‘I’ve Learnt To Listen To Myself:’ Winnie Harlow On Shaking Off Self-Doubt

'I've Learnt To Listen To Myself:' Winnie Harlow On Shaking Off Self-Doubt


by Hayley Spencer |
Published on

Winnie Harlow, who found fame after her selfies were spotted by scouts online, joined a panel of influential women to speak at the London Women In The World summit today on the topic of how social media impacts our confidence.

She spoke out on how her skin condition vitiligo affected her self esteem growing up and the self revelation that has helped her embrace her beauty and shake off hate from others, for good.

Winnie said that as a child she remembers feeling like she was known at school as 'the girl with the skin condition', and while she's now a successful model, her career isn't without challenges.

On the topic of how the modelling industry still has a long way to come in being representative and inclusive, Winnie admitted that for as many companies who do work with her there are 'companies who don't see me as a model and think I'm 'that girl with the skin condition' like at school.'

But in her rise to success she's been able to serve as a poster girl for those with vitiligo who've experienced discrimination. When the talk's mediator recalled how while competing in America's Next Top Model Winnie was called 'sweet panda bear' by a photographer on a shoot, and how she faced backlash from the show's judges for telling him not to call her the name, despite it being a 'feminist issue.'

Winnie says she's glad she did it. 'Even if (that name) doesn't hurt me, it could hurt someone else. Kids could see that and think it's ok to call another kid with my condition names.'

While Winnie has felt the positive side of social media after being discovered as a model via her selfies, she's no stranger to negativity. But she said her turning point came in 'making the effort to focus on my opinion of myself.'

'I was like, "Wait, I don't actually think I'm ugly - I think I'm beautiful." So where did I get the idea I'm not from? From someone else.

'Now I've learnt just to listen to myself.'

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