As Winnie Harlow stepped out onto the red carpet at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto as the guest of honour for the 2023 Global Citizen Award Gala – hosted by the UNA-Canada, she turned heads with her beauty, grace, and confidence. She wore a stunning figure-hugging, floor-length, leopard-print gown to receive the prestigious award, which she was recognized as the recipient of for her outstanding contributions to building a better world through her unwavering dedication to diversity and empowerment.
“It means so much to me accepting [the award] where I’m from, being in Canada. Having my family and my peers here really means a lot to me in the sense that it all started here for me… The feelings of wanting to make a difference in inclusivity, in representation, all started from my experiences at home.” Winnie Harlow shares with StyleDemocracy.
She also expressed how important it is to her to be able to come back and know the changes she’s made and acknowledge the changes that she still wants to see. It’s no secret how cutthroat the fashion and beauty industry can be in terms of inclusivity. Although waves are being made, and we are seeing more diversity and inclusion, thanks to trailblazers like Winnie Harlow, it’s still crucial for brands to understand the importance of representation.
The supermodel has openly shared her struggles with the bullying she faced due to having the skin condition vitiligo growing up and the challenges of breaking into the industry.
She shared with us, “I didn’t get to see myself on anything represented. I didn’t see myself on covers, on billboards, as businesswomen…” and explains that her hope is that in everything she does, from covers, to runways, to campaigns, allows people to see themselves and know that they can do it as well.
Harlow has definitely put her mark on the fashion and beauty industry over the years, beginning as a contestant on America’s Next Top Model to famously being the first model with vitiligo to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
She even founded her own beauty brand, Cay Skin, inspired by a terrible sun damage experience she faced while in the Bahamas. “This is my skin story. You have one, too. I started Cay Skin because compromising should have no part in our stories.” Winnie shares on the Cay Skin website. The brand provides daily suncare that protects, nourishes, and illuminates all skin tones, types, and conditions.
Winnie Harlow’s dedication to shattering industry norms and her commitment to representing the diversity of beauty has coined her a remarkable Global Citizen. It’s incredible to see someone from the GTA rise to fame and inspire so many.
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