Former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant Winnie Harlow debuted her freshly natural hair Nov. 27, but things turned ugly once she cruelly joked about another model’s tresses.
Harlow’s fans praised her afro on Instagram, but when she shared her new ‘do with her sister on Snapchat, the two traded joking insults about their hairstyles. According to a video and screenshot obtained by Fameolous, Harlow’s sister said Harlow’s hair looked like french fries. In response, Harlow sent her sister a photo of South Sudanese-Australian model Duckie.
“LMFAO! WHAT ARE THOOOOOSEEEEE cauliflower a– head,” Harlow wrote in the caption.
In reaction, social media went up in flames.
@scorpioluv32 blamed Harlow’s post on her poor self-esteem.
@biggergeh demanded Harlow improve her modeling skills rather than feeling angry.
@luxxe_senoritas deemed the 22-year-old a fake model.
Harlow said she eventually apologized away from the public eye, blaming the situation on a joke and declaring she did so “right when it was known that feelings were hurt.”
“My joke was about a short ponytail, and had nothing to do with race, texture or skin.” she wrote in the caption. “I have a short ponytail, too. I’ve worn my natural hair, braids, twists, etc., all my life and have had my hair burn off from my job, so her struggle with hair is also my struggle.”
I'm past the place where ur bullying affects me. They only thing that affected me was that someone's feelings got hurt and I was to blame. My joke was about a short ponytail, & had nothing to do with race, texture or skin. I have a short ponytail too. I've worn my natural hair, braids, twists, etc. all my life and have had my hair burn off from my job, so her struggle with hair is also my struggle. Because of this the joke was meant to be lighthearted. Wigs/weaves are just a protective style for us when we work. Regardless, use this as I am, not to bash people or argue with each other, but as a growing experience for kindness, forgiveness, and understanding. Lots of love ?
But Twitter didn’t think Harlow’s message was sincere.
Briana questioned how an image detailing the model’s joke could have been misconstrued.
Then in Winnie Harlow's "apology" she said that blogs will twist words. Girl it was a snapchat screenshot… what was misinterpreted?
— BRIANA ? (@briasoboojie) November 29, 2016
Mya thought Harlow should have apologized to Duckie for all to see.
A public apology to Duckie would be nice since you tried to clown her on Snapchat. You have a ugly heart, humble yourself. @winnieharlow
— Mya (@LilMya) November 29, 2016
Duckie caught wind of the uproar and posted a message reflecting on her hesitation over participating in the Dinosaur Design company’s campaign and exposing her real hair.
I remember shooting this Dinosaur Design campaign just before coming out here to the states. They called my agent at the time and asked if I was comfortable to shoot a campaign with my natural hair. She already knew what I was thinking but told me I needed to compromise sometimes. I won't lie, I was extremely hesitant. I've never really had a good experience with my natural hair and modelling in Australia before. I remember on top model on one of the episodes I had to cornrow my own hair. I was extremely upset and embarrassed that they "didn't know how" to cornrow my natural hair when at the end of the day that's their job. I sat in front of the mirror silently crying before my shoot doing my own hair, cameras rolling while all the other girls had hairstylists, shit scared I was going to get eliminated because a few "hairstylists" didn't know how to do their job. It's not fun being bullied for something you can't control and to have a top model woman of colour who I thought encouraged acceptance and self love call me out for rocking my natural hair, isn't cool at all. Throw all the shade you want, but you played yourself with your cute little remark.
“It’s not fun being bullied for something you can’t control and to have a top model woman of color, who I thought encouraged acceptance and self-love, call me out for rocking my natural hair isn’t cool at all,” Duckie wrote in part. “Throw all the shade you want, but you played yourself with your cute little remark.”