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Woman with Vitiligo Proves Bullies of her Past Wrong as She Turns Top Model


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Chantelle Brown-Young was teased in school, often called “zebra” or “cow” becuase of her skin condition, vitiligo. However, things began to change when a Toronto photographer encouraged her to model at 16. Her alter-ego-named Instagram (@winnieharlow) became an outlet for her modeling photos and soon enough, Tyra Banks contacted her to become a part of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM).

Brown-Young’s success began even before ANTM, however, as Desigual announced her as the face of its Autumn-Winter 2014 campaign. Her success has even gotten her a place in JMSN‘s “The One” music video.

The first episode of Banks’ show featuring Brown-Young aired last night, but the entire phenomenon — if it hasn’t already accosted your Facebook News Feed — refreshed the conversation of outer looks, inner personality, social acceptance and race.

In an era that seems to be producing younger generations more accepting of various racial issues, there are still plenty of stories to speak to the contrary. On one hand, shows like America’s Next Top Model with personalities such as Brown-Young’s, and even modeling agencies like UGLY, push us forward. Yet on the other, people still comment and criticize harshly when it comes to racial issues and bias in the media, especially when folded into the topic of Photoshop. And we haven’t even touched on the topic of the body image that the fashion industry does or doesn’t impress upon our young and impressionable children.

In any case, the fashion industry seems to be moving forward with the rest of us. We all have our own pace. But do you think this is a step forward? Is there a such thing as a martyr in fashion? In the context of society’s racial issues? What more should or shouldn’t be done when it comes to changing mindsets when it comes to how we look?

Fashion — or at least Tyra — is doing what it can. Can we say we’re doing the same?

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