Winnie Harlow went from being called cow at school to top model

Winnie Harlow was bullied for the way she looked by her peers at school. They taunted her with cruel nicknames such as “cow” and “zebra” because of her skin condition. The bullying was so bad that she was forced to drop out and was home schooled.

The Canadian model was literally everywhere after being on Season 21 of Tyra Banks hugely successful, America’s Next Top Model TV show despite having Vitiligo.

Even though she can be called a successful model today, Winnie Harlow did not have an easy childhood. At the age of four, she was diagnosed with Vitiligo, the incurable skin pigmentation disease that causes colorless patches to develop on a person’s body.

Winnie Harlow learned to love who she is despite what anyone would say about her or to her. This gave her the courage to really stand up to anyone or any obstacle in her life.

In school, Winnie Harlow was singled out for bullying by her peers. She also had difficulty making friends, but then she met some girls who tried to see if she was one of the cool kids. They bonded and were great friends until all of a sudden they were gone.

They would avoid her during lunch, avoid her after school, until one day she went up to them and asked them what’s up. They said “Sorry, we can’t talk to you anymore. Our parents said we might catch your skin condition.’”

The verbal harassment she suffered from her mates in school made her change schools many times and eventually dropping out of high school. Afterwards, she contemplated committing suicide.

Winnie Harlow story is an inspiring one. She was born Chantelle Brown-Young on July 27, 1994 in Toronto, Canada. She is a Canadian fashion model, spokesperson, and activist.

Top Model Winnie Harlow

She gained prominence as a contestant on the twenty-first cycle of the U.S. television series America’s Next Top Model with a prominent skin condition called Vitiligo. She was diagnosed with the chronic skin condition, characterized by de-pigmentation of portions of the skin, at the age of four.

Harlow was discovered by America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks on Instagram and subsequently became one of the fourteen finalists of the twenty-first cycle in 2014. She was the first and only Canadian ever cast on ANTM. She was eliminated in the second week of the finals.

Following her elimination from America’s Next Top Model, Harlow modelled for the Spanish clothing brand Desigual and became their official brand representative.

In September 2014, she walked and closed for the clothing brand Ashish for their spring/summer 2015 collection in London Fashion Week.

In 2015, Harlow modelled for the Italian clothing brand Diesel for its spring/summer 2015 campaign, which was shot by British fashion photographer Nick Knight.

She modelled for the Spanish and Italian editions of Glamour magazine and was featured in the August/September 2015 issue of Complex magazine. She was also featured in the August 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan. She was featured on Vogue Italia’s website in an interview and accompanying photo shoot.

In August 2015, Harlow shot the cover of and an accompanying editorial spread in the September issue of Ebony magazine, where she appeared alongside former America’s Next Top Model contestant Fatima Siad.

Winnie Harlow

In 2016, Harlow was featured in a commercial for Sprite and was featured in a campaign for Swarovski. The same year, she was chosen as one of BBC’s 100 Women.

In July 2011, Harlow posted a YouTube video titled “Vitiligo: A Skin Condition, not a Life Changer”, where she talked about the condition and answered questions about her life living with vitiligo.

In November 2014, Harlow spoke in a TED presentation, recalling her experience with living with vitiligo. In October 2015, Harlow spoke at the Dove Self-Esteem Project panel at the 2015 Women in the World Summit. She was presented with the ‘Role Model’ award at the 2015 Portuguese GQ Men of The Year event.

Winnie Harlow doesn’t know why she is seen as a role model. She likes to call herself an inspiration. She is happy to inspire children, but she doesn’t want to be their role model.

Even though Winnie Harlow appeared in Cycle 21 of America’s Next Top Model in 2014 and did not win the crown, she still has a successful career. And she doesn’t believe it has anything to do with the show.

In a recent interview, she said: “I really started after the show, ’cause that really didn’t do anything for my career…it doesn’t do anything for any model’s career, realistically,” Harlow said.

“A photographer from London hit me up—major photographer Nick Knight—and he was like, ‘Hey, I’ve seen your photos online, and I want to do a shoot with you.’ It went viral, and I got campaigns from there, and it hasn’t stopped since.”

“The exposure may help some contestants book future gigs, but at this point, no one should go on Top Model thinking they will actually become a major supermodel. Hallow said she went on the show because she thought it would be a “career starter,” but found that was not the case.”

What happened to Winnie Harlow didn’t stop her from being great. She remains an inspiration. Winnie Harlow condition made her better.



Woman. Journalist. Writer. Blogger. Non Conformist. Rebel. Daring. Creative. Amazing. Unstoppable.

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