In 2014 Winnie Harlow, who lives with the skin condition Vitiligo, appeared on cycle 21 of “America’s Next Top Model,” and at the time she thought being on the show would jump-start her career, but it didn’t.
In actuality, her success had nothing to do with the show, which is something she revealed on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” this week.
As Harlow put it, a prominent UK photographer named Nick Knight saw her photos online and reached out. From there, her career took off, and since she’s been featured in Cosmopolitan, Glamour and had a major scene in Beyoncé’s visual album “Lemonade.”
“I really started after the show,” she told Andy Cohen. “Cause that really didn’t do anything for my career, which it doesn’t do anything for any model’s career, realistically. Knick Night was like ‘Hey, I seen your photos online, and I want to do a shoot with you.’ It went viral, and I got campaigns from there, and it hasn’t stopped since.”
Harlow also said that “ANTM” is much better suited for those who want to be reality TV stars, not models.
“I thought the show was going to be a career starter,” she said. “It was really like a reality TV show, and that’s not what I signed up for.”
Yet and still, the 23-year-old said she’s glad the long-running show is on her resume and had no harsh words for it’s founder and host Tyra Banks.
But after being called ungrateful by some, Harlow doubled down on her opinion that “ANTM “didn’t help her. In fact, it did the opposite and made it impossible for her to get work. Plus, the feedback that she received from the judges on the show confused her, especially when she began booking so much work afterward.
“After it was known I was going to be on a reality show, no agency would book me, no one would work with me, and I was told it was because I was branded a ‘reality breakout star,’ not actually a model,” she wrote on Instagram. “[Knight] booked me for my first ever worldwide campaign with Diesel Jeans and said I should come to London to teach models how to be fluid with their bodies while modeling, which I couldn’t wrap my head around because on the show I was told I wasn’t a good model.”
Banks has yet to comment on any of this, but you can read Harlow’s full post below.