Winnie Harlow: 'We should all focus on celebrating ourselves'
Winnie Harlow believes in equality should always rule and that people shouldn't be afraid to celebrate themselves.
The model rose to fame after her appearance on Tyra Banks’ reality TV show America's Next Top Model in 2014, with the Jamaican-Canadian model standing out due to her Vitiligo - a skin condition which is characterised by portions of the skin losing their pigment for a patchy appearance.
Since then, the 22-year-old has also been a powerful advocate for diversity in the industry. In her powerful 2014 TED Talk, she insisted that there’s no reason to fit into preordained moulds as “there is beauty in everything”, a sentiment she has echoed once again in a new interview.
"Equality rules!" Winnie smiled to Teen Vogue. "Regardless of what race, what colour, what sex, what nationality, what sexual orientation — regardless of who you are, equality should always rule! Whatever is right for you is right. Period."
While Winnie's skin condition has made her stand out and become a symbol for diversity and progression in fashion and the wider world, the model says her focus is not on being celebrated, but rather celebrating herself.
"It was best for me when I started loving myself and other people could see that. I more so appreciate people loving the fact that I love myself and not just glorifying my skin or me," she explained to the publication. "That was something instilled in me from my family and my mother, but I lost it due to being bullied and things I experienced growing up."
Now the brand ambassador for Spanish brand Desigual alongside Brazilian supermodel Adriana Lima, and muse of photographer Nick Knight and designer Ashish, Winnie has gained the confidence she previously lacked, when she suffered taunts of "cow and zebra" throughout her childhood, which forced her to change schools several times.
"For me, it was more about finding that again and realizing that any opinions that were negative towards me were not worth my time or emotion," she smiled. "Know that feeling different is not wrong or negative. We are all different!"