It’s said that confidence is the key to success. But that doesn’t mean it comes naturally for everyone. Between the ever-changing beauty standards presented by the mainstream media and expectations on social media, remaining confident is easier said than done. Canadian fashion model Winnie Harlow – who is the ambassador for PUMA's She Moves Us campaign – rebels against outdated, rigid beauty standards and breaks down barriers, despite not always feeling the most confident. Over time, Winnie has learned that self-confidence is her superpower and that she can make a real difference to the modelling industry as someone with the skin condition vitiligo.
Fashion can play a huge part in owning your self-confidence and expressing yourself without saying a word. Growing up in the Greater Toronto area, Winnie explains that her grandmother, who she used to visit twice a year in Jamaica as a child, was key to her self-confidence journey and her earliest role model. "She really inspired my confidence. Like me, she is a Leo and a strong Jamaican woman who is confident in herself," says Winnie. With a love of leopard print, Winnie is no stranger to bold looks. "She is probably the reason I love leopard print so much too because she couldn't get enough of it in her own wardrobe!" she says.
What does confidence mean to Winnie? "To me, confidence is being able to wake up on your worst day and still remember you're a baddie!" Collaborating with PUMA, Winnie is striving to advocate for self-love while highlighting how much of an impact her heritage has had on the woman she is today. Bold and dreamy, the standout Cali Dream shoe was released on 4th November as part of PUMA’s She Moves Us platform, celebrating women who have moved culture and sport forward.
Starting her modelling journey at just 18 years old, Winnie has been thriving in runway shows and high fashion campaigns ever since. She acknowledges that her journey hasn’t been without struggles and obstacles. "My whole career was a challenge in itself," she says. "Being the first to do something means there is no path to walk, you have to make your own. I think the biggest thing I did for my career was give my life to it. Move away at a young age, be uncomfortable, be lonely. Nothing in life comes without sacrifice."
It’s clear that Winnie wants to leave a legacy for aspiring models and her message is this: "If you put your mind and hard work behind anything, you can accomplish your goals! However, one doesn't work without the other." She admits that she still gets nervous to this day and that the nerves are part and parcel of pursuing your dreams. "Each time I conquer the nerves of walking a runway that is not only packed with guests but will also be seen by the world, it makes me realise the nerves never go away – but anything worth doing isn't easy!"
And on how she lives as her authentic, unapologetic self? "I just do! I also accept that who we are isn't who we're going to be and who we were isn't who we are."