Winnie Harlow tells Grazia why we should focus on our own visions of beauty

Backstage at the Victoria's Secret show in New York, Winnie Harlow talks representation, inclusivity and her own unique theory about self-image
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Winnie Harlow tells Grazia why we should focus on our own visions of beauty

Showing that it doesn't exist in a Swarovski crystal-strewn bubble, as an estimated 113 million American voters cast ballots in the first nationwide election of the Trump presidency, Victoria's Secret put on its most ethnically diverse, and comparatively modest show to date.

Embracing the mood afoot on the Fashion-Week runways in New York, London, Milan and Paris, Winnie Harlow was front and centre of the new, more enlightened approach to the annual extravaganza, including a collaboration by the thinking woman's favourite fashion designer Mary Katrantzou. 

Winnie joined 60 catwalk stars flying the flag for diversity, including Muslim model Shanina Shaik and 37-year-old mother of two Adriana Lima in her final show after 19 years. "It means so much that the industry’s changing, that so many people are being represented, and more people in the world can see themselves represented on runways, on covers and on TV," Winnie tells Grazia backstage at Pier 94 in New York hours before the show. "With all the inclusivity in general this year, there are so many different girls of different shades, colours, sizes and  tones, it’s really legendary already but being able to have so many more people watching the show see themselves on the runway, is epic."

By casting Winnie, Victoria's Secret is sending out a strong message about subverting traditional standards of beauty. "I have this theory, that if everyone was in their own world by themselves, or if everyone was born on their own island by themselves, no one would have any insecurities because they wouldn’t have anything to compare themselves to. So I feel you have to stop thinking of other people’s opinions, and what other people think is beautiful, and focus on your own visions of beauty. I think it’s coming back to realisation that your opinion matters the most."

We couldn't agree more.

Photos: Courtesy of Victoria's Secret