Stunning New Top Model Has Vitiligo
From Suicide Thoughts To Finalist In America's Next Top Model
A ravishingly beautiful young woman who was recently grappling with thoughts of suicide has now found herself among the finalists on the television smash series America’s Top Model. She is Chantelle Brown-Young, 19, and although she was born and lives in Canada, her roots are firmly anchored in several parishes across Jamaica from where her parents originate.
Chantelle, who is also called Winnie, is currently sequestered at a secret location with no access to cell phones, social media, computers, press interviews, family nor friends for the duration of the television taping. But her journey to one of the most sought-after platforms in the American fashion industry was at best a perilous and bumpy ride.
Stunning New Top Model Contestant Has Rare Skin Condition
Contestants on the 21st cycle of America's Next Top Model completed their first photoshoot earlier this week. One of the fourteen model (UPDATE from March 6: one of 13) hopefuls in the running for the title and assorted bargain-basement prizes that now come with it is 19-year-old Chantelle Young. Two things make Chantelle stand out: 1) she's Canadian and 2) she has vitiligo, a condition causing patchy depigmentation of the skin.
Via Instagram, Chantelle (whose real name is Winnie Harlow) describes herself as a "vitiligo spokesmodel." She's walked Toronto Fashion Week's runways and has many an editorial to her name, but it's likely her desire to promote the condition helped in the show's casting stages — making her the latest in a long line of models Tyra has presented to promote diversity, and "challenge" the boundaries of beauty/model potential. Take her first plea video to the show's voting fans, for example: Chantelle eloquentiy discusses vitiligo without entering sob story territory. "A lot of people have a story or a background," she says, "but mine is painted on my body."
And it's these moments that make Top Model, for all its hackneyed dramatics and unrealistic proclamations of high fashion success for its contestants, worthwhile. Still. A real focus on the championing of diversity remains, arguably not just for the ratings either. (Though let's not pretend that doesn't factor in.) Tyra means well, even if she goes crazy and yells at a girl (YouTube) once in a blue moon. She really does want to shake the fashion industry up, and you've got to give her props for never letting up. Chantelle is likely to be her latest poster-girl, and really, it's a beautiful poster.
Continue reading story from Alex Rees for Cosmopolitan >>>
VOTE for Chantelle on America's Next Top Model website. Give Winnie chance to win, and share the glory!
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Watch her plea video on YouTube
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