Essence
March 28, 2017 2:40 pm
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Stuart C. Wilson / Stringer/ Getty Images

When we see women of color embracing their natural “flaws” for the world to see, it’s cause for celebration. However, there’s a thin line between lauding these standout moments and shaming those who are happy doing just the opposite. Last week, model Winnie Harlow reminded us of that with her latest Instagram post.

Since a notable stint on America’s Next Top Model, she’s used her celebrity status to champion inclusivity throughout the fashion industry. As someone with vitiligo, Harlow has spoken time and time again about her journey toward self-acceptance, which included waves of verbal abuse from childhood bullies.

And even though she’s graduated to the world’s most high profile runways, Harlow continues to stir up necessary conversations whenever and whereever possible. Case in point: her recent repost of Khloe Dosh’s makeup transformation, poses an important point about perceptions of beauty.

The time lapse, originally posted on @KhloeDosh, shows a woman applying makeup to cover her spotted skin while a poem is being read. The crux of its message lie in these words: “This makeup you wear isn’t meant to hide who you are or diminish your natural beauty. You’re a human. You’re allowed options. You’re allowed change. If there’s any animal there should compare you to, it’s a chameleon because of your beauty’s range.”

It’s safe to assume that some most may see this as someone trying to cover up their “flaws,” so Harlow challenges us to not “shame someone for what makes them happy.”

“Contrary to popular belief, I don’t just stand for being confident. I also stand for doing what makes you happy,” she wrote. “I get so many people reaching out saying, ‘people covering their pimples, vitiligo freckles etc. they need to be more confident like you. But why shame someone for what makes them happy?”

She continued by highlighting the importance of empathy and understanding in an era where oversharing is the new norm and everyone doesn’t share the same point of view.

“We all have insecurities, and we are different and yet so much alike. Sometimes people write things that can make you think ‘Am I a bad person then?, ‘Am I ugly?’ ‘Am I a bitch?’…WE are all human. I don’t want to look like anyone other than myself, and neither should you.”

Conformity plays a huge role in the beauty and hair choices we make. For some, it’s about wearing what’s in vogue. For others, it’s about rejecting what magazines and blogs tell us do. Maybe you’re someone who likes to do both. The moral of this story is to remember that there isn’t just one way to feel beautiful, no matter what social media tells you. Thanks for the quick reminder, Winnie and Khloe!

Be sure to follow @KhloeDash for more inspirational beauty tutorials.

This article originally appeared in Essence by Nikki Brown.