For a long time, any sort of divergence from conventional beauty standards was unacceptable in the modeling industry. People who didn’t conform to the fair and slim body type weren’t allowed to enter the industry. However, many people have played a role in demolishing those rules, and Winnie Harlow is one of them.
Winnie has played a monumental role in making the modeling industry a more realistic and accessible space. Suffering from vitiligo, she is one of the very few models in the industry to have succeeded with a visible disease.
Winnie Harlow has risen to the top of the industry, having worked with major brands such as Victoria’s Secret.
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So, Vogue spoke to Harlow to find out about her world of beauty.
WHAT DID WINNIE HARLOW SAY?
TAKING CARE OF HER SKIN
“I try to keep my skincare routine very simple and don’t put too much on my face. If I’ve been going out a lot, I like to do a lot of different face masks. For a daily cleanse, I use African Black Soap – it’s very pure and keeps my face clean. Afterwards, I tone with a mixture of water and tea tree oil. I try to make sure that everything I use is hypo-allergenic and natural. I love Eau Thermale Avène’s Skin Recovery Cream. It’s the only one I’ve used which doesn’t make me break me out and completely calms down my skin. A lot of people ask me how I keep my skin fairly smooth and avoid breakouts, and I think that’s because I always take off my make-up before I go to bed, and I mean really take it off.”
“If I’m running around or just hanging out at home then I barely wear any make-up. For a quick and simple look, I usually do my eyebrows and put on a little bit of concealer, maybe if I feel like it some mascara, but probably not. Recently I went to Jamaica and I took my Burt’s Bees Coconut and Pear Lip Balm with me, which is really nice to use as it smells amazing. When I’m going out and doing a full look I use a lot of different products. I love to play with make-up. I adapt my beauty look to my outfit, so as soon as I know what I’m wearing I know if I want to go for a red lip or a smoky eye. I usually won’t put those two together, but it all depends on what outfit I’m going for.”
“Growing up, my mother was a hairdresser, so I spent a lot of time in the salon. I used to do her clients’ nails, so I’m really good at doing my own. The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to keep your nails and cuticles moisturised. You can transform your nails in five seconds just by putting some oil on them. For work, I usually keep them fairly short, but I prefer to have longer, oval-shaped, natural nails.”
“I always keep my hair protected and I love to do protective styling. The one product that I swear by is Three Sisters of Nature Sweet Honey Rose Treatment. It’s a deep conditioner and it smells like candy. I swear, if you get this and you smell it you will never want to buy another deep conditioner because it smells that good. I’ve started using it as a leave-in conditioner as it softens my hair, smells amazing and it’s good for defining my curls. If you add a tiny bit of gel on top it really tames your hair when it dries.”
“I love getting massages, especially when I’ve had a really busy week or if I’ve been training really hard. I will usually get one or two a week. I feel like a lot of people see massages as a luxury, but for me it’s about taking care of my body and so I see them as a necessity. I have someone come to my house to do them when I’m at home, but if I’m travelling and someone recommends a really good spa to me then I will check that out. I once stayed at the Four Seasons in Istanbul and I had a massage in their spa. It was amazing.”
“In London, I have a lot of different trainers but my go-to gym is Third Space. I hate cardio and I have to do a lot of it currently but I really don’t like it, I prefer weight training. Pilates is a lot of fun too, as I love to stretch. If I meet a new trainer, I always let them know that I love to stretch, and if they just make me put my arms up above my head and hold them for a few seconds I have to switch trainers. I did ballet when I was younger and I still practice my stretches after a workout. I also have a gym in my condo in Canada, so I work out a lot there too.”
“With castings for fashion week coming up, I’m trying to eat well as it is a part of my job. I think it’s great though because I do feel brighter and lighter when I am eating healthily. I’ll eat lots of vegetables, fill up on seafood, some fruit here and there, and make sure I take my vitamins and drink lots of water. I take multi-vitamins and a fibre supplement to keep my digestive system on track and a probiotic to keep everything in balance.”
“Recently, I have been loving Cher’s old looks. I’ve been looking through a lot of them and just seeing how she used to experiment with her hair, her looks and her outfits. I really want to recreate one of her looks for a shoot. In one photograph, she has this really epic outfit with her stomach out, and I just absolutely admire it. Sometimes it’s hard to try new things, but she is living proof that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with your style.”
“I would say whatever your dream is to keep pushing for it, no matter what it is or what people think about it. If it’s your dream, never settle. I didn’t really want to be a model – it wasn’t something that I had my hopes set on. I wanted to be a journalist, and people kept pushing me to model so I did a few things here and there, and then there were certain people who were like actually no, you shouldn’t and you can’t. That’s what made me want to model, when people told me that I couldn’t. If you know what you want to do and you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
WORKING WITH BURT’S BEES
“Even before I got involved with the #BringBackTheBees campaign, my mother was talking to me about how all the bees are disappearing. When I heard about the campaign I knew it was definitely something that I want to be a part of. My sister jokes with me about it though because when I was young I was so afraid of bees that I once ran away, fell over and ended up scraping both of my knees. She finds it hilarious that I was running away from them as a child and now I’m trying to save them as an adult.”
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