Some of you may know Winnie, and some of you may not, but this lady right here is a huge inspiration to me, as well as a growing icon in our generation, and that is why I have chosen her to be the Human of The Month.
Winnie Harlow, born Chantelle Brown-Young, is a Canadian native, model and spokes-model.
At the age of 4, she was diagnosed with a skin disease called Vitiligo.
Vitiligo is characterised by portions of the skin losing their pigment. The condition develops when cells called melanocytes are destroyed, making the skin appear in different patches.
I first discovered Winnie through instagram, and from there, I became so drawn to her story, her lifestyle and most importantly, her confidence. Winnie Harlow has truly redefined what self love and acceptance means.
In her interview on The Real, Winnie mentioned that she was severely bullied throughout middle school and high school, which was what eventually drove to her drop out. She was criticised everyday because of her chronic skin condition; this brutally destroyed her confidence and self esteem.
However, despite the “predicament” she found herself in, Winnie Harlow made the decision to pick herself back up and show the world that she can make a big name for herself, regardless of her disease.
She still strongly believed in her dreams of becoming an international super model , and she chose to never allow people’s vindictive comments get in the way of her success.
Winnie was discovered by a Toronto journalist at the age of 16, who later shared her story in a YouTube video. The video received over 150k views, and had features in The Daily Mail and Access Hollywood.
Her confidence, strength, beauty and message rapidly brought about millions of fans and supporters from around the world, and since then, she has helped inspire people living with Vitiligo, people with other skin diseases and people struggling with self confidence in general.
What can be learned from Winnie’s story? Life is not about crying over what you don’t have, it’s about making the most of what you DO have!
Winnie did not grow up with the ‘perfect’ skin, but she chose not to wallow in sadness for the rest of her life. She did not shy away from her condition. She refused to live a life of misery. She refused to let her condition hold her back from achieving her dreams. Instead, she took a leap of faith, boldly rose to the occasion and decided to make the most of what people mocked and bullied her for.
Despite being rejected by every modelling agency in Toronto a few years back, Winnie can now be seen gracing the covers of international magazines and walking runways for designers around the globe.
Winnie has turned her “unfortunate situation” into a real time blessing, and she is now considered as a role model and inspiration to millions of young girls.
Stop looking at your misfortunes as a punishment. Stop complaining about your defects, your flaws and your imperfections. In lieu, turn each and every one of them into an opportunity for you to stand out, shine amongst your peers, and empower other people.
Like Napoleon Hill said, “Your big opportunity may be where you are right now!”. Make the most of every situation you find yourself in, because it might just be your next breakthrough.