Victoria's Secret just hired a model with Vitiligo to walk the 2018 fashion show
While we're seeing a more diverse array of body-types on the catwalk and beyond, it's evident that we still have a way to go before the fashion industry can be said to successfully champion inclusivity.
Victoria's Secret, however, have just made a step in the right direction. According to Page Six, Winnie Harlow - a model with Vitiligo, a skin condition which causes pigmentation loss in certain patches of the skin - will walk in this year's Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.
Last Friday, the model's representative confirmed to the publication that Harlow would be walking the runway later this year as the lingerie brand's latest "angel". "We could not be more thrilled and proud of her," the rep said.
Harlow's involvement in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show marks the first time that a model with Vitiligo has walked the iconic event. And given that Harlow has always been outspoken about her desire to break down antiquated notions of what it means to be a model, she was naturally overjoyed by this recent development.
"I had a break down before i walked into the most nerve wrecking casting of my life," Harlow wrote in an emotional Instagram post.
"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! I went in and made new friends and saw old friends and it already felt like home! We patiently waited while [Victoria's Secret] carefully took time to get to know each girl. When it was finally my time, within my nervous storm of anticipation i changed into a black Victoria Secret set and stepped out!!!! I spoke to them about Jamaica, @nick_knight , my abs, and how i was beyond honoured to be given the opportunity to try out.. then I walked for my life!!!!
"I can’t believe this!! Thank you for giving me all the energy and kindness in that room! Thank you for allowing me to walk for VICTORIA’S SECRET! Thank you to my agencies [...] and mama bears #sarahstennett & @thelilmisse for having my back supporting and believing in me! I love you guys you’re FAMILY!! Thank you mommy for praying with me everyday for the past 3 days. And thank you so much to my fans who have been pushing me forward to this point in my career. I’m so blessed thank you Lord!! IM WALKING THE VICTORIA’S SECRET SHOW!"
Harlow has spoken candidly in the past about her disdain for the term "Vitiligo sufferer". "[To] tabloids, magazines and people who write articles on me PSA: I'm not a 'Vitiligo Sufferer'. I'm not a 'Vitiligo model'. I am Winnie. I am a model. And i happen to have Vitiligo," she wrote on Instagram after The Evening Standard used the phrase to describe her in an issue published back in March.
"Stop putting these titles on me or anyone else. I AM NOT SUFFERING! If anything I'm SUCCEEDING at showing people that their differences don't make them WHO they are! All our differences are apart [sic] of who we are but they don't define us! I'm sick of every headline ending in 'Vitiligo Sufferer' or 'Suffers from Vitiligo'. Do you see me suffering? The only thing I'm Suffering from are your headlines and the closed minds of humans who have one beauty standard locked into their minds when there are multiple standards of beauty! The beach was damn fine that day, nothing to suffer about!"
Go on, Winnie!