Winnie Harlow Wants You to Know That She's Not "Suffering" from Vitiligo
"Do you see me suffering?"
Winnie Harlow is many things. She's a super-successful model, body-positivity advocate, and a woman who has vitiligo, a condition that causes skin to lose its pigment. But she isn't "suffering" from vitiligo, as a London newspaper insinuated.
In a recent Instagram post, Harlow shared a picture of the newspaper, which described her as a "Canadian vitiligo sufferer" and accompanied it with a caption explaining that she is so much more than her condition.
"I'm not a 'Vitiligo Sufferer,'" she wrote. "I'm not a 'Vitiligo model.' I am Winnie. I am a model. And I happen to have Vitiligo. Stop putting these titles on me or anyone else. I AM NOT SUFFERING! If anything I'm SUCCEEDING at showing people that their differences don't make them WHO they are! All our differences are apart of who we are but they don't define us!" (Related: This Woman Was Bullied for Her Vitiligo, So She Transformed Her Skin Into Art)
She continued by making it clear that she's totally comfortable in her own skin, and that there is no one standard of beauty. "I'm sick of every headline ending in 'Vitiligo Sufferer' or 'Suffers from Vitiligo,'" she wrote. "Do you see me suffering? The only thing I'm suffering from are your headlines and the closed minds of humans who have one beauty standard locked into their minds when there are multiple standards of beauty! The beach was damn fine that day, nothing to suffer about!"
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time the model has had to explain why she wants to be known for more than just her skin. In a 2016 interview with Elle Canada, she explained: "I'm very sick of talking about my skin. I am literally just a human. I have the same brain as you; there's a skeleton under my skin just like yours. It's not that serious."
She said that she's just another woman "living life," adding: "And if that inspires you, I'm proud, but I'm not going to put pressure on myself to be the best person in the world and tell everyone I have vitiligo. If you want to know about it, you can do your research. Either way, I'm not in the dictionary under 'vitiligo.'"