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She was teased because of her skin. Now her skin's made her a star.

The things that make us different also make us beautiful.

She was teased because of her skin. Now her skin's made her a star.
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Winnie Harlow grew up with endless teasing and name calling. The insult of choice? "Zebra."

As a toddler, Winnie Harlow looked like every other happy kid. But at around 4 years old, Winnie's skin slowly started to change.

#tb.. Ya lol 👧before she was👸 #vitiligo #chantellewinnie #attitude #spicegirlsshirt lol. I wish I could ensure that little girl that things would get better, and everything would work out..💭❤
A photo posted by ♔Chantelle Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on



Gradually, patches of color on Winnie's arms, legs, and face began to fade from brown to pale pink. Winnie soon learned her changing skin was a result of vitiligo. Vitiligo is a skin condition that causes skin to lose its pigment. And, as Winnie's skin changed, the teasing started, almost right on cue. Taunts of "cow" and "zebra" followed Winnie through the halls, but she was determined to keep her head up.

"It was really hard growing up. I had to grow thick. People make fun of you and you have to learn how to deal or you break down. I'm not trying to break down so, I have to deal."
— Winnie Harlow

Vitiligo tends to come with invasive questions and stares, but Winnie's comfortable in her skin.

Whether they're asking if it's painful or contagious, Winnie has no problem fielding questions with a dose of honesty and humor.

"It's just a skin condition. It doesn't hurt. There's nothing wrong with me. I'm well. You can breathe the same air as me. We're cool." — Winnie Harlow

What's even more impressive is that technically Winnie could "fix" her skin if she really wanted to. There are treatments that would completely lighten her skin so she'd be all one color, or she could use special makeup to cover her spots. But she's not interested.



Original image from ThoseGirlsAreWild.

Even if you aren't religious, it's pretty inspiring to hear someone fully accept who they are. In 2011, Winnie sat down for " Vitiligo: A Skin Condition Not A Life Changer," where she shared her dreams of someday having her own talk show or working for a magazine. Now, just a few short years later, it's safe to say she's pretty much blown those dreams right out of the water. Can you say supermodel?

These days Winnie can be found strutting down runways and gracing major fashion campaigns where her skin has her standing out.

As the brand ambassador for Desigual, Winnie's face can be seen pretty much everywhere.

A photo posted by ♔Chantelle Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on


Here's one of my favorite photos of Winnie. To think that kids made fun of this?! Forget, "cow." This woman is a work of art. Look at how perfectly symmetrical each spot is! She's flawless.

A photo posted by ♔Chantelle Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on

But Winnie isn't just a model. For millions of children and adults with vitiligo, she's also a hero.

Winnie's Instagram is filled with magazine spreads, behind-the-scenes photos, and tons of fan art. But those posts are nothing compared to the messages and photos from fans who've found the strength to love themselves because of Winnie.

Came out just to meet me❤️💋 you guys give me life🙏
A photo posted by ♔Chantelle Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on


According to the American Vitiligo Foundation, about 1-2% of the global population has vitiligo. And while that doesn't sound like much, that's still millions of people. Millions of people who aren't used to seeing themselves represented in the media, much less represented as something beautiful. This adorable message from the mother of one Winnie's young fans proves how important her supermodel status is for young kids growing up with vitiligo:

A photo posted by ♔Chantelle Winnie♔ (@winnieharlow) on


My heart is officially melting.

Winnie's not the only model whose skin is breaking down barriers. Shaun Ross and Diandra Forrest also prove beauty comes in many shades.

If you don't know Diandra Forrest and Shaun Ross by name (or from hanging out with Beyoncé), you might know them as fashion's first albino supermodels.

One of many, and one of my fav shots with @shaundross
A photo posted by Diandra Forrest (@diandraforrest) on

But Shaun and Diandra aren't just albino, they're African-American albinos. So, of course, that adds a whole 'nother level of, "Wait, you're black but you're not black!? Whaaaa?" ridiculousness.


Original images of Diandra Forrest from Albinism Awareness Campaign.

And just like Winnie, Diandra and Shaun have both dealt with bullying. Diandra even shared in her interview for the Albinism Awareness Campaign that it wasn't just kids. Adults would stare and make comments about her too. For Shaun, it wasn't just being called names, like "powder" and "white bread"; one bullying incident ended in violence, with a classmate stabbing him six times! Today Shaun and Diandra serve as inspirations for anyone who's ever felt ashamed of their differences.



Original image from Shaun Ross' appearance on " The Tyra Banks Show."


"I think it's important for all children with albinism to know they are beautiful. They're not any different than anyone else. ... I always wanted to start something like this just because, growing up, I know that I would love to have had someone who's older around that had albinism ... just to motivate me and that would understand some of the things that I was going through and help me through them." — Diandra Forrest

Models like Winnie, Shaun, and Diandra are showing the world that the things that make us different also make us beautiful and that's something all of us could stand to remember.

You don't need vitiligo or albinism to appreciate what these incredible models have been able to achieve. Sadly, too many of us have dealt with bullying or being made to feel less than because we're different. But the real beauty is in recognizing that we are all unique and that our differences are worth embracing and celebrating.

Thank goodness there are role models like Winnie, Shaun, and Diandra out there to remind us how important it is to work whatever it is you've got.

Motherhood is a journey unlike any other, and one that is nearly impossible to prepare for. No matter how many parenting books you read, how many people you talk to, how many articles you peruse before having kids, your children will emerge as completely unique creatures who impact your world in ways you could never have anticipated.

Those of us who have been parenting for a while have some wisdom to share from experience. Not that older moms know everything, of course, but hindsight can offer some perspective that's hard to find when you're in the thick of early motherhood.

Upworthy asked our readers who are moms what they wish they could tell their younger selves about motherhood, and the responses were both honest and wholesome. Here's what they said:

Lighten up. Don't sweat the small stuff.

One of the most common responses was to stop worrying about the little things so much, try to be present with your kids, and enjoy the time you have with them:

"Relax and enjoy them. If your house is a mess, so be it. Stay in the moment as they are temporary..more so than you think, sometimes. We lost our beautiful boy to cancer 15+yrs ago. I loved him more than life itself..💔 "- Janet

"Don't worry about the dishes, laundry and other chores. Read the kids another book. Go outside and make a mud pie. Throw the baseball around a little longer. Color another picture. Take more pictures and make sure you are in the pictures too! My babies are 19 and 17 and I would give anything to relive an ordinary Saturday from 15 years ago." - Emma H.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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