The model had her big break in 2014 when she appeared in the reality competition series 'America's Next Top Model'.
Winnie Harlow is reflecting on her journey toward stardom.
In a new interview with People, the 26-year-old model looked back on the early days of her career, revealing that she never imagined she would become one of the most recognizable faces in the fashion industry.
"My 16-year-old self would never think that this would be my life", she said. "Naomi Campbell texted me a couple days ago. Stuff like that is insane. When I look back on it, I'm like, 'That's pretty cool.'"
Harlow was diagnosed with vitiligo, a condition in which patches of skin lose their pigment, at the age of 4. She has since made it her mission to redifine beauty standards and make the fashion world a more inclusive place.
"Growing up, I never saw anyone like me on TV, billboards or on the runways", she said. "I felt like I was the only person in the world like me."
Harlow began to pursue modeling as a teen after a friend of hers encouraged her to do so. She competed on cycle 19 of America's Next Top Model in 2014 and got to the final rounds but didn't win.
Though heartbroken, Harlow realized that "quitting wasn't an option" and continued following her dream — which ultimately paid off, as she has now become one of the most famous supermodels of her generation.
Besides walking the runway, Harlow appears as a judge Amazon Prime Video's fashion competition series Making the Cut alongside hosts Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, and fellow judge Jeremy Scott.