You may not know Winnie Harlow by name, but her face is fairly recognizable. As a spokesperson for vitiligo, a skin condition that causes the skin to lose pigmentation, she emerged in the modeling world when she competed on the 2014 season of “America’s Next Top Model.”
Since ANTM, Harlow has been modeling for brands like Diesel and Swarovski and has been featured in Glamour and Cosmopolitan. After posting a viral YouTube video in 2011 and presenting in a TED Talk in 2014 addressing her vitiligo, she used her experiences to speak on the importance of inner beauty at the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.
She was also in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” video, so girl’s been around.
But her modeling career just took off in a big way. Some would call it...angelic.
Come November, Harlow will be joining the ranks of past Victoria’s Secret models like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Adriana Lima when she takes the runway at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show this year. She won’t get official “Angel” status, like Lily Aldridge and Candice Swanepoel, but being in the show at all is sure to boost Harlow’s cred.
And she. Is. Pumped.
“It’s the pinnacle of my career,” she says. “I told anyone [who] asked, ‘I want Victoria’s Secret!’” she told Vogue.
Harlow tried out for the VS catwalk last year, but failed to make the cut.
“When I didn’t get it, I was really, really crushed. So many people took to Twitter and Instagram asking me why I wasn’t in the show. I felt so bad disappointing them. I’m happy to make them proud and strut my stuff this year,” she said.
The fact that Victoria’s Secret is putting Harlow in the show is a huge step for representation within our current beauty standards. The institution of the Angels has been ridiculed plenty in the past for the “unattainable” specifications, but Harlow feels that it’s part of her duty as a spokesperson to celebrate this accomplishment.
“This is such a monumental moment in my life and career, I just want to celebrate each day leading up to it," she said. "Oh, and keep myself from crying the moment I walk on that stage!"