Winnie Wowing Every Runway


Rachel Scully, Arts & Life Editor

The fashion industry has always been extremely competitive, some would even say cut-throat. However, in the past few years, many companies have been making an effort to become more inclusive. For example, Aerie’s “Aerie Real” campaign, which showcases women without any touch-ups, is a movement that truly works towards influencing women to love their bodies.

One woman in the industry who has been broadening perspectives is the Canadian fashion model, Winnie Harlow. Harlow has a skin condition called Vitiligo, which causes the skin to lose pigment, resulting in light color blotches. Yet despite her condition, this has not stopped her success in the industry. With her bubbly personality shining through her pictures, this model is much more than just her skin.

Winnie Harlow, born Chantelle Brown-Young, gained her spotlight by participating in “America’s Next Top Model” in 2014. Her unique look set her apart from the other competitors, which helped her get discovered. Nevertheless, she did not start out as the confident woman she is today. According to Melo, in an attempt to cover up her light patches as a child, her mother ended up making Winnie look orange. Although her mother thought it would make her more comfortable, the makeup was doing more harm than good. One day, she confessed to her mom that she disliked it and has since shown her true colors. “I’m not just my skin, so it doesn’t feel like I’m the first Vitiligo model. I’m just… a model,” Harlow says.

After her discovery on “America’s Next Top Model,” she moved to modeling for the Italian clothing brand Diesel in 2015 and Glamour Magazine in 2015. The model has been furthering her career by embracing her natural beauty while encouraging others to do the same. “It’s opening the doors,” says Harlow, “to not even to a new type of beauty, but a new view of beauty.”

She is definitely doing just that, taking her career one step further by also becoming an activist. When a newspaper called The Evening Standard called Harlow a “Vitiligo sufferer”, she took matters into her own hands by posting to instagram boldly stating, “I am not a Vitiligo sufferer. I am not the Vitiligo model. I am Winnie. I am a model.” According to Glamour, Harlow believes that education is the key to inclusiveness in the industry.

Accepting and loving natural beauty has been a huge hurdle in today’s society, especially since the fashion industry in the past has praised what Harlow calls “cookie cutter beauty.” Fortunately, doors are being opened thanks to people like Winnie Harlow. She does not want people to look down upon people who have this condition. She continues to not let the the comments stop her from shining in the modeling industry. Harlow tells Glamour, “I’m one hundred percent excelling in everything I do.” She stays true to her word proving everyday that anything is possible with perseverance.

Editor’s Note: Information referenced in this article is provided by IMDB, This Is Melo’s website and Glamour magazine.