Winnie Harlow Biography

Winnie Harlow, a Canadian model and television personality, rose to fame as a contestant on the 21st cycle of ‘America’s Next Top Model’. Despite facing challenges due to her chronic skin condition, vitiligo, Harlow has overcome adversity and established herself as a prominent figure in the fashion industry. With her captivating presence and impressive portfolio, she has worked with renowned brands such as Sprite, Diesel, and Swarovski. Additionally, Harlow serves as a public spokesperson on vitiligo, using her platform to raise awareness and inspire others.

Quick Facts

  • Canadian Celebrities Born In July
  • Also Known As: Chantelle Whitney Brown-Young
  • Age: 29 Years, 29 Year Old Females
  • Family:
    • Father: Windsor Young
    • Mother: Lisa Brown
    • Siblings: Christina Harlow
  • Occupation:
    • Models
    • Public Speakers
  • Height: 1.73 m
  • Ancestry: Jamaican Canadian
  • City: Mississauga, Canada

Childhood & Early Life

Winnie Harlow, originally named Chantelle Brown-Young, was born on July 27, 1994, in Toronto, Ontario. Her parents are Lisa Brown and Windsor Young, and she has two sisters, including one named Christina Harlow. Raised by her mother, Harlow is of Jamaican descent. At the age of four, she was diagnosed with the skin condition vitiligo, which would shape her experiences throughout her childhood and early life.

High School and Struggles

Harlow faced difficulties during her high school years due to her vitiligo. She was subjected to bullying and derogatory names such as “cow” and “zebra” by her classmates. The situation became so severe that she had to change schools multiple times. The constant harassment took a toll on her mental health, and she even contemplated suicide. During this time, she came up with the nickname “Harlow” as a tribute to her childhood idol, Jeanne Harlow, and Marilyn Monroe’s icon. She also adopted the name “Winnie” but does not recall its origin. Later, when she entered the modeling industry, she wanted her real name, Chantelle Winnie, to be widely known.

Career Beginnings

Harlow’s career in modeling began on Instagram. Tyra Banks, the host of “America’s Next Top Model,” discovered her on the photo and video-sharing site. She was selected as one of the 14 finalists for the show’s 21st cycle, making her the first and only Canadian contestant in the history of the show. Although she was eliminated in the second week of the finals, she participated in a separate competition called the “comeback series.” After winning the audience votes, she returned to the main competition but was eventually eliminated in the 13th episode.

Success in the Fashion Industry

Despite not winning “America’s Next Top Model,” Harlow gained significant exposure that propelled her career in the fashion industry. She became the official brand ambassador for the Spanish clothing brand Desigual and walked the runway for UK-based brand Ashish during the 2015 London Fashion Week. She graced the cover of Ebony magazine in September 2015 and worked with renowned photographer Nick Knight for Diesel’s spring/summer 2015 campaign. Harlow’s modeling career continued to flourish as she appeared in various magazines and was recognized as one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2016.

Raising Awareness about Vitiligo

Living with vitiligo and being part of an industry focused on appearance, Harlow has a unique platform to raise awareness about the condition. In 2011, she uploaded a video on YouTube titled “Vitiligo: A Skin Condition, not a Life Changer” to share her experiences. She also gave a speech at a TED event in 2014, discussing her journey with vitiligo. Harlow received the “Role Model” award at the Portuguese GQ Men of The Year event in 2015, further solidifying her impact as a role model.

Personal Life and Achievements

Winnie Harlow has been romantically linked to hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa and British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton. In 2018, she made headlines when she mistakenly waved the chequered flag at the Canadian Grand Prix, prematurely ending the race. This incident led to changes in Formula One sporting regulations to prevent similar occurrences. Harlow has also appeared in several music videos and received awards such as the Beauty Idol award at the Gala Spa Awards in 2015 and Glamour’s Editor’s Award in 2017.


During her high school years, Harlow’s mother used to apply makeup to her vitiligo spots to conceal them. However, Harlow expressed her dislike for the process, leading her mother to stop doing it.

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