‘What makes you different makes you beautiful.’ The old maxim rings true with model Winnie Harlow. The Toronto native is one of the most recognisable faces on the catwalk, with 3 million Instagram followers. But what matters most to ELLE is that she’s boldly changing the conversation around beauty, helping to broaden the industry’s once narrow standards — see her TED talk (with more than a million views) on her skin condition vitiligo for proof.

Winnie wears Gucci with make-up by Andrew Gallimore, hair by Lok Lau and styling by Anne-Marie Curtis

‘There is a big shift happening in the fashion industry in terms of beauty standards, and I feel I’m part of that shift,’ she says. ‘I remember on America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks asked me if a photographer told me to cover my skin for a shoot, would I do it? I said no. I don’t care who it is, or who thinks I should. I’m going to stay true to myself.’

Of course, no woman is an island, and a glance at Winnie’s Instagram reveals a network of friends that could be mistaken for the Business of Fashion 500 list. Here, she thanks the people who have helped her become the force she is…

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