Young, inspirational model, Chantelle Brown-Young (also goes by Winnie Harlow) is the first model to come on board with a skin condition called Vitiligo. Vitiligo is a condition that causes depigmentation of parts of the skin. It occurs when melanocytes, the cells responsible for skin pigmentation, die or are unable to function. Chantelle was diagnosed at the age of four. Growing up, she was bullied and teased, given the nicknames “zebra” and “cow”. Now this beautiful model will get the last laugh as she takes her career by storm and gains the support of so many of her fans. Unlike most, Chantelle embraces her uniqueness instead of hiding it. Winnie is also a Vitiligo spokesmodel, helping others to accept and love themselves.
“Growing up, it was a ‘fake it ’til you make it’ type of thing. I just decided, ‘You know what? I’m going to keep telling myself I’m beautiful until I feel beautiful.’ And it happened.” – Winnie Harlow
A few years ago and 12 years after her diagnosis, Chantelle decided she wanted to pursue modeling, so she messaged photographer Shannon Boodram on Facebook and landed her first photo shoot. Using her new modeling pictures, Chantelle went to a casting for Fashion Art Toronto and booked it. This is the first fashion job she had ever done. Chantelle continued to do runway shows and not only build her portfolio, but her confidence as well.
Recently Tyra Banks noticed the budding model, and reached out to her through a fan page created by Chantelle’s 10-year-old sister. “I remember thinking, ‘That’s cool, but let’s not get too excited because this probably isn’t real,'” Chantelle recalls. “But then we looked into it and it was the real deal. Now, Chantelle is competing on the 21st season of Banks’s America’s Next Top Model as one of the show’s buzziest contestants ever.
On Monday night, model Chantelle Brown-Young watched her own elimination from “America’s Next Top Model,” after judges said she was “too tight.” Although she didn’t become America’s Next Top Model, having Tyra Banks ask for her personally and being on the show at all was a great opportunity and experience for the young model.
Winnie returned to Canada with modeling offers and continues to work, including a chance to travel to Barcelona to be the face of Spanish brand Desigual’s fall campaign. Desigual stands for being unusual, unique and atypical, so naturally Winnie was the perfect pick.
Winnie Harlow is changing the face of fashion and stands for not only people with Vitiligo, but all of the people who are unique. Winnie shows the world that we can only be our perfect selves, not perfect. ANTM, magazine, news articles, social media and now fashion campaigns have spread Chantelle’s talent and bravery, increasing her acceptance as a Not-So-Ordinary model. This is only the beginning for Chantelle Young-Brown AKA Winnie Harlow. We expect to see great success in her future.