@winnieharlow The vitilago model adding a much needed dimension to the debate on diversity #ANTM
Chantelle Brown-Young, better known as Winnie Harlow, has contributed what I would describe as a much-needed dimension to the debate on diversity within the modelling industry. The 19 year-old Canadian is one of the 14 contestants whose made it onto this summer’s round of America’s Next Top Model.
Chantelle Brown-Young was diagnosed at a young age with the rare skin condition Vitilago; a result of a malfunction of the immune system and affects less than 0.5 per cent of the population. In her video she speaks about the incessant ridicule as a child who was constantly and cruelly called ‘zebra’, ‘cow’ and all manner of other disparaging slurs.
She states that her drive as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model, was primarily fuelled by the fact that modelling was a lifelong dream of hers; and secondly to prove that anyone can follow their dreams despite their flaws and setbacks.
Personally, I wouldn’t describe her condition as a flaw, I think she’s absolutely stunning and her skin condition doesn’t add or take away from that. I imagine that she expects to turn her unbearable and dehumanising past experiences into an opportunity to prove to herself that she can accomplish her dreams.
However, I predict that her presence on mainstream television, in addition to popular culture and the fashion industry will propel her from someone achieving their dreams, into someone whose set to make a unchangeable mark on an industry that’s prided itself on being ‘untouchable’, and an inspiration to an unmeasurable pool of people from all backgrounds.
Go girl, we’re cheering for you from this side of the water ;-)