Having once been a black model in the industry, I can profess to how hard it is to secure a decent modelling contract and truly be recognised as a top model. However, society must be careful not to solely label models of diversity as those from the “black or minority” groups. We see everyday in magazines, music videos, films and newspapers of what is generally deemed as a beautiful model or woman but the question arises; where does this definition come from?
What I am most intrigued at is the power of self-definition or what you may call self-love; Winnie Harlow clearly defines this for me. Chantelle Brown – Young also known as Winnie Harlow is a 19 year old model who suffers from vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin disease that causes the cells responsible for skin pigmentation to die, this will often cause patches of “white skin “ to appear across the body and face. My Father suffered from vitiligo for a number of years and I am aware of the emotional, mental and physical affect that it can have on an individual. Not only is Winnie a prime example of a ‘model of diversity’ but also highly influential. Winnie has refused to be defined by the fashion industry and has self-defined herself. As a result, Winnie has established herself as a top model and the first ever model with this disease. When you look at Winnie her beauty radiates but even more so her high regard of what makes her “diverse” and “original”.
Models of Diversity is a company who campaigns “for more diversity in the models we see every day.” The company was founded by Angel Sinclair, as a result of her appearance on Gok’s Miss Naked Beauty in 2008. Models of Diversity is one amongst a few, who actively promote the use of a wide range of models within the fashion industry. The British Fashion Council is also in support of this movement and state that they are “committed to supporting diversity and equal opportunities across the fashion industry.”
I personally believe that in order to achieve diversity within the industry, there is one imperative outcome that must be achieved. We need to identify where we locate diversity. Well it’s simple really. The beautiful, ‘diverse’ models that we quite often identify as “missing” in the industry are individuals like YOU. YOU are diverse, YOU are unique and YOU are beautiful. How do we promote diversity? It starts from loving yourself; no one will ever accept your diversity until you do! Individuals such as Lupita Nyong’o, Kate Moss, Shaun Ross and Winnie Harlow did exactly that.
I loved myself and with that, opportunities started to fall into my lap and I thank God for all of them. Try loving yourself.” Winnie Harlow