By Joli Eubanks
Winnie Harlow, a model with vitiligo, has been gaining the attention of the fashion world with her unique look. The 20-year-old, who was first introduced on America’s Next Top Model, recently landed campaigns for both Desigual and Diesel. She has a disease that could definitely create a stumbling block for a model, but that hasn’t stopped Harlow from becoming a success.
Vitiligo, a skin disease that causes individuals to lose pigment in blotches, received wide recognition when Michael Jackson was diagnosed in the 90’s. Harlow has a drastic case of it. She is an African- American woman and has lost color on various spots all over her body. She is missing pigment on her hands, knees, and feet—as well as her face. But it doesn’t stop her from showing her skin.
Many models exhibit cookie-cutter physical attraction, but Harlow has a deeper beauty. The confidence she carries makes her alluring. We all have imperfections, but most aren’t brave enough to display them for the world to see. Regardless of her skin, the model is gorgeous. Considering her skin, Winnie Harlow is groundbreaking.
We’re always mad at the modeling world. Black models are limited on the runway and in magazines. Plus-size models are underrepresented. We rarely see how real women actually look. Harlow is real to the audience and stunning within her flaws. She proves that beauty comes in all shades and sizes.
Harlow is changing the idea of what a model should look like, opening the doors for other people with unique attributes to the fashion world, as well as to every form of life. She is instilling confidence in those who are different. She took something that many may think of as a disadvantage and made it an advantage.