part of what she is all about. The model has been a mainstay in the modeling world for a while now. She appeared in America’s Next Top Model in 2014 and was even tapped by Beyoncé to appear in visual album, “Lemonade.”
Read on for more about this trailblazing fashion model.
From Bullying to Top Model — Winnie Harlow’s Journey is Inspirational
Growing up, Winnie Harlow was bullied a lot for looking different from other kids her age. So much so that she had to turn to homeschooling after being forced to drop out of school. However, she was always confident in her beauty and never understood why some people negatively viewed her skin condition.
As she works to create a space for herself (and others like her) in the modeling world, Winnie often has to deal with insensitive characters all the time. According to XONecole, one photographer who asked to work with her, called her over to his ironing board that had a cow print on the surface — and like a boss, she just turned away from him and walked away without any response!
Winnie Got Her Wings at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
In 2018, Winnie was asked to play a major role in a Victoria's Secret show. She is not shy about admitting that this was one of her career highlights. According to her, the Victoria's Secret Show – which at has been notorious for its unrealistic beauty standards – is one of the main goals for just about any model.
“[It] blows my mind," Winnie said on Good Morning America. "I can't even believe it...I'm a trailblazer… It's actually insane to me by just being yourself the things that you can achieve.”
Having attained that goal, the model is adamant that she still has a long way to go and a lot more covers to bag before she can consider all her goals met.
Winnie Harlow does not consider herself a role model – but she is
Winnie Harlow does not see herself as a role model — she doesn’t even like being referred to as a role model! While she does not have a problem with being an inspiration to others, Winnie prefers to walk her own path – remaining true to herself at all times.
Perhaps the fact that she is not interested in comparing herself to others is the main reason why she has taken up the mantle of being a trailblazer for women of color as well as people living with vitiligo with such grace.