Winnie Harlow has spent her entire modeling career shattering the antiquated, prejudiced understanding of what it means to be a model. In a moving Instagram post Saturday, Harlow announced that she would be taking her fearlessness and her talent to the Victoria's Secret runway in November.
When announcing the achievement on Instagram, Winnie described how nervous she was when attending the Victoria's Secret casting. "I had a break down before i walked into the most nerve wrecking casting of my life. I asked my driver to go around the block twice before i could walk into the @VictoriasSecret offices so i could re coup, and remember (while my trainer @bodybymato reminded me on the phone through sobs - thank you lol) how hard I’ve been working!," the model wrote. However, in an exclusive interview with Vogue, Harlow indicated that when it came time to flaunt her talents, it came naturally.
Since appearing on America's Next Top Model in 2014, Harlow has cultivated an unapologetic social presence and has regularly walked for coveted fashion houses across the world. As a body-positive activist, she has spoken openly of her vitiligo, a skin condition that causes pigmentation loss in certain patches of the skin. Winnie declared that it has been her dream to walk for Victoria's Secret and the 5.5 million viewers the show has amassed. “Why is there a stigma around being different when we’re all different?” Harlow said. “It’s the pinnacle of my career...I told anyone [who] asked, ‘I want Victoria’s Secret!’”
Last year, Harlow was absent from the show in Shanghai, leading many fans to question her exclusion and offer words of encouragement. “When I didn’t get it, I was really, really crushed,” she said. Her previous attempt to cross the threshold has made this year's accomplishment that much more significant.
After finding out she had been cast in the lineup, Harlow broke down in tears. As the first model with vitiligo to grace the Victoria's Secret runway, not only is she achieving a momentous professional victory, she's proving to women everywhere that different is the best kind of beautiful.