Changing the expectations of beauty, one pose at a time, Winnie Harlow is showing the world that becoming a model takes more than just a pretty face. Through the years the modeling industry threw subliminal messages that beauty is definable by visual perfection. The perfect ‘Barbie’ doll image, was believed to be the epitome of ideal beauty.
If not picture perfect, no other was crowned worthy of magazine cover exposure and high-end fashion catwalks. Today, beauty by its old definition is now yesterday’s news. Faces of today’s modeling industry, like that of Winnie Harlow, are proving that imperfection, creates no limit as unconventional beauty shines radiantly for all to notice.
One of the most camera friendly beauties of Hollywood history, Marilyn Monroe, was once quoted saying, that imperfection is true beauty. Winnie Harlow learned herself-prescription was the only thing needed to be deemed beautiful in a society that told her she wasn’t. Other’s welcoming acceptance of her outer appearance, was a bonus, but never required as validation of her uncommon beauty and grace.
Harlow’s, who’s birth name, Chantelle Young, had no childhood dreams of becoming a model although now she effortlessly dominates the camera like only a model could. The 21 year-old top model contestant was into displaying her self-esteem and positive self-perception, via instagram. Her personal flicks were getting her unexpected feedback, which in retrospect, encouraged Winnie, to pursue a career in modeling. It was then that she auditioned to become a contestant, on the 21st cycle of ANTM (America’s Next Top Model).
Winnie has a skin condition called Vitiligo. It causes white patches to appear on the skin, despite the color or darkness of one’s pigmentation. There aren’t too many people with the condition who choose to expose the natural appearance of their Vitiligo impacted skin. Typically, those who live with the condition, tend to create illusions with makeup, extra clothing and sophisticated photo editing when taking pictures. Winnie, however, does the exact opposite, as she rarely passes up a photo opportunity to showcase her beauty, as is, uncovered, and unedited.
No pictures to be airbrushed, and no make-up team to fill in lack of pigmentation. With Harlow, what you see, is what you get, and so far fans are loving what they see. The young beauty is changing the face of modeling as we know it. As one of the new faces of Diesel, Winnie, is paving a pivotal moment into the history of modeling high-end fashion.
Seeing Winnie is now strong in her confidence, one would never assume that she was verbally and emotionally beaten up through her grade school and high school years. This picture here of Winnie as a young girl, is featured on her Instagram account. With it, a touching caption which reads, “I wish I could ensure that little girl that things will get better and everything would work out.” This quote projects a personal emotion from Harlow, which saddens, yet motivates, those who read it.
Fortunately, after growing up tormented by the laughter and cruelty of other children mocking and teasing her condition, she may now have the benefit of saying, “look at me now”. Can only imagine the looks on their faces now that she is breaking ground in the industry and inspiring females around the globe to embrace their uniqueness. Once degraded by childhood bullies calling her a zebras and cows, she’s now a top paid model encouraging females everywhere to be proud of who they are while loving the skin they’re in. What once created a barrier for her, is now bridging gaps between ordinary and extraordinary beauty. Now, as a motivational speaker and advocate for positive self-image, Winnie makes it her duty to embrace herself and those fans who suffer from negative self-perception.
In such a short time, Winnie has touched massive ground in her career. Although, she’s had the privilege of modeling for top-notch fashion lines, Desigual, Diesel, and Ashish, her greatest accomplishments have been those which recognize and expose her inner fight. Many are quick to now admire the celebrity’s beauty, in which she had to battle her entire life for it to be recognized as just that, BEAUTY. Harlow, may be smiling on ads and magazine covers now, but she remains humble by recalling her struggles as a young lady who once felt as if she had a disfigurement. It wasn’t even a year out of high school, before she would prove everyone wrong when she auditioned for America’s Next Top Model.
Today, the face that once cried, now goes to bank smiling. The laughter and the ridicule may not have been worth the emotional anguish in exchange for current fame, but it should be one hell of a gratifying experience.
The Canadian model who exudes with substance and self-worth, is now recognized internationally for that very reason. The German publication Gala Spa presented Winnie with their Beauty Idol award. The Gala Spa Awards are considered very important throughout the Care product industry. Only first-class hotels, spas, and products, which meets Gala Spa requirements, can be nominated or recognized at this ceremony. Portuguese GQ magazine awarded the beauty with their Role Model award. Winnie is barely touching the tip of the iceberg of all the recognition her strength and positive self-image will gain her.
Winnie has an unbelievably supportive fanbase. Earlier in 2015, Winnie’s fans took to Instagram and other social media sites to express their admiration for the rising fashion model. In doing so, many took pictures of themselves with make-up creating a similar appearance of the model’s Vitiligo complexion. The supportive gestured was misconscrewed by other fans and critics. Several individuals referred to the unique selfies, as a form of ‘black face’. Black face is a form of entertainment in which a person paints their skin dark and perform comical skits and plays. The form of entertainment become popular in the 19th century and is considered extremely offensive by African Americans. Harlow believes the reviews of her fans admiration, is down right absorb and she stood up for her them, for she was deeply touched by their self-expression.
Winnie came to her fans defense by expressing how deeply touched she was by their show of support in such a dramatic display. She sent an Instagram blast shortly after the negative buzz was created. In that message she closed with this statement;
“It is very clear to me when someone is showing love and I appreciate these people recreating, loving and broadcasting something to the world that once upon a time I cried myself to sleep over” #1LOVE 💋
The most beautiful gifts of life are sometimes presented in unordinary packages. As Winnie’s proving, unordinary isn’t equate to unpretty or unattractive. Thanks to the fight of Winnie and other models who share her uncommon beauty, we’re now part of a society which understands true beauty. As Winnie Harlow career advances, she will become a household name and classroom example for teaching both males and females how far one can go in life when they take a chance on self. Winnie Harlow, is a Canadian beauty for more than just exterior reasons. From this point on, Harlow will be recognized as a trailblazer of this era, as she redefines beauty and reconstruct the modeling industry.