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Is copying this model's skin condition racist?

Chantelle Brown-Young, known as Winnie Harlow, has vitiligo.

Spain Fashion Week Desigual Source: AP/Press Association Images

A MODEL WHO has the skin condition vitiligo has defended people who used makeup to mimic her skin pigment.

Chantelle Brown-Young, known as Winnie Harlow, was a contestant on America’s Next Top Model and  is a rising star in the fashion world.

A number of people of different races on social media paid homage to her look, sparking some anger.


However, Harlow defended those who had mimicked her look in an Instagram post:

My response to this is probably not what a lot of people want but here it goes: every time someone wants fuller lips, or a bigger bum, or curly hair, or braids does Not mean our culture is being stolen. Have you ever stop to realise these things used to be ridiculed and now they’re loved and lusted over. No one wants to “steal” our look here. We’ve just stood so confidently in our own nappy hair and du-rags and big asses (or in this case, my skin) that now those who don’t have it love and lust after it. Just because a black girl wears blue contacts and long weave doesn’t mean she wants to be white and just because a white girl wears braids and gets lip injection doesn’t mean she wants to be black.

The amount of mixed races in this world is living proof that we don’t want to be each other we’ve just gained a national love for each other. Why can’t we embrace that feeling of love? Why do we have to make it a hate crime?

In a time when so much negative is happening, please don’t accuse those who are showing love and appreciation, of being hateful. It is very clear to me when someone is showing love and I appreciate these people recreating, loving and broadcasting something to the world that once upon a time I cried myself to sleep over #1LOVE

That post garnered an even stronger reaction, with some accusing Harlow of condoning blackface.

Others defended her, saying that her point was less about blackface and more about the breaking down of racial barriers.


Harlow herself hit out at those who criticised white people for mimicking her look, but not black models who had done the same.

Tweet by @ChantelleWinnie♔ Source: ChantelleWinnie♔/Twitter

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