Chantelle Brown-Young is a 19-year-old model from Toronto, Canada. She’s beautiful and talented, and recently landed a spot in the upcoming season of America’s Next Top Model.
She also has vitiligo, a skin condition that causes the depigmentation of skin, leaving her with patches of lighter skin on her face and body. And she’s become a pioneer in the fashion industry for overcoming critics and proudly posing for the world.
Young, who also goes by Winnie Harlow, has become a self-described spokesperson for vitiligo, and an inspiration for other people who have the same condition. On Instagram, where she’s gathered over 91,000 followers, she posts high fashion photos, inspirational quotes, and fan art.
Young began developing patches of depigmentation when she was a toddler, and she went through a hard time as a child.
“I went through a lot of bullying, people calling me ‘zebra’ or ‘cow,'” she told an interviewer on YouTube.
“It’s just skin,” she explained. “People have black skin; people have brown skin. I have both…It’s not at all a big deal.”
Young has dreams of one day hosting her own television program as well as continuing with her modeling career. In the meantime, she’s helping to change the fashion industry’s narrow standards of beauty by sending an empowering message.
“I’m not ashamed of my body,” Young wrote on her blog. “And if I don’t care about it, you shouldn’t either… Modeling is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little girl, and just because I have vitiligo that’s not going to stop me. I embrace the skin I’m in.”
We should all take a page from Young’s book.